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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On Sequester, GOP Beginning to Regret Believing the GOP

One of the dangers of a long campaign of BS is that you stand a real danger of beginning to believe your own lies. Especially when that long campaign is carried out by an institution, not individuals. People who believe the lie will join the organization to support the lie and the whole thing just snowballs. What began as spin or propaganda for political advantage becomes a guiding principle. And when you go to war against your imaginary enemy, firing blindly into the dark because you know it's there someplace, you're going to have real casualties.

In this case, the lie is the GOP claim to runaway government waste. That was why Republicans pushed the supposed "nothing-burger nature of the sequester," in the words of Ed Kilgore. The GOP ran around parading the sequester as a war trophy because "of course there’s so much waste, fraud and abuse that big cuts can be absorbed without pain."

But of course, there is not. Kilgore's commentary is in reaction to a report by two of the Huffington Post's best political journalists: Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein. Terkel and Stein took a look at sequester cuts and found them to be much more severe than they'd imagined.

The Huffington Post set out to do an extensive review of sequestration stories from the past week, with the goal of finding 100. What seemed like a daunting task was completed in hours. No one region of the country has been immune. Rural towns in Alaska, missile test sites in the Marshall Islands, military bases in Virginia, university towns across the country, and housing agencies in inner cities are all beginning to feel the cuts.


It's a disturbing list of hits to essential programs, of job losses, of decreasing demand. The only person in America who could believe this was good news is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose love of European-style austerity and stick-it-to-the-worker policies has dropped his state's level of job creation from 11th in the nation to 44th -- in just two years. Finally, Walker will have more competition way down there at the bottom, as state after state is forced to emulate his idiotic and destructive economic policies. When everyone is forced to suck as hard as he does, maybe he won't look so bad.

European-style austerity is here, there isn't a huge buffer of government waste that can soften the blow, and Republicans have greeted it all with an enthusiastic round of applause, because they've bought their own lie.

So how is this all going to work out for America? Well, it's called "European-style" for a reason, so there's a place look to answer that question.


The 17-nation Eurozone set another dubious record in the opening months of 2013, as its unemployment rate continued to climb from its already record-high rate. The jobless rate also rose for the European Union as a whole as austerity efforts continue to plague the continent’s recovery from the Great Recession:

The jobless rate reached 12 percent in both January and February, the highest since the creation of the euro in 1999, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported from Luxembourg.

The January jobless rate for the 17-nation currency union was revised upward from the previously reported 11.9 percent.

For the overall European Union, the February jobless rate rose to 10.9 percent from 10.8 percent in January, Eurostat said, with more than 26 million people without work across the 27-nation bloc.

Not well. It's not going to work out well. Already, Republicans are starting to feel the sequester's pinch and beginning to get cold feet about it.

That whole thing about billions in waste that can easily and painlessly be cut from federal spending is turning out to be a fairy tale. You hope enough Republicans realize they've bought a bill of goods before their chumpishness does too much lasting damage.

Hoping they learn a lesson about believing their own propaganda, however, is probably too much to ask.


[photo from Wikimedia Commons]

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