As America braces for austerity, Congress goes home for the weekend.

As America braces for austerity, Congress goes home for the weekend.

After two failed attempts to prevent the sequester on Thursday, Congress gave up efforts to stop the austerity measures, and head out of town for the weekend. Yesterday, one day before the deadline, two rival bills to prevent the $85 billion in spending cuts failed to get Senate approval. The Republicans only got 38 votes on a bill that would have forced President Obama to manage the spending cuts, and Democrats got 51 votes for a bill that would have replaced the sequester with $55 billion in spending cuts and $55 billion in new revenues. And the Progressive Caucus' Balancing Act approach wasn't even considered, despite a recent Business Insider poll that showed bipartisan voter support for the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said no agreement can be reached without additional tax revenues, and he believes the Republicans want the Sequester to happen. He said, “we cannot solve the problems of this country with cuts, cuts, cuts. We've cut $2.6 trillion. We need to do more, but we're going to do it in a balanced approach.” But Republicans refuse to accept any plan that includes new revenues. So for now, our country must brace for the drastic cuts about to kick in, which will wreak havoc on our economy.

Democrats will attempt to undo the sequester in the upcoming budget resolution at the end of the month, but by then many of the Republican austerity measures will have already begun. And if Republicans don't back down on tax increases, there's little chance a replacement plan will be accepted. Now it's up to us to let Congress know that we won't stand by while Republicans use our economy to play political blame games with the President.

Call Congress today and tell them to stop these insane austerity measures now!

Comments

JLC's picture
JLC 1 year 26 weeks ago
#1

John T. Harvey is an economist who writes a regular column in Forbes. He is a great communicator, is always spot on and writes from an MMT perspective. Here is his latest column regarding the sequester: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2013/02/26/suicide-by-sequestration/

There is also this excellent article in the Nation magazine by economist Dean Baker: http://www.thenation.com/article/173016/fix-debts-fuzzy-math As Dr. Baker points out, the current high deficit was caused by the collapse of the housing bubble which sank the economy. In 2007, immediately before the collapse of the housing bubble, the deficit was only 1.2 percent of GDP !! And it was projected to stay near 1.5 percent well into the current decade, even if the Bush tax cuts were not allowed to expire.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 1 year 26 weeks ago
#2

What is this balance Harry Reid speaks of? Revenue increases and spending reductions do not balance each other, they affect the deficit in the same way. I know they're trying to frame their side as reasonable and centrist (and it is), but the disingenuity of the rhetoric is driving me crazy.

jamlat's picture
jamlat 1 year 26 weeks ago
#3

1) if 800,000 federal employees face reduced pay, so should the congress. they made this agreement because they were threatened (ironically by themselves) with a pay cut if they didn't agree to the sequester we face now, and they have passed the threat of losing their own pay... and have no problem holding federal employees hostage. They agreed to this by taxing $400,000 a year incomes to a higher tax rate... now they demand more. is this really negotiating? If they are really speaking for the voter, then put it to a vote and I will agree to the majority rule. Tax $1M at 50% and get it over with.

Kerry had an interesting comment when he was asked (out of his lane) about the sequester. He said a cut in foreign aid would make the US security and econmy unstable... I want him to explain how it is helping to keep it at the level of spending now?

bobcox's picture
bobcox 1 year 26 weeks ago
#4

$85B is small potatoes considering the $1.1T raked off by fraudulent actions by big corporations. Not only that but the Senators can't get an audit of the Pentagon and the 18 or so so-called Intelligence Agencies that seem to get the wrong information to the people making decisions!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 1 year 26 weeks ago
#5

Sorry! America and americans appear to be "barking mad

What's this fetish about guns???

Is there any common sense over there???

From the outside you look idiotic yet force your bloody ideas down the world throat... with force because you can!

When you all gonna grow up and act as responsible people and thereby give good account of your country?

Aint you all supposed to be the best an all? Aint you supposed to lead?

You all losing it seems! Nothing more in your empire left except guns and bloody death and war and bloody hopelessness

Whilst creating billionaires

Can not last forever DLH

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 1 year 26 weeks ago
#6

boobs, dolts, nit wits the whole lot should be fired!!! i wrote boners office the other day and never heard back. yes i was actually tactful. it's tragically laughable to watch as the rape of America continues and us working stiffs are still paying the bills. think about it. 1 trillion plus of corp profits sitting in off shore bank accounts? monster corporations getting tax refunds? Americans getting raped at the gas pumps as the oil companies rake in record profits? and how about all that cap gain i'm seeing come through on this years tax returns that is paying $0 and yet, yes i will repeat myself again, joe the taxi driver and his cute part time topless waitress wife trying to put 4 kids through college will pay this year about $14000 on $87000 of taxable income!!! meanwhile trying to get a refi to fund the college is like jumping through hoops of fire and these are the working folks that never missed a mortgage payment in 20 years and have great credit!!! no bail out for them just more stiffing....PATHETIC!!! United States? yeah right....

mcowley01's picture
mcowley01 1 year 26 weeks ago
#7

Yes, dllh@mac.com (Yogl) couldn't agree more. And it's even worse - the Repugs are willing to throw the US economy to the wolves just to spite Obama (and the rest of the world's economies will follow down the black hole because when America sneezes the rest of the world catches pneumonia). Elections for the US President are so important to the world that I am convinced other countries should have some sort of say in them. Left to themselves the US (Repugs, Teapartiers, etc.) are trashing themselves and everyone else. Oops, sorry, forgot that most of them don't know there's anything outside the 50 states. It makes me so mad.

FUBOM's picture
FUBOM 1 year 26 weeks ago
#8

The irony of the sequester is that Republican constituants in states where defense contractors are the major employers will feel the effects of this idiotic act most acutely. Will they lay the blame for the pain where it rightly belongs, on their "conservative" representatives and senators, or will they blindly continue to blame the President for this? I guess we will find out come 2014.

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 1 year 26 weeks ago
#9

As a retired engineer, well-traveled, I consider myself reasonably able to process information, having done so most of my life. I can gather data, sort-out essentials, identify relationships and reach conclutions, usually viable reasonally-rational solutions. I read a wide variety of sources, very critically; and yet on this issue, at this time I swear that I feel I know nothing whatsoever at all.

Yes I know the arguments up and down, left and right; but quantatively, I know nothing at all. Is it big, is it small; is it now, is it far into the future; is it discretionary or entitlements? I can hear "2%, 3%, 5% and 10%" all used in identical statements, within half-a-dozen discussions; while exagerations and superlatives swing wildly, depending on your tribe or faith -- but bearing no consistency even within discussions.

Words, words, words, signifying nothing of substance. Perhaps it's time we review the history of the ancient City of Babel.

Kend's picture
Kend 1 year 26 weeks ago
#10

85 billion that is what the US spent on green projects last year. Put off saving the planet for one year and you don't have to make any cuts.

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 1 year 26 weeks ago
#11

They (Repugs) will blindly continue to blame The President for this, because he had the timerity to timidly call them at their game -- thereby making him equally responsible for the impass. Meanwhile the Democratic Party sits, wondering "How can they say that?" and "What's going on?" -- all the while collecting their pay-checks and pensions.

gregsain's picture
gregsain 1 year 26 weeks ago
#12

Congress is going on a very long vacation. DC has been FORECLOSED.

http://facebook.com/OPPTinNOW

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 1 year 26 weeks ago
#13

Reagan's economic policy of deregulation, cutting federal income tax, cutting capital gains tax, and CUTTING GOVERNMENT SPENDING, his four pillars, have lead to bountiful economic prosperity, only for billionaires of course. Thing is, he never talked about his fifth pillar, AUSTERITY, the one most of the rest of us get to have a Reaganomic experience with.

Here's one for Mathboy.....How does one compromise on a problem like the sequestor when there's a two party system where one party blatantly represents only one percent and the other party kind of represents the best interests of the 99%? Does the party that mostly represents the 99% get 99% of the compromise? Does the party that represents only one percent get 1% of the sum total compromise?.... Now that's some serious babel!

Although in reply to Halfonts comment about Democratic Party inertia/perplexity....I think all they need to say to the American people is that Democrats want to close tax loopholes on the rich in order to avoid drastic across the board cuts. But the Republicans instead, would much rather increase unemployment in order to save Cayman Island tax havens for the rich.

The Democrats have one big problem though, the mass media aint gonna help them get this message out. I know, you would think most people are already aware of this stuff, but they're not. Meet the Press is going to have Getrich and Cantor on this Sunday..... that'll get the word out for sure!

Love2fish's picture
Love2fish 1 year 26 weeks ago
#14

DLH, it's not American citizens, it's our government that is out of control.

I do not believe that collectively, WE would not be doing the things our government is doing.

Check out the political writings of Dr. Lorraine Day on her website. Very scary reading. I believe her analyses are right on target. All this other stuff is just fluff, it's doing a very nice job of hiding what is REALLY GOING ON from most Americans and I suspect many others as well. Have you taken a look at Alex Jones Infowars?

Alaska Bill's picture
Alaska Bill 1 year 26 weeks ago
#15

It sounds like a great idea, call your congressman or senator and tell them how you feel. Sadly in the real world it does not work that way. When I called they started by repeating Republican lies about our President. When I contradicted them they not only hung up the phone on me, they blocked my number. It seems they don't even have the courage to HEAR an opposing view.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 1 year 26 weeks ago
#16

The hysteretic mind of the media knows what is happening but fails in assonance rhythm to really educate the public. Too many things are baffling censured and just out right Shrift. The other day watching Thom in dialog with a Dr. Stephanie Kelton an economist illustrating some chart that is showing the trends that perhaps displays the Republican grown economic havoc.

Dr. Kelton’s chart looked something like the lower left icon in Stephanie Miller’s comedy cable show. The chart resembles an audio envelope that bounces when someone talks. My thoughts keep chuckling about it. Or perhaps an economic seismograph calibrating the sequester sinkhole. I wish I could see that derivative frequency list that makes up the data. Or view the derivative itself.

Anyway typical of the way MSNBC blows out statistics. Remember the Romney/ Obama election was too close to call for a year. Then like magic Obama wins. For me it was a development of a new vocabulary that stratifies filibuster, gerrymandering, sequester, and all with pure hate for President Obama endlessly rejecting anything Obama would propose all year long yet in wide eyed crisp short nonsense blurt out in a monotonic microphone cheerleading form this sequester was all Obama’s fault. It was his big idea. John Bayner reminds me of the loony tune cat Sylvester.

Sometimes thinking about it I laugh so hard. It’s so ridiculous to even suggest the notion after all of anything was rejected by the Republican’s including having any dialog in the open because of filibuster routines. Then turn around and say the president says we should do it. This is like kicking the can down the road and throwing sticks and stones at it on the way.

From my view the President can suggest anything he wants to but the Congress does not have to apply it. America are we watching a Three stooges comedy clip of legislation, is this what they meant when the Congress submits something they would turn around and vote against it. Hopefully this is something that would happen for this sequester. You who did you get that. Can’t the president veto this junk!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 1 year 26 weeks ago
#17

Love2fish ~ Your concerns are well founded. I myself have perused Alex Jones. His findings are most disturbing. All I can say is I hope you and he are "mistaken" because, if not, the path before us is more tenable than I'd hoped.

Regardless, there is a certain advantage to being on the side of right. Let us pray that righteousness prevails. Amen!

PS ~ Love your Handle. As goes without saying, I too love to fish!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 1 year 26 weeks ago
#18

KEND, You poor fool...You can't help it...You truely are missinformed.
As with all "takers" your ideas for solutions are not ones sustainable to life.
No...I for one don't buy into all the "tree hugg'n" save the planet bullshit...But I do know that mankinds ignorance, greed and stuborness is his demise...We are on a course of self destruction. We have denied reality for more profit, and the consequences are hefty. Clean air, Clean water, Clean food...These are the things essential to ALL of life.
Yes oil has a part too, but we have allowed it to become central...It has its place but it should not trump resources and technology that provide for cleaner energy and are better for sustaining a healthy enviroment.

Irongimp 1 year 26 weeks ago
#19

Thom, I hate to think this way because it goes against my optimistic nature, however the tactics of the Republicans in congress make me think they have been charged by their financiers with the task of retaining our focus & panic of the populace on budgetary and other domestic concerns for the sole purpose of keeping our attention off of the US military bullying of other countries, drone attacks et al. Maybe if we stopped pushing others around there would be an exponential reduction in terrorism. We oppose bullying at home, yet we do it militaristically and politically on a global scale. How much more hypocritical can we become?

Kend's picture
Kend 1 year 26 weeks ago
#20

Ya I am wrong. It was 90 not 85. Sorry

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 1 year 26 weeks ago
#21

No problem KEND...I don't expect you to appologize; but I certainly can forgive another human being for their lack of intellagence and/or insight. "Forgiveness" is one of the ultimate virtues a person can practice, that and admitting when you are wrong. Unfortunatley such practice is very rare...It isn't considered a strong quality among Capitalists that live and breath by their creedo "by any means necessary" in order to profit. However, KEND, I am not your typical greedy ugly jingo bully pompass ass capitalist who ignorantly rants on about "doing more of the same" while DENING the compromised quality of life amongst the masses by polluting the water we drink, the air we breath, and the food we eat; not to leave out the innocent lives we snuff out in order to "win". No KEND I say that we should SPEND more on advancing the U.S. in Green Energy, along with practicing a more diplomatic foreign policy, as well as improving our Education system, and Health Care system, and say ciao to the Dirty Energy Whores that have proven to endanger and destroy the quality of a peaceful and healthy life just for their own selfish lust for more profit.
The gig is up!

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

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Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

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