Austerity is taking hold of our nation.

The Republican sequester is wreaking havoc on our economy. Yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced a huge revision to previous estimates of economic growth. Initially, the BEA estimated our economy grew by 2.5 percent during the first three months of this year. Now they say our GDP only increased by 1.8 percent. The original growth estimate was already too low to provide much relief to our struggling economy, but the revised number shows we're now reversing our modest recovery.

It was Republicans who demanded huge spending cuts, and who pushed destructive austerity measures on our nation. However, that hasn't stopped the GOP from blaming President Obama for the decline in economic growth. House Speaker John Boehner is using the revised growth rate to criticize the President's economic policy, and to advocate for the GOP's plan to implement even more extreme austerity. Despite the fact that similar spending cuts have destroyed economies in the European nations of Spain, Greece, and Italy, Republicans refuse to accept that we can't cut our way to prosperity.

Millions of Americans are feeling the pain of cuts to healthcare, education, housing, and more, and they are angry that the GOP continues to play political games while our economy suffers. Americans want Republicans to spend less time on so-called scandals, and more time repairing the damage that their austerity measures have inflicted on our nation.


ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 39 weeks ago

I have chosen not to comment on Hartmann's blog; due to the fact I really have a hard time being civil with people like DAM, but the statement made by Hartmann that the Republinuts are solely responsible for the Sequestration legislation being put into the Budget Act is misleading at best. Sequestration originated in the Obama Whitehouse and was pushed along by Reid and Pelosi, as well as the Republicans in Congress. The Sequestration is a sneaky form of Austerity that Washington has imposed upon the working class and the poor. When it affected the Wealthy Americans and those in Washington who fly home every week, suddenly the Democrats and the Republicans came together and allowed the F.A.A. to move around funds in order to keep the towers in our airports fully staffed, thus eliminating the waiting time Washington was experiencing. Had the delays only affected the rest of us, Washington would have done nothing about the problem, as they have done with the cuts to social programs and the military. I have read articles that Washington has found ways to help the military skirt around certain funding problems, unfortunately I cannot find those articles and therefore they can only be considered hear-say. Sequestration has had a negative effect on our working class and poor citizens, with virtually no effect on the wealthier Americans, as is usually the case in America. The poor families that depend on Housing assistance to house their children have been left out in the cold (LITERALLY) by Washington. Perhaps when it starts to affect the middleclass and their jobs Washington will do something, but I highly doubt it will be the case. Initially the news agencies were reporting the negative effects that Austerity was imposing on our nation, but they have been lacking in any follow-up to the problem. As usual the poor and working class poor and their CHILDREN will be the citizens of our nation that take the brunt of this attack on our society. As usual Obama and Congress will blame each other for what is happening to our economy and the fabric of our nation, when in reality they are all to blame for sticking it to us all. As usual, Hartmann has tried to lay the blame for this sickening legislation at the feet of the Republicans, when in REALITY, Sequestration better known as Austerity has been imposed upon the American Society by both parties. By using the term Progressive's, the Democrats and their media spokes people like Hartmann who use this word to describe themselves is nothing more than a smoke screen to hide the fact the Democrats have not progressed any further than the Republicans, when it comes to protecting the poor and working class citizens of our Great Nation. At least the Republicans do not try to hide the fact they could care less about those in need in our nation. As a moderate Independent, I find both Parties equally repulsive when it comes to protecting our Children, Poor, Elderly and Disabled. Washington is nothing more than a cesspool laden with people who will do anything to retain their political and financial power, even if it sacrifices those who have the least in our country. The Republicans and the Democrats should be labeled as domestic terrorists when it comes to the people they are supposed to serve and protect.

On a lighter note my grandson, Aiden Kenneth (Irish names), was one month old yesterday and we have been blessed with a healthy 10lb. 6oz. beautiful (and BIG) baby boy at birth. Perhaps that is why I have tried not to comment on this blog site, I do not want to carry any anger or stress around my new grandson and this site and some of its commenters have a way of bringing out the worse in me! (ha!) So have a great day and I wish the best of luck to you all. K.W. You can Google Sequestration to get the facts.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

Ken Ware: Congratulations on the arrival of your new grandson! I wish you and yours all the best!

Aside from reference to the other things you said concerning the Republicans and the Democrats..I must say that I had the same thoughts as I read Hartmann's piece...appearing to blame everything on the Republicans without mentioning the damage that the Democrats have done is really being very dishonest to those of us who read these blogs. I don't think too many people are going to continue to buy it that the Democrats are not also a very big problem. And might even be considered our worst enemy...because they pretend to represent us while stabbing us in our backs by siding with the criminal ruling elite. The Republicans are like a poisonous snake that we can see and avoid whereas the Democrats are like a poisonous snake in the grass that bites us. Those who continue to walk through the grass repeatedly, after having been bitten repeatedly...I don't know...what do you call them?....stupid?...retarded?...insane? Or, maybe they are just too scared to try anything different for a change? Maybe they are all like a deer frozen in the middle of the road by the on-coming headlights..too afraid to do anything drastically different.

Both parties do not truly represent the vast majority of the people. It's time to shake both parties up and put in someone totally different who are not part of the "good-ole-boy", "business-as-usual", "smoke-and-mirrors" lying scoundrels who have gotten us all into this mess.

The two-party system is rigged to solely benefit the wealthy ruling elite and to play the rest of us off as fools who will believe anything and then shrug it all off after they realize that they have been fooled...just to continue playing the same rigged game. Too many people are too easily manipulated by those who pander false hope.

I guess, unlike what has been happening in the rest of the world where the people have massively taken to the streets, the majority of people in America have not yet felt the pangs of hunger, distress, alienation, and total loss of hope. They will!

Pointofgrille's picture
Pointofgrille 9 years 39 weeks ago

This appears more like the End Game for the Oligarchal power brokers. Both the right and left have either been manipulated or convinced to play their roles in this takeover by our economic rulers. Once the economy is totally trashed and there is a willing low wage workforce the elite will be united in dumping condescendinggoodness on the rest of us.........pitiful souls that we are. Methinks the game may at extreme risk at this time. Before the White House is no longer the Obama Whitehouse. They will have their villain for history. B.H.O.

I have never been a pessimistic person. Today, I am pessimistic about the USA.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 39 weeks ago

Our government has become so corrupt, arrogant, and self-serving...we need to throw the whole thing away and get another one. Hmmm, anyone know where we can buy a good, used, AND HONEST, government? On this planet?

dorfman 9 years 39 weeks ago

"The Republican sequester is wreaking havoc on our economy. Yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced a huge revision to previous estimates of economic growth. Initially, the BEA estimated our economy grew by 2.5 percent during the first three months of this year. Now they say our GDP only increased by 1.8 percent."

The sequester didn't cut in until March 31--so it did not affect the first three months of the year.

Global's picture
Global 9 years 39 weeks ago

Well said dorfman, as usual Hartmann is totally wrong on his facts in order to keep the left / right paradigm mantra going.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 39 weeks ago

In the words of John Boehner (interpretation by me): The sequester was only 98% the republicans fault.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 39 weeks ago

I too believe that Barak Obama shares the blame for the failing economy; but probably not for the same reasons of the lengthy posts that exceed my attention span. I believe that Obama doomed his Presidency when he failed to seek accountability for the excesses and crimes of the previous administration and their pals in the banks and on Wall Street and the "Military Industrial Complex", essentially giving them a get-out-of-jail-free-pass. Old quote:"The past is the future". I believe that he was naive to ever believe that he could ever work with or trust anyone in the Republican party, especially after what we saw from them during the 8 years of the "Dubya" era.

I believe that "The Sequester" was a trap that Obama naively walked into based on the false assumption that the Republicans would never do anything to rein-in military spending. But what's losing a few bucks now when you can eventually have it all?

I also agree with John Boener when he said "I got 98% of what I wanted" when the sequester was initially agreed upon. He got the other 2% when the sequester took affect, likely crippling any recovery and possibly resulting in economic chaos; the ultimate Republican Wet Dream. Enter Chris Christie, stage right.

I can't for the life of me understand why people think that having more political parties will somehow solve all our problems, when they don't bother to participate in the first place. If the Tea Party is an example of a third party? Include me out.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 39 weeks ago

Regarding austerity and the sequester.

If I remember correctly one party was for a balanced approach to spending cuts, an approach that included additional revenue while at the same time caving into the other parties demand for austerity cuts. Problem is the other party was trapped in a game of submission with a democracy hater by the name of Norquist and a billionaires faction known as the Tea Party. Thus no new revenue, it was off the table!....and no deal!......although Boehner said he got most of what he wanted...98% to be exact. I'm not sure anyone from the other party mentioned that they got what they wanted with the sequester. I doubt it anyway!

That said, we did have a funding spike in 2009 in order to avoid a bankster caused depression. I think it was called the Recovery Act. But since then non-defense discretionary funding has continued to fall to historically low levels and the mean- spirited sequester only adds to the misery of the economic idiocy known as austerity.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 39 weeks ago

stopgap: I agree, we don't need more political parties, we need to infiltrate the democratic party with Greens and Progressives the same way the billionaire's teabag party took over the Republicans.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

See Jane run. Jane ran fast. Now see spot run to Jane.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

Out damn spot. Spot gone.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 39 weeks ago

ken ware ~ I regret if I rubbed you the wrong way in the past. We do see eye to eye on so many issues it doesn't seem right to let a few differences flare our emotions. I feel much better on your side.

Congratulations on your grandson. Ironically, Aiden is the name of my nephew. Go figure! Small world. May he have a bright and happy future. Take care buddy. Don't be a stranger.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 39 weeks ago

2950-10, I have to admit to a bit of hypocrisy , since in my old age I'm more of a barstool activist than a real activist But that doesn't change the reality of the need to infiltrate the Democratic party as Thom often proposes. I am going to my local assemblyman's open house tomorrow. I hope they have snacks. I accidentally typed in snakes for snacks though I'm sure there will be plenty of snakes.

Maybe someone can tell me of a country with multiple parties that works better? I can't think of any. It would be like one big never-ending, dysfunctional family reunion. Like now, only worse.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 39 weeks ago
Quote stopgap:Maybe someone can tell me of a country with multiple parties that works better? I can't think of any. It would be like one big never-ending, dysfunctional family reunion. Like now, only worse.
Quote Wikipedia:Lebanon, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden,Syria Taiwan and Philippines (source:Politics of the Philippines) are examples of nations that have used a multi-party system effectively in their democracies. In these countries, usually no single party has a parliamentary majority by itself. Instead, multiple political parties form coalitionsfor the purpose of developing power blocks for governing.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 39 weeks ago

Like I said: one big, never-ending dysfunctional family reunion. Syria, Lebanon, Serbia, Mexico… again…include me out.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 39 weeks ago

and Greece

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 39 weeks ago

I thought we had 4 parties: tea party, republicans, blue dogs and progressives

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 39 weeks ago

Of course, we actually do have several political parties but none have been able to make meaningful inroads, although, I thought that initially the Green Party had the right idea working from the bottom up winning mayoral races and statewide races, etc. However, they decided to squander all their "political capital" on electing Ralph Nader to the presidency. The rest is history.

Well, now I must go. They are airing a Wheel Of Fortune marathon and I never miss a minute of Vanna White. I hope my Barcalounger doesn't malfunction again. Last time the massager wouldn't turn off and I thought I'd have to call 911. Gotta remember to cancel that Viagra prescription.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 9 years 39 weeks ago

Let me ask you a question STOPGAP; Have you ever spent time traveling outside the U.C.A. (United Corporations of America)? No...Spring Brake in Mexico does not count, nor does a military tour. One your high on drugs, alcohol, and Chicks; the other your drunk & high on false pretenses that your doing a "good thing" for your country.

Look man your question was "Can someone tell me a country with multiple parties that works better?" And the answer was an arms length of countries. Yes I agree that some of the countries - those you cherry picked from the list, very Linbaugh chic - are not any better than our system. But out of about 20 countries only 5 are not so desireable, the others; Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Norway, New Zealand, Japan...ALL have multi party systems and social philosophies that have proven to work very well. Germany for instance is, for the most part, has a very conservative government, yet they also understand a need for social programs that aid and help those less fortunate. Finland, another country with a multi party system, has an education system that is ranked #1 over all for academics the U.S. isn't even in the top 10. New Zealand, I have a close Kiwi friend that moved back to New Zealand in 2006 after living here in the States since 1984 when his familey immigrated here when he was 12. He chose to leave the U.S. because he no longer wanted to live in a country thats main objection is to by any means necessary Divide & Conquer not only other soverning nations, but also its own people, in order to spred an Americanized Brand of Capitalism.

The U.S. has become nothing more than a big ol commercial with tawdry values. And it has to be...That is the only way for the Snake Oil Salesman to keep selling his magic tonic. For those of us that learned the lesson the first time we were bamboozeled it can be painful to watch while others continue to hit the feeder bar over and over...Continueing to buy into the BIG Corporate lie, aka the American Dream. Which at one time was something real and attainable without having to lie cheat, steal, and sell out.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 39 weeks ago

Ok MMmNachos, Yes I did cherry pick the list but I was just kinda making fun of the overreach of the list. Actually, had he just listed Denmark, Sweden or Finland; I might have thought OK. Although, their parties might get along just to stay warm. Maybe New Zealand actually does work better? But the rest of the countries on that list… not so sure about. Germany is currently leading the austerity movement that is crippling the European economy. Japan has been in the pits for decades and is just one good tremor from nuclear devastation (and maybe the rest of us with them).

Just because I don't see the multi-party concept as the panacea for Americas ills, doesn't mean that I endorse what we now have. Actually, the problem is that we only really have one party. And you're right, that is the United Corporations of America. But actually, that's not right either. These are multinational corporations that have no loyalty to anything other than wealth and power.

But, I think the clock is running out for the welfare and survival of the planet and time wasted trying to establish a party that can be really effective has long past. I believe, that we do have one party that can still be made to recognize and intelligently deal with the problems that we all face. True, it's a long shot, but Democrats do have a history of supporting the populous.

Now, can I go back to watching Vanna?

David Kahl's picture
David Kahl 9 years 39 weeks ago

As long as financial capital drives economic issues, supplanting living capital - human and environmental - we will be locked in accounting and actuarial argument, getting us less than nowhere.

DrTCH's picture
DrTCH 9 years 39 weeks ago

Yep, it's been the Dems and Repubs in Unholy Alliance. It's almost as though everyone in the Congress awakened one morning and realized that the children have been kidnapped and--dammit--we'd better play ball. Or is it possibly an example of what Dr. Wilhelm Reich called the Emotional Plague, which obtains in fascist and other tyrannical regimes? Seems hardly anyone..well, yes, Senator Bernie Sanders...and until recently Dennis Kuccinich and Ron Paul...has had the intelligence, the integrity or the balls to question the irresistible momentum toward fascism and corporate capitalism. And austerity? I happen to think we DO need an ample helping of austerity....specifically and implicitly toward the Military-Intelligence budget....ASAP. Bring all our brave troops home (the miserable mercenaries too!) and to hell with the thoroughly lunatic War on Terrorism, jingoistic rhetoric and hysteria-laden propaganda. The reality is that MOST of this business reflects the military-intelligence lament at our loss of the fun and games of the Cold War.

In essence, when Bush and Co. (a low-life crew of Bowery Boys or Brown-Shirts, if there ever was one!) was sort-of elected, we underwent a coup d 'etat, which sprung into full-flower with the 9-11 attacks (by someone…probably not a band of “wet behind the ears,” box-cutter wielding Islamists, with a few hours of flight-training under their belts)... and Mr. Obama was kind enough to continue the authoritarian and barbarous legacy which Bush-Cheney left know wars of conquest and occupation with a large helping of domestic Gestapo-like tactics. Shades of the German "Enabling Act of 1933!"

You might think me quaint, but I maintain that the Declaration of Independence is still part of American the very least...via the ninth and tenth amendments. There comes a time when a government is so unrepresentative of its people, so odious, venal and corrupt, that the people may need to rebel...and demand a new republican government. Of course, there is not ONLY the stink of political corruption (and war-crimes), but the fact of the recent Economic Sector criminality. I feel like we are now poised at the American equivalent of the Roman civilization ridge, as it shifted from the status of republic to that of empire. Or maybe the analogy of occupied France is more fitting. And, no, I am not comfortable with the many Obama apologists (and their lame “lesser of two evils” argument) in the Congress and in the media.

And, what of entitlements? This rant about the lazy parasites who feed at the public trough might even bother me a mite, where it not for the vast system of corporate entitlements, in the form of subsidies, tax loop-holes, sweetheart government con-tracts, and off-shore accounts. What about the disproportionate influence of the globalist institutions like the TLC, CFR and the damn Bilderberg Group...and the NAFTA sell-out, which has played a big role in decimating the American and Mexican economies (and led to an influx of thousands of Mexican refugees)? What about the concept of the Commons, the idea that the country and its bounty belongs to every one of its citizens....not to GM, GE, AIG, the United Fruit Company or J.P. Morgan-Chase? And, what about the small matter of the U.S. Constitution and silly details like due process? I guess that in "perilous times," such things no longer matter. In a pig's eye!!!

akunard's picture
akunard 9 years 39 weeks ago

A 2% cut in the rate of spending has "ruined our economy". Give me a Fing break!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate Anne's picture
Kate Anne 9 years 39 weeks ago

Thom -- you mentioned using a geiger counter when you and Louise lived in Germany post Chernobyl and you purchased one after Fukushima. You mentioned giving it to your kids (on the Left Coast). Has anyone USED it? Do we know how radioactive our food supply is becoming. I am hesitant to eat miso soup anymore. I've heard some horror stories, but are there any groups regularly testing for radioactivity in regular foods?

Thanks for your insight and all your hard work! Peace Hugs!

Killer Sheep's picture
Killer Sheep 9 years 39 weeks ago

Austerity, along with anything that takes away power from the people is the agenda of our corperate rulers, & unfortunatly far too many of our elected officials in both parties are in the pockets of those same corperate demigods.The world has become a bizzare stage right now, with world politics leading this sad comedy along.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 39 weeks ago

A 0% cut in the rate of spending would have ruined the economy. 2% makes it just a little worse. We need a balance of aggregate demand vs supply. We need the federal reserve to try to live up to its goal of balancing inflation (too much demand) and unemployment (too much supply). As Ravi Batra has pointed out every time (like 100% correlation) the deficit gets small (AKA balancing the budget) the market crashes.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

Wouldn't it be fun to take a Geiger Counter inside of the supermarkets and wave it over all of the food to see which one was radiating isotopes? I guess if they can arrest and possibly imprison some guy in San Diego for writing, in washable chalk, on the sidewalks in front of BofA anti BofA slogans then they might use a riot team on you before you got to the fish. But I have to be very careful what I say on the internet because now the FBI is trying to say that the Boston bombers were heavily influenced by the internet. Just a minute...I think I hear one of those drones approaching...

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