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DiabloViejo
02-24-2013, 05:36 PM
OP-ED COLUMNIST

Sequester of Fools

By PAUL KRUGMAN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/paulkrugman/index.html)

Published: February 21, 2013

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/opinion/krugman-sequester-of-fools.html

53


They’re baaack! Just about two years ago, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of the late unlamented debt commission, warned us to expect a terrible fiscal crisis within, um, two years (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/03/08/bowles-simpson-fiscal-crisis-could-come-within-2-years/) unless we adopted their plan. The crisis hasn’t materialized, but they’re nonetheless back with a new version. And, in case you’re interested, after last year’s election — in which American voters made it clear that they want to preserve the social safety net while raising taxes on the rich — the famous fomenters of fiscal fear have moved to the right, calling for even less revenue and even more spending cuts.

But you aren’t interested, are you? Almost nobody is. Messrs. Bowles and Simpson had their moment — the annus horribilis of 2011, when Washington was in thrall to deficit scolds insisting that, in the face of record-high long-term unemployment and record-low borrowing costs, we forget about jobs and concentrate exclusively on a “grand bargain” that would supposedly (not actually) settle budget disputes for ever after.

That moment has now passed; even Mr. Bowles concedes (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/03/08/bowles-simpson-fiscal-crisis-could-come-within-2-years/) that the search for a grand bargain is on “life support.” Let’s convene a death panel! But the legacy of that year of living foolishly lives on, in the form of the “sequester,” one of the worst policy ideas in our nation’s history.

Here’s how it happened: Republicans engaged in unprecedented hostage-taking, threatening to push America into default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to a grand bargain on their terms. Mr. Obama, alas, didn’t stand firm; instead, he tried to buy time. And, somehow, both sides decided that the way to buy time was to create a fiscal doomsday machine that would inflict gratuitous damage on the nation through spending cuts unless a grand bargain was reached. Sure enough, there is no bargain, and the doomsday machine will go off at the end of next week.

There’s a silly debate under way about who bears responsibility for the sequester, which almost everyone now agrees was a really bad idea. The truth is that Republicans and Democrats alike signed on to this idea. But that’s water under the bridge. The question we should be asking is who has a better plan for dealing with the aftermath of that shared mistake.

The right policy would be to forget about the whole thing. America doesn’t face a deficit crisis, nor will it face such a crisis anytime soon. Meanwhile, we have a weak economy that is recovering far too slowly from the recession that began in 2007. And, as Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, recently emphasized (http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20130211a.pdf), one main reason for the sluggish recovery is that government spending has been far weaker in this business cycle than in the past. We should be spending more, not less, until we’re close to full employment; the sequester is exactly what the doctor didn’t order.

Unfortunately, neither party is proposing (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/20/the-sequester-absolutely-everything-you-could-possibly-need-to-know-in-one-faq/) that we just call the whole thing off. But the proposal from Senate Democrats at least moves in the right direction, replacing the most destructive spending cuts — those that fall on the most vulnerable members of our society — with tax increases on the wealthy, and delaying austerity in a way that would protect the economy.

House Republicans, on the other hand, want to take everything that’s bad about the sequester and make it worse: canceling cuts in the defense budget, which actually does contain a lot of waste and fraud, and replacing them with severe cuts in aid to America’s neediest. This would hit the nation with a double whammy, reducing growth while increasing injustice.

As always, many pundits want to portray the deadlock over the sequester as a situation in which both sides are at fault, and in which both should give ground. But there’s really no symmetry here. A middle-of-the-road solution would presumably involve a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; well, that’s what Democrats are proposing, while Republicans are adamant that it should be cuts only. And given that the proposed Republican cuts would be even worse than those set to happen under the sequester, it’s hard to see why Democrats should negotiate at all, as opposed to just letting the sequester happen.

So here we go. The good news is that compared with our last two self-inflicted crises, the sequester is relatively small potatoes. A failure to raise the debt ceiling would have threatened chaos in world financial markets; failure to reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff would have led to so much sudden austerity that we might well have plunged back into recession. The sequester, by contrast, will probably cost “only” around 700,000 jobs (http://macroadvisers.blogspot.com/2013/02/mas-alternative-scenario-march-1_19.html#!/2013/02/mas-alternative-scenario-march-1_19.html).

But the looming mess remains a monument to the power of truly bad ideas — ideas that the entire Washington establishment was somehow convinced represented deep wisdom.



A version of this op-ed appeared in print on February 22, 2013, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Sequester Of Fools.

Sev
02-26-2013, 12:45 PM
85 billion is nothing but a rounding error in the 3.3 trillion that is being spent.

Democrats are now worried that it wont be a disaster.

Remember those Y2K nutters. :clock:

DiabloViejo
02-26-2013, 02:13 PM
We will soon see.

Nine ... corner
02-26-2013, 02:25 PM
The Department of Homeland Security is releasing thousands of illegal immigrants held in jails, with officials pinning blame on budget cuts. How disingenuous is that??? Law enforcement officials are saying this could endanger the public.

cushioncrawler
02-26-2013, 03:44 PM
We are all watching down here. Haz anyone ever thort about assisted suicide for theusofa -- i think it haz been allowed for by the foundling farters.

IDEA.
Build a giant replica of the the alamo, for the rich -- and lock the poor and criminals and wetbax outside.
mac.

cushioncrawler
02-26-2013, 03:51 PM
"........And, as Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, recently emphasized, one main reason for the sluggish recovery is that government spending has been far weaker in this business cycle than in the past. We should be spending more, not less, until we’re close to full employment; the sequester is exactly what the doctor didn’t order......"

HAAAHHHHHAAAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
THE USOFA HAZ NEVER EVER HAD CLOSE TO FULL EMPLOYMENT -- UNEMPLOYMENT HAZ NEVER BEEN LESS THAN 10%. DREAM ON -- OR LIE ON AKTUALLY.
MAC.

Sid_Vicious
02-26-2013, 10:00 PM
The Department of Homeland Security is releasing thousands of illegal immigrants held in jails, with officials pinning blame on budget cuts. How disingenuous is that??? Law enforcement officials are saying this could endanger the public.

And it should endanger us. This sucks! Sounds like ducking on governmental responsibilities to me. Let the old timers out who are in prison for simple marijuanna. They are the oppressed and unjustly inprisoned!

Sev
02-27-2013, 08:05 AM
We are all watching down here. Haz anyone ever thort about assisted suicide for theusofa -- i think it haz been allowed for by the foundling farters.

IDEA.
Build a giant replica of the the alamo, for the rich -- and lock the poor and criminals and wetbax outside.
mac.

Rome is burning Mac. Of that there is no doubt.
They keep telling us its for the children. So it must be ok.

cushioncrawler
02-27-2013, 03:09 PM
Sev -- Austerity iz hurting theusofa -- but i am surprized at how well theusofa iz going, especially with gridlock etc.
There iz of course no debt problem, koz there iz no such thing az a debt problem -- so kids are ok here.
But kids shood fear krappynomix, eg austerity -- austerity today will affekt kids in lots of ways tomorrow.

Rome iz similar. Rome died koz of taxes -- taxes and tax minimization and tax avoidance dominated commerce. Slaves didnt havta pay tax -- so rich people converted to slavery. So, Rome iz sort of similar to the usofa, but opposit.

Burning. I dont think that burning or fire get a mention in the COTUS. But it might be in the same section az cars and planes.
mac.

hondo
02-27-2013, 05:24 PM
And it should endanger us. This sucks! Sounds like ducking on governmental responsibilities to me. Let the old timers out who are in prison for simple marijuanna. They are the oppressed and unjustly inprisoned!

Should we pretend like everybody doesn't know that nine corner is lww? :yawn:

Sev
02-28-2013, 06:32 PM
Sev -- Austerity iz hurting theusofa -- but i am surprized at how well theusofa iz going, especially with gridlock etc.
There iz of course no debt problem, koz there iz no such thing az a debt problem -- so kids are ok here.
But kids shood fear krappynomix, eg austerity -- austerity today will affekt kids in lots of ways tomorrow.

Rome iz similar. Rome died koz of taxes -- taxes and tax minimization and tax avoidance dominated commerce. Slaves didnt havta pay tax -- so rich people converted to slavery. So, Rome iz sort of similar to the usofa, but opposit.

Burning. I dont think that burning or fire get a mention in the COTUS. But it might be in the same section az cars and planes.
mac.

The people do better when the government is paralyzed.

cushioncrawler
02-28-2013, 07:11 PM
Nah -- the govment duz better when the people are paralyzed.
Wikileaks -- PARALYSIS OF THE PEOPLE.
This iz achieved by convincing people that watching hollywood moovys makes them happy -- and that the oscars are important -- and that the ultimat happyness iz watching the oscar awards.
mac.

Soflasnapper
02-28-2013, 08:38 PM
The Department of Homeland Security is releasing thousands of illegal immigrants held in jails, with officials pinning blame on budget cuts. How disingenuous is that??? Law enforcement officials are saying this could endanger the public.

That's what across the board cuts cause. There is no sparing of anything that's targeted (and 2/3rds of all the federal government's spending, roughly, is entirely exempted). So you have to get the alleged '2.5%' cut (of everything) out of just 1/3rd the spending (immediately making the 2.5% really 7.5%), and as we are already half-way through the fiscal year, we need to get 7.5% out of just HALF the 33% targeted (what's left of the fiscal year). That is to say, a 15% cut in the balance of the year's total spending, and by the way the law was written, fully across the board.

In other cases, you'll see a 20% furloughing of employees (laid off one day out of 5 in a week), AND pay cuts besides that. Which would also apply to prison guards, so there must be a release of prisoners, or the remaining guards would be vulnerable.

Gayle in MD
03-02-2013, 08:49 AM
We won't have a thriving economy until we get rid of the Repiglican Majority.

They have only one plan, throw the country back into the depths of the Bush Recession.

The Repiglican racists/fascists on the Supreme Court, the RATS, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, provide a grim view of the possibilities for the Repiglican plan for maintaining power, in a country which heavily disapporves of Repiglicans, their corruption, obstruction, and love of plutocracy, it should be obvious to all by now, (since the Repiglican Pennsylvania Campaign Chairman admitted that the attempted disenfranchisment of Democratic voters was sure to hand Pennsylvania to Robme) that their plan is to continue to throw elections.

Now, we have Scalia, calling the constitutional right to vote, an racial entitlement. What could be more racist, and un-AMerican, than that?

We all know that we have an economy based by 70%, upon consumer spending, and for all of the Repiglican whining about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,, they have done nothing but throw more and more people out of work, under false pretenses, and hence, Repiglican policies will continue to be economically destructive, as they always are, and reverse the important social gains of equal rights, under the law, which our country has made over the course of the last several hundred years.

There has never been a more important election for America, than the next one. Repiglican Obstructionism must be stopped. Their continuing lies and distortions are far more obvious, to far more Americans. We can only hope they continue to prove their racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, greed, and irrational failed economic policies, which in the long run, will surely expand America's growing disapproval of all things Repiglican.

Nine ... corner
03-02-2013, 10:42 AM
Wow ... a lot of pent up hate spewing here. Don't forget to check under the bed to see if the boogeyman is lurking. Oh, and check to make sure you're taking the right meds. :der:

hondo
03-02-2013, 06:33 PM
Wow ... a lot of pent up hate spewing here. Don't forget to check under the bed to see if the boogeyman is lurking. Oh, and check to make sure you're taking the right meds. :der:

What! A rabid right winger who doesn't hate Obama? Oh, I forgot. All you AZers swear you don't hate Obama even while you're frothing at the mouth and spitting all over the screen every time his name is mentioned. Hilarious, larry. :highly_amused:

Nine ... corner
03-02-2013, 09:18 PM
What! A rabid right winger who doesn't hate Obama? Oh, I forgot. All you AZers swear you don't hate Obama even while you're frothing at the mouth and spitting all over the screen every time his name is mentioned. Hilarious, larry. :highly_amused:

Lol ... I'm not Larry and I seem to be the only one frothing at the mouth. Who is using terms like Repiglicans, facists etc, etc. Is there any room here for a reasonable dialogue? Spewing hateful words doesn't promote solutions. I guess your next move is to call me a racist ... get a life!!!!!!!!!!

hondo
03-02-2013, 11:38 PM
Lol ... I'm not Larry and I seem to be the only one frothing at the mouth. Who is using terms like Repiglicans, facists etc, etc. Is there any room here for a reasonable dialogue? Spewing hateful words doesn't promote solutions. I guess your next move is to call me a racist ... get a life!!!!!!!!!!

Nobody is calling you a racist except you. Are you feeling guilty?

DiabloViejo
03-02-2013, 11:41 PM
Let me sing you the world's saddest song while someone plays the world's smallest violin.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTDLcNe4BQ_C8rFm18Phop1B9L0SblTA 79DuvDvWlBIUjgUOGzd

JohnnyD
03-03-2013, 12:51 AM
Nobody is calling you a racist except you. Are you feeling guilty?

Why did you lie?
The local VFW Commander awaits your answer.Two years now!
A school teacher!I think not.
A sunday school teacher!LOL.
Why do you pick up boys hitch hiking?
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.
The prayers continue for your doomed soul.
Iniquitous hypocrite.
Succubus parasite.
Speak more of your drug use.