October 22, 2013
Why Republicans are winning the big battle in Washington (Robert Reich, October 22, 2013, CS Monitor)
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 22, 2013 7:45 PMThe deficit shouldn't even be an issue because it's now almost down to the same share of the economy as it's averaged over the last thirty years.The triumph of right-wing Republicanism extends further. Failure to reach a budget agreement will restart the so-called "sequester" -- automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that were passed in 2011 as a result of Congress's last failure to agree on a budget.These automatic cuts get tighter and tighter, year by year -- squeezing almost everything the federal government does except for Social Security and Medicare. While about half the cuts come out of the defense budget, much of the rest come out of programs designed to help Americans in need: extended unemployment benefits; supplemental nutrition for women, infants and children; educational funding for schools in poor communities; Head Start; special education for students with learning disabilities; child-care subsidies for working families; heating assistance for poor families. The list goes on.The biggest debate in Washington over the next few months will be whether to whack the federal budget deficit by cutting future entitlement spending and closing some tax loopholes, or go back to the sequester. Some choice.