Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Sequester Happens

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Full Transcript of President Obama's Sequester Speech
. . . let’s be clear. None of this is necessary. It’s happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit. As recently as yesterday, they decided to protect special interest tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected, and they think that that’s apparently more important than protecting our military or middle-class families from the pain of these cuts.

. . . the good thing about America is that sometimes we get to these bottlenecks and we get stuck, and you have these sharp, partisan fights, but the American people pretty steadily are common sense and practical, and eventually, that common-sense, practical approach wins out. And I think that's what will happen here as well.

And, in the meantime, just to make the final point about the sequester, we will get through this. This is not going to be a apocalypse, I think as some people have said. It's just dumb. And it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt individual people and it's going to hurt the economy overall.

Tea Party Republicans are crowing about the “sequestration” cuts beginning today (Friday). “This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a Tea Partier who was first elected in 2010.
Sequestration is only the start. What they set out to do was not simply change Washington but eviscerate the U.S. government — “drown it in the bathtub,” in the words of their guru Grover Norquist – slashing Social Security and Medicare, ending worker protections we’ve had since the 1930s, eroding civil rights and voting rights, terminating programs that have helped the poor for generations, and making it impossible for the government to invest in our future.
~ Robert Reich

This has to stop.
Ever since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have made journeys to the fiscal brink as commonplace as summertime visits to the beach or the ballpark. The country has been put through a series of destructive showdowns over budget issues we once resolved through the normal give-and-take of negotiations.
The air of establishment Washington is filled with talk that Obama must “lead.” But Obama cannot force the House Republican majority to act if it doesn’t want to. He is (fortunately) not a dictator.
. . . What Obama can do is expose the cause of this madness, which is the dysfunction of the Republican Party.
Journalists don’t like saying this because it sounds partisan. But the truth is the truth, whether it sounds partisan or not.
~ E. J. Dionne

. . . it’s unpopular for Republicans to simply say they won’t agree to any compromise and there’s no deal to be had — particularly since taxing the wealthy is more popular than cutting entitlements, and so their position is less popular than Obama’s. That’s made it important for Republicans to prove that it’s the president who is somehow holding up a deal.
. . . There’s no deal even if Obama agrees to major Republican demands on entitlements. There’s no deal because Republicans don’t want to make a deal that includes taxes, no matter what they get in return for it.
. . . as long as the GOP’s position is they won’t compromise, there’s not going to be a compromise.
~ Ezra Klein on Washington Post

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