Worried? You should be.
I don’t have a clue how to stop this train. Having the zombie eyed granny starver on the ticket hasn’t changed their view that the Grand Bargain to slash 4 trillion in government programs in the middle of an epic slump is still great policy and even better politics.
But don’t worry. They’ll ask millionaires to “pay a little more” so it’s all good. I’m feeling more “confident” already.
Basically we have a choice between the Republican dystopian hellscape or the Democrats’ long slow jobless recovery with even more insecurity for the poor and middle class.
Balanced? How many billionaires can you fit on the backs of the workers?
dday (note: he used to write with digby)-
The best expression of the austerity that has been implemented at the federal level for the last two years can be found in this chart from Goldman Sachs. It shows pretty clearly that fiscal policy at the federal level turned negative in mid-2010. This doesn’t just mean that fiscal policy, after the stimulus began to run out, was relatively speaking less powerful. It means that federal fiscal policy, not combined with state and local but just confined to the federal level, dragged on growth starting in mid-2010, before the 2010 midterm elections. It really never recovered, save for a couple quarters of near-zero growth from fiscal policy in the middle of 2011.
And there are policies that correspond to this. The White House froze federal employee pay; it was one of the first items touted from their budget in 2010. They cut food stamps twice to pay for other priorities. They cut unemployment benefits in the most recent extension, so that the 99-week benefit has been reduced to 73. They cut $39 billion from the 2012 budget and imposed a spending cap for the next ten years. The Administration will tell you proudly that they have inaugurated the lowest rate of discretionary spending (.pdf) since the Eisenhower era.
Obama Reiterates Desire for Grand Bargain on Taxes and Spending
By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake
Monday August 20, 2012 2:23 pm
(T)he pro-austerity rhetoric emanating from the Obama Administration has been corrosive. And despite signs that, after the unpopular debt limit deal, the President put such rhetoric in his hip pocket, sadly that’s not at all true. Witness him today in his impromptu press conference.
Welcome back, confidence fairy!
“The $1 trillion in spending cuts we’ve already made,” also typically ignored by those who want to say that Obama out-foxed Boehner in the debt limit deal, refers to the spending cap, which will starve federal investment for the next ten years. But the clear point made here is that $1 trillion is not enough for this President. He still seeks that grand bargain where token revenue increases are exchanged for “tough spending cuts.” This is still part of the agenda even in an election year.
(O)ftentimes, budget cuts and grand bargains like this don’t happen because a very vocal minority makes it toxic for them to happen. Then they get told “see, there was never anything to worry about, you didn’t have to shout,” when the shouting helped stop the plan from taking effect. It’s a thankless job, alas, but someone has to do it.