Hard to say exactly when it started (maybe 1776), but we have a habit of compounding our messes, often with brutality toward the less fortunate and with a pride fed by narrow-mindedness and arrogance. Thus, "fiscal responsibility" as acted out lately by Republicans. For a party with a long history of prodigality, they look out of place when they preach fiscal responsibility.
Austerity now? That's about the dumbest, most irresponsible plan for getting our act together as any. ...
... But aren’t we facing a fiscal crisis? No, not at all. The federal government can borrow more cheaply than at almost any point in history, and medium-term forecasts, like the 10-year projections released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, are distinctly not alarming. Yes, there’s a long-term fiscal problem, but it’s not urgent that we resolve that long-term problem right now. The alleged fiscal crisis exists only in the minds of Beltway insiders.
Still, even if we should put off spending cuts for now, wouldn’t it be a good thing if our politicians could simultaneously agree on a long-term fiscal plan? Indeed, it would. It would also be a good thing if we had peace on earth and universal marital fidelity. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
Well, peace on earth, anyway.
In the real world, Republican senators are saying that the situation is desperate — but not desperate enough to justify even a penny in additional taxes. Do these sound like men ready and willing to reach a grand fiscal bargain?...Paul Krugman, NYT
Leavind aside the incompetence, do Republicans even understand how silly they look? "Not desperate enough to justify even a penny in additional taxes" is, in itself, a convincing measure of just how duplicitous the Republican party has become.
Of course, the latest Republican stance has changed a bit. Even the Wall Street Journal is putting the word "sequester" in quotes, as Jonathan Chait points out. Talking points have been revised. How you think about your actions is more important than moral responsibility for the action itself, in RightSpeak.
In any case, sustaining the GOP’s position now requires the right to downplay the threat of sequestration. Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Unscary Sequester,” nicely totes the line:
Washington is in a fit of collective terror over the "sequester," aka the impending across-the-board spending cuts. …
As always in Washington when there is talk of cutting spending, most of the hysteria is baseless.
Huh. Who could be fanning this “fit of collective terror” and “hysteria”? Let us go all the way back to the halcyon days of July, 2012. A nation fell in love with the musical stylings of Carly Rae Jepsen. Everybody started saying “yolo” and the rest of us googled it to figure out what it meant. Kale went mainstream. And The Wall Street Journal editorial page was warning of the dire consequences to national security if sequestration went into effect. ...Chait, Daily Intel
Republican-driven panic is so, so old (and turned out to be so, so counter-productive on November 6, didn't it! You jerks!)
Today it’s all a fit of baseless terror. The Journal even signals its contempt by now putting the term sequester in scare quotes, its favorite literary device to signal to readers that they should sneer at something.
To be sure, we could suss out a sort of logical consistency here. The Journal editorial page may tremble at the prospect of savage defense cuts that leave the United States as but a trembling naked babe in the woods, ready to be torn limb from limb by Iran and Russia, yet prefer even such a terrible fate to the yet more horrifying possibility of limiting tax deductions for wealthy taxpayers. ...Chait, Daily Intel