Cuts are all the rage now in
Versailles D.C. They cut taxes for the rich (again), then to pay for the tax cuts they cut the things We the People (government) do for each other. No one is mentioning what all of this will do to the economy and jobs. Jobs and the economy aren’t even part of the discussion now in D.C, “Getting government out of the way” is the topic today.
But I just paid $58 to fill my 2000 Honda Accord — at a discount station. So watch out, people: Demand is still down and will drop even more—that’s why the Fed discount rates are still at zero—and these cuts will cut the economy.
Cuts Cut Demand
If this is really about cutting the deficit and debt, then shouldn’t the plans actually cut the deficit and debt? Wouldn’t they focus on cutting the big items that we spend money on—military, military and military —and raising revenue instead of cutting it? They don’t do that at all. Instead they cut in ways that will hurt the economy, cutting infrastructure, stimulus and the things We the People do for each other.
For example, here are just a few of the cuts from last week’s “deal”:
- $1.5 billion from high speed and intercity passenger rail (and the resulting jobs and growth.)
- $280 million from transit new starts (and the resulting jobs and growth.)
- $220 million from the Housing and Urban Development Community Development Fund, including Community Development Block Grants. Eliminates funding for Economic Development Initiative, Neighborhood Initiative grants, University Communities Fund (and the resulting jobs and growth).
- $8.7 million from Federal Aviation Administration Facilities and Equipment account (and the resulting jobs and growth).
- 6.3 million from transportation planning, research and development (and the resulting jobs and growth).
- $3.5 million from FAA Research, Engineering and Development account (and the resulting jobs and growth).
- $2.5 million from Federal Railroad Administration Research and Development account (and the resulting jobs and growth).
Cutting these cuts growth and jobs. Cutting growth and jobs just makes it harder to cut the deficit and debt, and the cutters don’t even care. They just want government “out of the way” and are using deficits as an excuse to get that.
Get Out Of The Way Of Business?
Conservatives say that gutting government gets it “out of the way of businesses,” and this is good for business. But the cuts will really just get customers out of the way of business by cutting demand. There are clear warnings of the harm these cuts will do. Last month, Budget Cut Job Losses Will Undo 2010 Job Growth
While Congress and the administration — having just passed huge tax cuts for the wealthy — fight over which of the things government does for We, the People to cut and by how much, the rest of us are looking at how many of our jobs this will cost. Will it be a cool million, “only” 200,000, or 700,000 more of us who will lose our livelihoods?
Warnings about the cuts in this “spending deal”:
- Goldman Sachs analysis: spending cuts would be a drag on economic growth.
- Moody’s analysis: 700,000 jobs.
- Bernanke Fed analysis: 200,000 jobs
The Economy and Jobs are Not the Agenda.
Conservatives say gutting government gets it out of the way of businesses and that is good for business. But what they are doing is getting We, the People out of the way of their paying clients, namely the giant multinationals and too-big Wall Street firms who don’t want taxes and worker protections and unions and anti-trust enforcement and environmental regulations in the way of pocketing all the loot they can get their hands on today, never mind the effect tomorrow. If they were answering to Main Street we would see very different policies and priorities.
Gun To Our Heads
They get their way by pointing a gun to our heads. First, it was give us all the rest of the money you have (the bailouts) or we will take down the economy. Then it was give us even more tax cuts or we will starve the unemployed. Last week it was give up more power or we will shut down the government. Next comes the debt ceiling threat to gut the things government does for We, the People or else they’ll force the government to default, taking down the world’s economy. And then comes the fight over the next budget, with the Republicans demanding we abolish Medicare and cut taxes even more for the rich and big corporations!
Each time it is give in or we’ll kill off even more of what you care about. And each time all the changes are in favor of the giant multinationals that serve as masks for a wealthy few. Josh Marshall writes at Talking Points Memo,
Congressional Republicans are using fear of the national debt as an opportunity to push through a series of radical and far-reaching policy changes that have nothing to do with addressing the national debt.
Matt Yglesias writes that jobs and the economy are being hurt on purpose in these budget deals. From The Success Of Hostage-Taking Highlights The Importance of Elections,
If you genuinely don’t care about the interests of poor people and stand to benefit electorally from weak economic growth, this gives you a very strong hand to play as a hostage taker. And John Boehner is willing to play that hand.
For them it isn’t about jobs or the economy. For the rest of us it isn’t about anything else.