fresh voices from the front lines of change







And they call the unions thuggish. Get a load of this:

Facing economic uncertainty, defense contractors are plotting to spur Congress to nix the automatic budget cuts set to begin next year.

The plan? Threaten to send out layoff notices — hundreds of thousands of them, right before Election Day.

Congress, industry leaders contend, has left them few options. Federal law, they say, requires employers to give notice of 60 days to workers facing layoffs.
“I’ve been told by some of our major employers that layoff notices are going to come before the election,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal critic of the automatic cuts. “It’s dangerous and irresponsible for Congress to play with this.”

“Negotiations in Congress can’t wait for the lame-duck session because there’s going to be a devastating impact to our defense industrial base before then,” she told POLITICO.

Right. It’s dangerous and irresponsible for the Congress to play with this. But playing chicken with the debt ceiling, domestic programs and massive tax cuts every few months is necessary for budgetary discipline.

And, by the way, when did it become OK for the head of the Office of Management and Budget to weigh in with political advice?

“We have made it clear that we believe that the sequester is, by design, bad policy,” OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer told POLITICO in a statement. “Congress should do its job and pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction as it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.”

Guess what? It was “charged” to do that by … itself. It can “charge” itself not to do it just as easily. Contrary to popular myth, “deficit reduction” is not an edict from God Almighty. They don’t have to do it right now. They shouldn’t do it right now. It will be a bad deal for Americans and the American economy in the long run and will do nothing to help in the short run.

The defense contractors aren’t going to cut off their noses to spite their faces. Best case scenario for the moment:

“Not a day goes by when I don’t spend some time on sequestration,” [ Jim Dyer, a lobbyist with Podesta Group who represents some of the top defense firms] said. “Everybody’s asking about it.”

Still, he hasn’t seen any indication on Capitol Hill that there will be a resolution soon.

“Kicking the can has become such an acceptable policy that it wouldn’t surprise anybody,” he said.

Every day that goes by without a Grand Bargain struck by foolish politicians and their billionaire owners is a good day for America. It would be a better day for America if we could get some relief for homeowners and a real fiscal stimulus, but I’m trying to stay in the real world here. The best we can hope for is that the partisan desire of the GOP to destroy their enemies will allow us to live to fight another day. It ain’t much.

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