With the House Republican caucus still squabbling over what ransom they should demand for an increase in the debt limit, Speaker John Boehner issued his own threat yesterday. According to Roll Call, Boehner wants “another round of spending cuts beyond the sequester.” Cuts how big? In Boehner’s word, “greater than the increase in the debt limit.”
Well, the last increase in the debt limit was over $1 trillion. And the sequester cuts equal $1.2 trillion if kept in place for 10 years. So it would appear Boehner wants to literally double down on sequester (although he did suggest the cuts could be implemented over a longer time frame than 10 years.)
This is austerity madness. Our deficits are already plummeting. We’ve already adopted major cuts. We’re on the verge of fully implementing ObamaCare, which is designed to address the actual source of our long-term deficits, and the early signs are promising. So demand another trillion or more in cuts now is economic suicide.
Granted, as I’ve said before, I believe these threats are empty ones, in part because the math is so ridiculous. And Boehner has already delivered many empty threats this year, as it is an essential component of his kabuki dance that keeps his caucus from revolting without forcing a complete governmental breakdown.
Nevertheless, he is a major leader of his party, and his words matter. He is accountable for his math, and his math adds up to a brutal gutting of government that would shatter our shaky economy.