fresh voices from the front lines of change







Get back to funding government. Stop harming the economy. Budget cuts and the sequester are killing the economic recovery and jobs. Several key House and Senate Democrats have come out for cancelling the sequester as part of the current budget negotiations. The House will need Democrat votes to keep the government running (or get it back up and running if Republicans shut it down.) Cancelling the sequester should be the price for bailing them out.

The evidence is piling up.

No stories like these, of course, appear on FOX News, etc. FOX viewers get this: Fox Claims Sequestration Cuts Didn’t Hurt Job Growth

Here’s the thing. The economy would be going fine, people world be working, we would be on the way to full employment, except for all of these cuts. The Economic Policy Institute has the story today in the post, The Radicalism of Today’s Austerity in One Chart, concluding,

Note that the difference between today’s level of public spending and what would have prevailed had just the normal historical experience following recessions held is absolutely enormous. Had we tracked this normal historical experience we would have about $800 billion more public spending and the economy would be essentially back to pre-recession health.

Hopeful Signs – Dems Call For Ending Cuts

It is a hopeful sign that Democrats are getting ready for the next stag of this budget battle, which is to get out from under sequester and cuts that are killing the economy.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says there is “across the board” opposition to sequester levels of spending cuts. The Hill: Pelosi: ‘Across-the-board’ Dem opposition to GOP spending bill,

House Democrats stand ready to oppose a sequester-level spending bill, “almost across the board,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

… “We’ll see when it comes back [from the Senate], but right now the mood is not favorable to a 986 number.”

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is being called a “one of the fiercest advocates for eliminating the sequester,” saying the sequester cuts are “inimical to the interests of the United States of America.” The Hill: Hoyer vows to oppose spending bills that include sequester cuts,

“I am not going to vote to continue the sequester,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “I believe it is inimical to the interests of the United States of America – to our government, to our economy and to our national security.”

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), says, “I say a government shutdown is better than reverting to long-term sequester-level funding.”

Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said “he would not support a continuing resolution at $986.3 billion because it “continues the lunacy” of spending levels ‘that are killing jobs.’ ”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in Minn Post,

“The House passed CR, which amounts to a 15 percent cut from enacted 2013 levels to non-defense discretionary accounts, endorses the destructive cuts demanded by sequester,” the letter said. “Worse, it deepens the cuts to non-defense accounts while signaling intention to alleviate only the defense cuts. A vote for a CR at $986 billion is a vote to continue the policy that will cost Americans millions of jobs when they are desperately needed.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), quoted in The Hill,

“First of all, we would like to cancel sequester, and we would like to cancel sequester in a balanced way,” she said. Mikulski said that could be done by finding $110 billion of cuts and tax revenue.
“We can do that through additional strategic cuts,” she said, noting the first part of her equation. “As an appropriator, I’m willing to look at them.”

“No. 2, revenue: What about those loopholes Mitt Romney talked about? Let’s bring some of those back and examine them,” she added. “And let’s look at some of the items in mandatory spending.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), “Sequestration is an absolute disaster. It’s causing enormous harm right now. It will continue to cause enormous harm,” he said.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said “sequestration is stupidity on steroids.” From the Hill, “He says the longer the sequester stays in effect, the worse the impact will be on military readiness and medical research.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, said, “We think it should be higher than the [$986 billion] level, absolutely. But we’re not going to have a negotiation that deals with extraneous issues. We’re going to negotiate to get as a high a level as possible.” (Except, the Senate didn’t.)

Please Stop The Madness

It’s time to stop the madness. We already know from Greece and the rest of the European economic nightmare that cuts just take money out of the economy. We are hurting ourselves. We need to restore government and from there start doing things like maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure — which would help lead to full employment again. Imagine an economy where employers are bidding to get employees instead of pushing wages ever downward.

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