Friday, October 18, 2013

What the Repugs Won in the Shutdown

Don't let anybody think this shitty economy in which people got no jobs and no money is a result of the Democratic "victory" in the shutdown fight. The repugs won that economy fair and square.

Editors of The Nation:

This debate started in 2011 when the president accepted that he couldn’t get support for jobs programs and instead called for “balanced” deficit reduction that included tax increases on corporations and the wealthy and spending cuts. In response, Republicans threatened to default on America’s debts, forcing through the Budget Control Act, which cut nearly $1 trillion in spending over ten years with no tax increases and exacted another trillion in cuts either by agreement of a “supercommittee” or, failing that, automatic across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion over ten years. Now the Republicans’ “surrender” locks in that sequester while pushing for further reductions to basic safety net programs—all while tax increases remain off the table and the threat of default is still pointed at the country’s head. Tea Party zealots may have lost their bid to torpedo healthcare reform, but the right continues to set the terms of the debate.

This is particularly perverse because austerity only adds to the country’s troubles. More than 20 million people still need full-time work. Incomes are still stagnant. The top 1 percent continue to capture what little growth there is. The International Monetary Fund says even that will slow, projecting a rate of 1.6 percent growth in the coming months. We are closer to a renewed recession than a healthy recovery. Meanwhile, deficits are falling more rapidly than at any time since the demobilization after World War II. More spending cuts will only cost jobs and slow growth.

We should be debating the real challenges ahead. How do we get the economy moving and create jobs? How do we empower workers to gain a fair share of profits? Can we forge a global effort to shut down off-shore tax dodges and end the obscenity of multinational companies pocketing millions in profits and paying nothing in taxes? Will we squander the opportunity to rebuild our decrepit roads, airports and sewers when interest rates are low and labor in abundant supply?

The GOP may be bearing the brunt of the public’s rage, but anger is also directed at Washington and government generally. Nearly eight in ten say the country is seriously off-track. The Tea Party may be plummeting in public esteem, but it is taking government down with it. There is simply no way to rebuild widely shared prosperity without a government with a clear strategy in the global economy. There is no way to make needed public investments and temper the extreme inequality that threatens our democracy without progressive tax reform. The terms of the Republican “surrender” take us in the wrong direction.

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