Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Not a Budget; It's a Democratic and Economic Suicide Pact

Praising this disgusting piece of shit because it does not - for the moment - destroy Social Security and Medicare is like telling a triple amputee to stop complaining because she still has an arm left.

Democracy for America calls it a sellout:

I expected Republicans to play Scrooge when it comes to holiday season spending cuts. I didn't expect Democrats to go along so willingly.

Last night, House and Senate negotiators introduced a "compromise" budget proposal that slashes federal workers' take home pay and will leave more than 1.3 million job seekers without unemployment benefits just after Christmas. It includes no tax increases on the wealthy. It continues the flow of corporate welfare through tax loopholes. The only people who will feel the completely unnecessary sting of these cuts are people who are already struggling to keep themselves afloat.

We will not accept a budget that forces average Americans to lose critical income over the holidays while leaving the wealthiest Americans untouched. Tell Congress to reject this proposal immediately.  
Income inequality is the most important issue of our time, and DFA has been fighting to close the gap on every front, from defending the food stamp program to demanding that we expand Social Security and employers pay a livable wage. So it was great to hear President Obama speak at length last week about the many things we must do now to address income inequality -- including extending unemployment benefits.

But words without actions don't count for much -- and this proposal is a slap to the face of working Americans who heard that speech and thought Democrats were getting serious about leveling the playing field. This "compromise" doesn't just neglect the spending we should be doing on things like infrastructure and education that would help get our economy back on track. It actively pulls the rug out from under millions of people already suffering because of previous rounds of Republican spending cuts.

It is simply not acceptable: Democrats can't continue to pretend they represent our interests and then accept legislation that hurts working families. The American people need champions right now. They don't need lip service. They need their elected representatives to take a real stand.

The status quo isn't good enough anymore. We need a budget that actively helps people get ahead, not one that leaves millions of them behind. Tell Congress settling is not an option -- reject this proposal and any proposal that would hurt hard-working Americans.
Kevin Drum says Austerity Won:
The ultimate result, as Levin says correctly, is a budget that's below even the pipe-dream Ryan budget of 2011. I'd make a bit less of this than Levin, since Ryan's budgets have always backloaded their cuts, but it's still pretty remarkable. Two years ago, Ryan's budget was basically at the outer limit of mainstream conservative wish lists. Today it looks tame.

Quibbles aside, Levin is right: Republicans have massively changed the spending conversation since 2010. Austerity has won.
 John Nichols at The Nation calls it Cruel, Irresponsible and Dysfunctional.

Think Progress has the details.

Last word to Charles Pierce:
Not only will the people who buy Paul Ryan his $1000 bottles of wine not see their rates go up, they now won't even have to pay their lawyers to open up new loopholes in the tax code to replace the ones Congress might close. "Tax reform" was the "compromise position" on new revenue for almost two years. Now it's completely off the table and income inequality, which is making a lot of noise outside Capitol Hill, seems dead as an issue in this Congress. And the idea that Paul Ryan gave up anything of substance in these talks just because he has decided to be more patient in his long war to dismantle the safety net that coddles the takers is positively laughable. And the Democrats got what they wanted because they declined, for the moment, to cooperate in this venture? This is somebody's idea of "compromise," but not mine.

Meanwhile, 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits, and the fact that this is happening at Christmas does indeed add a little piquant je ne sais Scrooge to this whole farce. They weren't even relevant as far as the deal was concerned. And now everyone will congratulate themselves and run for the airport. What time's the last shuttle anyway?

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