Extending the Sequester Austerity, Worse Likely to Come
By Dennis Loo (10/17/13)
So the Republicans finally caved in the face of a disastrous default and allowed the shutdown to end. Note that the deal they reached today extends the sequester, the brutal budget cuts that are even more severe than what Rep. Paul Ryan proposed during his vice-presidential run as Romney's running mate in 2012.
The Tea Party representatives are not chastened but are warning that they have only begun to fight, so this is a hollow victory for the Democratic Party.
The situation remains fundamentally the same. See the words of Democratic leader, Sen. Charles Schumer speaking on Face the Nation last Sunday:
The dispute has been how to undo sequester [mandatory budget cuts]. Republicans want to do it with entitlement cuts -- in other words, take entitlement cuts and then put that money into undoing at least part of sequester. Democrats want to do it with a mix of mandatory cuts, some entitlement [cuts], and revenues. And so how do you overcome that dilemma? We're not going to overcome it in the next day or two. But if we were to open up the government for a period of time that concluded before the sequester took place, which is January 15th, we could have a whole bunch of discussions. And I am more optimistic than most we could come to an agreement. That was one place where the House Republicans and the president were not, you know, at total loggerheads.
So the crisis will come again early in 2014 and is likely to be avoided by Obama agreeing to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He has already previously offered to do this, cuts in the trillions, which the GOP has so far not taken him up on because they want no tax increases at all and even more draconian cuts. Obama offered again to make these cuts during this shutdown crisis.
So the common ground that both the Democrats and the Republicans already share is that they are going to deeply slash the things that ordinary people need to live.
What kind of society is this that regards as sacrosanct the state's expanding coercive and surveillance apparatus, its multiple wars and occupations, and largesse to big capital and the superwealthy and utterly dispensable the needs of the people and the planet (e.g., global warming)?