Thursday, March 22, 2012

GOP Welches on Budget Deal, But Why?

The GOP has decided to renege on one of the tenets of the budget agreement they made with the President.

Remember that whole debt ceiling fiasco last year? Right, the one in which a deal was struck that said that a small number of selected Rs and Ds (a "Super Committee") would work together to find $1.2 trillion in debt reduction by a certain deadline, and if they could not then automatic cuts would go into affect. Those automatic cuts would be big across many of the sectors of government spending - including the Department of Defense. This was the agreement. Predictably, the Super Committee failed to come to an agreement - primarily because the Rs refused to consider even one penny of tax increases to help balance the budget. Therefore, the consequential automatic cuts are now scheduled for January of next year.

But wait. This week, Republicans in the House decided that, you know, well...we're not going to go along with the defense part. In fact, we're going to introduce legislation to exempt defense spending from any cuts.
People, the defense budget is one of the biggest (and some estimate the single largest area) of spending the Federal government does. Any serious debt reduction would have to include some reductions to defense expenditures. It's that simple.

So, why would supposedly budget and debt conscious fiscal conservatives now want to now go back on their pledge and exempt one of the largest area of spending form any debt reduction?

I'll offer some ideas:
  1. By exempting defense, that means cutting even more on domestic programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and others - programs that Republicans have quite literally been trying to reduce or get rid of since the 1940s. A little "bait and switch" is no big deal to conservatives when they feel they have a substantial shot at realizing a generational goal. To me...this is the reason.
  2. No politician, in particular conservatives, want to be on record as sanctioning defense cuts in an election year. Sure, the actual cuts wouldn't take place until Jan. 1, 2013, but they are being discussed now...during an election cycle.
  3. Similarly, the GOP may want to try and paint Obama as "soft on defense," by being "in favor of defense cuts" during an election year - even though those cuts were part of the deal between Obama and the Rs.
  4. While many Democrats are "in bed" with defense contractors (jobs in their districts, big campaign donations), Republicans tend to do better by the "military-industrial complex" and they may not want to be seen to be favoring cuts to the very companies that fund their campaigns.
Finally, I'll offer this as a criticism for the President:

In case you hadn't noticed over the last three years and three months you have been in office, the Republicans play HARD BALL. That means they will do anything to get what they want, including going back directly on something they said they would do. And they'll do it with a smile on their face and try to make it look like it's your fault. Hard ball. This is who you are dealing with. They are not a party of compromise or "working together" to do right by the American people. No, they are not. They want what they want and they will do what it takes to get it. The end.

And for all that, you sir, have by my estimation been extremely naive in your time in office. While you've been trying to forge coalitions, the GOP has been trying to find ways to proverbially "crack your skull" politically, damage you and make you unelectable in 2012. And they've been doing it since November 2008.

I'll put it one last think LBJ or FDR would take the crap Boehner, McConnell and their buddies are doling out? Hell no they wouldn't and neither should you. That's why if you get a second term, you should definitely wake up to this so you can face reality and get some things done.

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