With all the buzz around the election, few were talking about the looming sequestration tsunami, which, if not averted, will surely sink the economy in 2013. The Budget Control Act of 2011 is an emergency measure that was devised to force an agreement in the debt-ceiling debate of last summer. A supercommittee was charged with finding a way to achieve a $1.2 trillion reduction in the deficit. Republicans insisted on extending the Bush tax cuts— no new taxes!— while Democrats contended the revenue generated by their expiration would diminish the severity of the cuts in domestic spending demanded by the Republicans. Incorporated into the bill were measures abhorrent to both parties. The thinking was that Republicans wouldn’t permit steep cuts to the defense budget and Democrats wouldn’t allow domestic spending on social services to be slashed. But there is no agreement to date, and the cuts will kick in automatically on Jan. 1, 2013.
The White House proposed the deal, and Republicans signed on. House Speaker John Boehner and House GOP Leader Eric Cantor are now claiming that the Democrats are to blame for the lack of a plan to prevent the trigger of the draconian cuts, somehow forgetting that Republicans unanimously rejected the plan proposed by Obama.
GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan is saying (video above) that the supercommittee (of which he was a member) offered an alternative to the sequester. In fact, it did not, because Republicans on the committee, led by Ryan, denounced the cuts to entitlement programs as inadequate, and the Democrats refused to cut programs without increased revenue.
It boggles the mind that one of our two major political parties is willing to sabotage every program and bill put forth by the other party, even— no, usually— to the detriment of the majority.
Even before Obama took office, the Republican leadership agreed to do everything possible to ensure that he would be a one-term president. Accordingly, the Republican majority in the House defeated Democratic initiatives, while the Senate Republican minority usually succeeded in blocking Democratic-sponsored bills with an unprecedented number of filibusters.
Take the Obama’s American Jobs Act, designed to spur employment, especially at state and local levels. The Republicans aborted the AJA before it had a chance to generate the 1.3 million jobs predicted by the end of 2012. Instead, they have the chutzpah to hold the president responsible for high unemployment and slow economic growth after blocking, eviscerating or stunting programs intended to boost the economy and create jobs.