Terrance Heath

The GOP's Budget Body Count: 700,000

Filed By Terrance Heath | March 02, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: economic policy, Eric Cantor, Goldman Sachs, jobs, john boehner, unemployment

The Republican response to the painful consequences of their budget cuts runs the gamut from “So be it,” to “So what?”

“So be it,” said Speaker John Boehner to news that Republican budget cuts would slash over 200,000 jobs. John-Boehner11.jpgHouse Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s response to Moody’s analyst Mark Zandi’s report that the GOP’s budget cuts would kill 700,000 jobs can be summed up as, “So what?” A confidential Goldman Sachs report also said the GOP’s proposed cuts would threaten recovery, and slow economic growth.

Getting Real About Jobs

“What kind of jobs is he talking about?” Cantor asked, “Government jobs?” Again, when progressives and conservatives talk about jobs we are not talking about the same thing.

To progressives, a job where you perform a task or provide a service to earn a paycheck that enables you to take care of your house, raise your family, feed your children, and invest in your family’s future is a “real” job. But to conservatives, a government or government-supported job is not a “real job,” because “real” jobs only exist in the private sector. (And “real” Americans only have “real” jobs, anyway.)

The nearest any Republican has come to speaking the truth about jobs — though, like the rest of his party, he had no plan to create jobs — was Mitt Romney at CPAC: “Fight for every job! Because every job is a paycheck and paychecks fuel Americans dreams. Without a paycheck, you can’t take care of your family. Without a paycheck you can’t buy school books for your kids, keep a car on the road or help an aging parent make ends meet.”

Those are the consequences of the GOP’s budget cuts. And GOP leadership says “So be it,” and “So what?”

Conservative Cuts Have Consequences

The Republicans’ budget cuts would eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, paychecks, and the American dreams they sustain. Lost jobs mean lost paychecks, and lost paychecks mean fewer dollars spent in shops, restaurants, and Main Street small businesses. Fewer dollars spent means even less work for even more Americans, even fewer jobs, fewer paychecks, and fewer Americans dreams realized.

Yet, the GOP base — and even its front-runners for the 2012 presidential election — are clamoring for a government shutdown, as a means to the same end as their budget cuts. Last time around, Michael Tomasky reminds us, 800,000 federal workers stayed home without pay. This time, hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed without pay again, halting vital services like veteran’s health care, and potentially holding up Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Many could lose their jobs, permanently. As usual, the poorest and most vulnerable would suffer the most.

Republicans have turned the old maritime disaster protocol, “Women and children first” on its head with budget cuts that put women and children first in line for economic pain. The New York Times notes that Republican cuts would take 218,000 children out of Head Start, and hit 2,400 schools and 1 million students with cuts to elementary education. Just look at Texas — 43rd in state rankings, with 61.3% a high school graduation rate, the most children without health insurance, and only 78% of children in good or excellent health — says Paul Krugman, if you want to know where the country is headed.

How, Krugman asks, can a state “prosper in the long run with a future work force blighted by childhood poverty, poor health and lack of education”? We will ask the same questions about the nation as a whole if the GOP’s budget cuts become reality.

Where’s the Morality?

John Boehner, recently had the gall to try and wrap all that he and his party would inflict upon American workers and their families in the mantle of morality. But the real “unsustainable and immoral path” here is the GOP’s road map to increased joblessness, greater inequality, more economic pain for those already suffering, and a subprime future for our children.

Rev. Jim Wallis reminds us that “a budget is a moral document,” that “reveals what your fundamental priorities are: who is important and who is not; what is important and what is not.” Republicans have given us their moral document, and revealed what their priorities are; who is important to them and who is not; what is important to them and what is not.

Of the carnage that would result, they say “So be it.” Of the economic body count of lost jobs, paychecks and American dreams, they say “So what?” These, in a nutshell, are their economic and moral philosophies. “So be it,” and “So what?”

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Brad Bailey | March 2, 2011 6:51 PM

Heaven forbid we should actually do something substantial to make a dent in the deficit, like ending the war or ending corporate and foreign welfare, or ending a 50 billion dollar a year war on drugs.

As repugnant as Republican budget priorities are, both parties are to blame for our 14 trillion dollar debt.

Apparently both parties feel that "war is the health of the state."

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 3, 2011 12:24 AM

It's one thing to (correctly) indict Republicans for their anti-working class policies but quite another to ignore the role of Democrats, particularly Obama, in the DC game of chopping and slicing much needed social programs

"Congressional Democrats are pressing the White House to take a more active stance against Republicans in high-stakes budget negotiations, concerned that President Barack Obama is ceding ground on spending cuts." Bloomberg, 03 01 2011

Cuts in social welfare programs like the subsidy for home heating energy and widespread union busting by Obama and governors like Cuomo (D-NY), Walker (R-WI), Scott (R-FL) and Brown (D-CA) are becoming more common with each passing week.

"Less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, President Barack Obama proposed a spending plan to Congress that cuts funding to programs that assist the working poor, help the needy heat their homes, and expand access to graduate-level education... Huffpo 03 01 2011

These budget problems are the direct consequence of the trillions in handouts and tax cuts for the rich, endorsed and signed into law by Bush2 or Obama.

There's a direct correlation between tax cuts for the rich and economic collapse. "For the first time since the Depression, the American economy has added virtually no jobs in the private sector over a 10-year period. The total number of jobs has grown a bit, but that is only because of government hiring." NY Times 2009

Another major cause is the continued, unrelenting attack on the standard of living of workers by refusal to tackle the 16% unemployment caused by Democrat Bill Clinton. Democrat Obama refuses to end unemployment with a multitrillion dollar effort to green industry, the infrastructure and agriculture using union hiring halls.

A third big cause is the federal war budget, which will pass $1.2 trillion this year and continue rising as Obama escalates the murder of civilians and GIs in Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Republicans are in complete agreement with Obama on his wars.

"If Americans were ever presented with the real bill for the total US national security budget, it would actually add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year." Mother Jones, AlterNet, Tom Dispatch, 03 01 2011

It's dissembling and a fantasy to blame it all on Republicans when at a minimum half of the blame should be placed on Democrats, particularly on their leader, Obama.

I'm going to worry about the one carrying the axe before I worry about the one carrying a scalpel. Do a lot of the Democrats suck? Of course they do. But the Republicans are far more destructive. Democrats can occasionally do something good, Republicans just destroy.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 3, 2011 1:06 PM

Do Obama and the Democrats put themselves on the line to repeal DOMA or pass ENDA? Did Republicans pass and sign DOMA and DADT, or did Democrats?

Did Obama use a scalpel when he busted the UAW and paved way for teabaggers to attack unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio? Are Cuomo and Brown using a scalpel or a bludgeon on unions and working people.

Both parties are equally destructive.

Obama is clearly a tool of Wall Street. Is it because he got huge 'contributions' from insurance companies (to scuttle health care reform) and Wall Street? Is that why banksters line up at the WH for their daily handout and tongue bath from Obama?

Is he using a scalpel or mass murder in Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Is he doing it to make the world safe for democracy or to make the world safe for BP and Haliburton. Exactly why are all those people dying, being maimed, burned and shredded?

Why does he bludgeon the unemployed by refusing to fight for the AFL-CIOs proposal for a multi-trillion dollar Manhattan Project effort to end unemployment using union hiring halls to green the economy?

Obama and the Democrats didn't use a scalpel or anything else on Haliburton and BP who murdered oil rig workers and poisoned the Gulf. Nor did they indict the owners of Massey mining who murdered miners in West Virginia.

If you think Democrats are better you'd better provide just a smidgen of proof.

Depending on how you count your beans this is either the fifth Clinton Administration or the Fourth (counting papa 'read my lips')Bush Administration.

Take your pick.

You do realize that prior to DADT it was 'do ask, do tell' and DADT was an improvment because it meant homosexuals could theoretically serve, right? You do realize it was Democrats that, as this post says, created jobs instead of destroying them, right? You do realize that Democrats are responsible for passing health care reform, right? A scalpel in the hands of an incompetent boob can be very, very destructive, but the Democrats are not slashing away at our social security net (which is more than just Social Security) indiscriminately. They are cutting, sure, but not nearly to the extent of the GOP. There are major problems with the Democrat party, but there are individuals who do good. I cannot say the same for the GOP who are doing everything possible to screw over the poor and minorities. That's why they have the axe, they are more destructive.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 3, 2011 6:52 PM

I asked for a little proof and got a DNC talking points handout in return.

You do realize that prior to DADT it was 'do ask, do tell' and DADT was an improvment because it meant homosexuals could theoretically serve, right?. Wrong. The Democrats DADT is military bigotry enshrined in law. I suspect that PFC Barry Mitchell, murdered in his barracks because of DADT, wouldn't think of DADT as an improvement. Nor do the other victims of military bigotry who were harassed, discharged, beaten and raped.

You do realize it was Democrats that, as this post says, created jobs instead of destroying them, right? Wrong. What are you talking about. What jobs? Give us a fact, just one teensy, eensy little fact. Real unemployment has been hovering around 15-18% for over two years.

"The year 2010 ended on a disappointing note, as the economy added just 103,000 jobs in December, suggesting that economic deliverance will not arrive with a great pop in employment. The latest report was also a let-down for some within the White House, as recent economic data had suggested that the recovery would gain speed going into 2011. The political stakes are high, as Democrats and Republicans wrestle over who should take credit for the progress of the jobs market, or the blame for its failure to ignite." NY Times 01 08 2011

The truth is that with mass unemployment being artifically sustained by Obama the few jobs being created are low paying. "To an extent rarely seen in recessions since the Great Depression, wages for a swath of the labor force this time have taken a sharp and swift fall..." WSJ 02 09 2011

You do realize that Democrats are responsible for passing health care reform, right? There is no health care reform, what are you talking about. Obama's health care bill was a gift to insurance companies.

... the Democrats are not slashing away at our social security net (which is more than just Social Security) indiscriminately. Prove it. Prove that Republicans are worse. No matter what they propose Obama and Congressional Democrats go along with it and that includes Social Security.
Obama's own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility recommends cuts to Social Security and an increase in the retirement age.

You seem to be confused by Obama's role as soft cop to the GOPs hard cop. That's traditional. Republicans are honest hard liners and Democrats play soothing music while they stab us in the back.

And I'm still waiting for some facts.

I'm sure you also think this, "What marriage, what single heterosexual marriage that exists today will be saved today because of this amendment? I would suggest to you not one. Nobody thinking about getting a divorce is gonna change their mind because of this amendment." is the same as "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." Because that is what you are doing. Something tells me that these are two very different positions. Guess which is the Republican and which is the Democrat.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 4, 2011 10:19 AM

One is the Democrat soft cop and one is the Republican hard cop.

I don't like bigoted cops. And I don't understand why people smile when they're given a candy bar by soft, bigoted cops.

Somethimes they change roles. Clinton and Democrats sponsored, signed and voted for DADT, military bigotry and voted overwhelmingly for DOMA, while Obama scuttled same sex marriage with his bigots battle cry "gawd's in the mix".

You Democrats have Al Gore. GLBT folks have Gore Vidal.

We win.