I have graded 75 papers. I have 25 to go. Me thinks I need a drink and a laugh.
The trillion dollars in mandatory cuts to the federal budget over the next ten years begins tomorrow. These imprecise "cuts"--in many cases just reductions in the growth of certain budget items--are a manufactured crisis. It was made by political actors. It can be undone by political actors...if they so chose. Manufactured crises are designed to exhaust the American people and to make them even more passive, hostile towards the idea that government can be made to function properly, and is one more step towards inverted totalitarianism.
In all, this charade is one more play towards check and mate for corporate democracy where the realm of "the public" is so atrophied that in a generation or less, the social safety net will look nothing like it did even ten years ago (never mind in the 1960s or 1940s). Young people who come of age in that moment will have never known a government that enhanced positive liberty by guaranteeing basic economic or social securities.
Obama and his advisers decided some time ago to pursue an austerity-lite plan. The Republicans want to destroy the federal government and radically renegotiate the social contract. Government must be drowned in the bathtub. There can be no significant taxes on the rich. The sequester allows the Right to advance their goal of killing the State via a death of a thousand cuts. If the sequester goes forward, and the government then "shuts down" in March, the Tea Party GOP will be seen by the American people--quite correctly--as the group most responsible for this mess. This will further damage their brand name.
This pleases me.
But, while I am happy to see the Tea Party GOP weakened further, I would much rather have a responsible Republican Party that is working with the Democrats to fix the economy.
[Many in the public do not realize that the Great Recession could be reasonably described as the Great Depression 2.0. Moreover, most also do not know that during the Great Depression there was a period of several years where it seemed that the economy was going to turn around and then the federal government made a series of horrible judgments which truly pushed the world economy over the edge.]
As I wrote here, it is fun to watch the train wreck on the Right until it results in serious harm to the American people. We are all sad clowns come tomorrow. Congress has abdicated its most basic responsibility to intelligently exercise "the power of the purse." They will not be held accountable.
Too bad our political leadership class does not have a friend like Jim Brown who can put his hand around their shoulder, get the partisan crack pipe out of their hands, and ask them "so what's it gonna be?" in the interest of the Common Good and a We The People democracy.