Archive for the ‘Sequester’ Category

How do Liberals Escape from Wing-Nut Hell

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

gop-vs-americaThere is broad disappointment among [Liberals] progressives at the outcome of several recent antics of the radical right teabagger extreme. From the debt ceiling deal to the near collapse of the government. How do you deal with zealots that are hell bent on blowing up the entire economy if they don’t get their way? So how do [Liberals] progressives escape from this wing-nut hell?

The last several years, European politicians struggled to avoid default that would lead their economies to collapse. Those who tried austerity as a solution, suffered damaging blows to their economies and encountered wrath from it people. Yet, in the United States, radical right extremists Republicans manufactured the same kind of economic crisis and threatened to blow the entire economy to hell if they didn’t get their way. They have sinse engaged in an orgy of austerity that has damaged our economic growth and killed new job creation.

Did their tactics work? Idiots who are reckless have a huge advantage when dealing with rational foes that act responsibly.

President Obama and Democratic leadership did a valiant job avoiding the worst features of the deal, but in the end the negotiation was only about the size of the ransom paid and the damage of its costs to our economy.

Other historical situations involving both Republican and Democratic Presidents ended more rationally when faced with difficult economic solutions. The deficit reduction deal between Ronald Regan and Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neal in 1984 was 82% new revenue and 18% cuts in expenditures. Clinton’s deals that lead to large surpluses in the 1990’s was 62% new taxes – mainly on the wealthy – and 38% cuts. This deal was 100% cuts. But today’s teabagger extremists don’t deal in rational behavior or use logic.

The general consensus among economists is that the impact of the cuts of the ongoing Sequester is damaging the already-weak economic recovery. The deal included no short-term stimulus and extreme cuts in R&D that is allowing China to gain on the US in areas of new energy technology advantages that will lead to future economic world dominance.

It is interesting to note that Congressional cuts in Embassy protection lead to weak embassy security that allowed extremists attacks on the Embassy resulting in four deaths at Benghazi. A situation that was clearly created by the radical teabagger congress that Republicans hypocrisy attempts to use as political weapon against Hillary Clinton.

There were some bright spots in the outcome of the war of economic attrition but traditional logic does not apply to the teabagger faithful. Clear danger lies ahead for progressives.

Progressives must maintain a determined, relentless campaign to prevent the teabagger controlled Congress from making cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

The Paul Ryan budget shows us exactly where the Republicans want to go. The Republican budget would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a failed system of vouchers for private insurance that raises the out of pocket health care expenses of senior citizens by $6,000 per year. They would raise the retirement age for Social Security, and turn Medicaid into block grants that would eliminate the guarantee of health care for the poor, and nursing home care for seniors and the disabled. And they would do it all to prevent the rich from having to contribute to deficit reduction.

We must continue to refocus the political conversation directly to the issue that the vast majority of Americans really care about: jobs and fair living wages.

Progressives must get out the vote because Elections matter. If given the opportunity, the extremists will destroy Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the EPA. They will increase the war against women’s rights; continue the assault on science, and legitimate hate and intolerance.

The recent battles to close the government and threats to implode the economy must serve as a warning — a wake up call. The [wing-nut] Republicans must be stopped. They will outsource what remains of our manufacturing jobs, repeal Obamacare, eliminate all regulations on Wall Street’s greed, destroy unions and allow the wealthy to plunder what is left of America’s middle class.

If one doubts this, one need look no future back than 2007 when they tried the same failed economic recipe for disaster that cast the nation into near economic ruin and the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Congress Acts to Ensure Their Smooth Travel

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Washington – Yesterday, the House passed legislation that would let the government redirect millions of dollars to air traffic controllers’ salaries and expenses in a bid to end sequester-related furloughs that have caused flight delays around the country.

President Obama warned congress in February, that the Sequester would result in layoffs and airport delays. The congress did not seem to consider this fact until they realized the delays at the airports would affect them as they prepared to leave Washington for break; they acted quickly to end the threat to their weekend travel plans.

Members approved the Reducing Flight Delays Act 361-41.

The bill was sent directly to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The vote is a victory for House Republicans, who had been pushing for a restructuring of the $600 million sequester cut to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid air traffic controller layoffs. In contrast, Democrats were looking for a broader solution to the sequester that included new taxes.

Democratic leaders and other rank-and-file Democrats said they oppose the bill because it only deals with the FAA, and not the other social programs that are also seeing cuts because of the sequester.

Democrats correctly pointed out that the bill fails to address sequester-related cuts to Head Start, Meals on Wheels, federal housing aid, unemployment insurance, food inspections at the Food and Drug Administration and other social programs.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) agreed, and called the bill a Republican “hostage-taking.” She unsuccessfully asked the House to take up a bill terminating the entire sequester.

Just before the vote, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hailed the Senate vote as a win for Republicans, and said the administration now seems to see the value of cutting less critical programs (school lunches, meal on wheels, head start programs, random layoff of millions).

But the bill only allows this money to be moved to pay for air traffic controller salaries and expenses in fiscal 2013.

The pain of the sequester will only get worse as congress refuses to do its job. This non-action is very popular with teabaggers and other anti-government groups.

Wing Nut Legislation from Nashville

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

One can only be amazed at the break neck speed with which the wing nut legislation is moving through Nashville. There is no longer need for debate or logic, ignorance based bills are passed in record time, most recently, one bill passed in six minutes, there is no longer need for intelligent discussion.

After two years of working hard for lobbyists, the Tennessee legislator has moved Tennessee into the national lime light of ignorance. The race to the bottom by the backwoods boys of the Tennessee legislator has paid off; Tennessee has become the blunt of jokes on a weekly basis on late night sitcoms. The wealth of ignorance by the legislation has produced a wind fall of material for late night comedians and national news networks.

Legislators like Marsh Blackburn have become regulars on news stations, as she insists the good people of Tennessee love the Sequester, the Sequester what will eventually give Tennesseans 40,000 lay off slips.

After four years of struggle, while unemployment moves upward across the state, the Tennessee House of Representatives capped off four years of foolishness with their signature bill that would let handgun owners with permits carry their weapons in their cars anywhere they go, putting an apparent end to a four-year fight between business owners and gun rights advocates.

Other bills like “don’t say gay” have gained even more national recognition and laughter. The more Tennessee is associated with bigotry, intolerance and ignorance, the more we are dragged down, economically and socially. What employer wants to relocate to a state that guts education and condemns science and technology?

Sadly, the current work of the legislature is focused on gutting workers compensation. Basis protection to workers who become injured at work will likely be dismantled when this legislation is rushed through without discussion or regret.

Other legislation moves toward gutting public education in the state. TNGOP touted K12 “virtual schools”, the savior of education, even as administrators of these schools were instructing teachers to delete and hide the falling grades of the students involved in this “voodoo” education option.

If you don’t like the K12 option, you can always go with the school voucher scam. Lobbyists are lining up to get their hands on tax payer education dollars in Tennessee. They want to pilfer, plunder, and profit from the privatization of public schools and the pickpocketing of public funds.

On another note, in the coming weeks, Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature will be making a decision on whether to fully implement the Affordable Care Act by expanding TennCare, our Medicaid program. It’s a decision that will have long-term effects on health care for working families and a huge impact on our state economy.

The legislation from Nashville affects every aspect of your life, from your education to your job, from your standard of living to your wellbeing as a senior citizen. If you don’t pay attention to laws that affect you, you will find yourselves with no “safety net” protection.

House Republicans’ Sequester Would Cut 40,000 Jobs in Tennessee

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

SEQUESTER FACTS: House Republicans’ Sequester Will Eliminate Millions of Jobs, Including Nearly 40,000 Jobs in Tennessee

Tea Party House Republicans left the capital last week without any attempt to negotiate a deal on the sequester — a series of deep and indiscriminate cuts that experts estimate will eliminate millions of jobs and could throw the economy back into a recession. Rather than put a stop to the sequester by closing tax breaks for millionaire and corporate special interests, House Republicans — like Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Rep. Diane Black and Rep. Marsha Blackburn — are allowing it to take place.

The cuts will affect areas across the government from defense to domestic spending, including medical research, Army Corps of Engineers projects, federal law enforcement officers, Head Start and services to pregnant women. Republicans have refused to bring up a compromise plan that achieves the deficit reduction by ending special tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.

In Tennessee, Sequester Will Eliminate Nearly 40,000 Jobs
Here is the plan that House Republicans are green lighting:

Study: Sequester Would Cut 39,120 Jobs in Tennessee. According to a 2012 study by George Mason Professor Stephen Fuller, the automatic spending cuts affecting Department of Defense and non-Department of Defense discretionary spending would lead to significant job losses in every state.

• Sequester Would Cost Tennessee $2 Billion in Total Lost Income.[The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on DOD & non-DOD Agencies, Professor Stephen Fuller, 7/17/12]
Study: Sequester Would Slash Critical Maternal and Child Health Services. The American Academy of Pediatrics studied the impacts that sequestration will have on Tennessee and projected that:

• 13,200 mothers and young children would lose access to food assistance and critical health care.
• 4,100 fewer children would receive vaccinations.
• 75,100 fewer women, children and families would receive critical preventive health care.
• $53 million would be cut from the NIH’s research projects based in Tennessee.[American Academy of Pediatrics, 10/1/12]

Study: Sequester Eliminates $46 Million in Education Funding, Affecting Thousands of Tennessee Students. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed how sequestration would impact education in Tennessee and concluded that the state would lose $46,751,000 in federal funding for critical education programs. These cuts include:

• $12 million would be cut from special education funding, affecting 5,660 students.
• $1.2 million would be cut from grants for career and technical education.
• $642,000 would be cut from need-based grants that would help 24,990 low-income Tennessee students pay for college.
[NEA, February 2013]

Nationally, Sequester Will Be Devastating
CBO: Sequester Expected to Eliminate 1.4 Million Jobs Nationally. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that 1.4 million jobs are at stake if sequestration were to go into effect. “According to CBO’s projections, if all of that fiscal tightening occurs, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 0.5 percent in 2013 (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013)—reflecting a decline in the first half of the year and renewed growth at a modest pace later in the year. That contraction of the economy will cause employment to decline and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/8/12]

CBO: Sequester Expected to Cut Economic Growth in Half. The sequester is also expected to lead to a recession in 2013 by slashing economic growth in half.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, “Fiscal tightening including the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester would cut U.S. growth in half in 2013 if allowed to go into effect, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a new budget and economic outlook. … CBO said Tuesday that growth would be about 1.5 percentage points faster in 2013 if not for fiscal tightening including the sequester.” [MarketWatch, 2/5/13]

By The Numbers: Sequestration Will Target Women, Child, Veterans, and the Most Vulnerable
According to an analysis by U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee on the impacts of sequestration, as reported by the New York Times:

• 4,000 workers would be furloughed every day at the F.A.A., causing flight backups.
• 70,000 children would lose Head Start.
• 14,000 teachers and other school employees could lose their jobs.
• 125,000 families would be put at sudden risk of homelessness because their rental assistance would end.
• 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and severely emotionally disturbed children would most likely lose their treatments.
• 600,000 women and children would lose nutrition aid from the Women, Infants and Children program.
• 251,000 civilians employed by the Army could be furloughed for up to 22 days.
• $3 billion would be the potential shortfall in the military’s health insurance program; some services could be denied for retirees and dependents of active-duty personnel.
• 7,750 Customs and Border Protections agents could be laid off.