Help The Progressive Caucus Disarm The Austerity Bomb

It seemed as if the threats and hostage-taking going on in D.C. had taken a breather. After a couple of years of crisis-to-crisis hostage-taking Republicans backed off their latest “debt-ceiling” threat to ruin the country’s credit and destroy the economy. People relaxed. The stock market went way up.

Now they’re back with a new made-up crisis, and here we go again. Fortunately the Progressive Caucus in the Congress has a plan to save us.

Here We Go Again – New Pretend Crisis

Here we go again with the shock-doctrine crisis – a drummed up scare designed to stampede us into doing something against our interests. This time it’s the “sequester” – a “crisis” that is entirely a creation of Congress.

The sequester is an “austerity bomb” of budget cuts that will hit the economy so hard that a recession is nearly guaranteed – just like what is happening all across Europe as they cut their budgets. And the results will be just like what happened to our own economy last quarter, when we suffered a drop in gross domestic product that was caused entirely by government cuts that have already happened.

The new threats are already taking their toll, according to a Monday afternoon news article: “… companies … losing confidence in the economy’s strength due to fears over tighter fiscal policy.”

This is government-by-threat-and-intimidation, not sensible policy-making by a democracy. A nation whose constitution begins with the words “We, the People” should not be governed through threats and intimidation and lies.

The Progressive Caucus Plan: The Balancing Act

Which do you think there are more of, progressives or Tea Party members? (Hint: We just had an election; progressives gained.)

You only hear about and read about the Tea Party – an entity created and funded by billionaires to push for the interests of billionaires (and oil companies.) Of course, that billionaire money has something to do with why you only hear about the Tea Party, but there are more progressives than Tea Party members.

There are many, many more progressives in the country. Every poll shows that the public overwhelmingly wants taxes increased on the wealthy and no more cuts in the things We, the People do to make our lives better. But the billionaires spread the money around, and what you hear about is what the billionaires want you to hear about.

You hear and read about the Tea Party all the time. Did you even know there was something in Congress called the Progressive Caucus?

Today (Tuesday) the Progressive Caucus co-chairs Keith Ellison and Raul M. Grijalva will introduce The Balancing Act. This bill would repeal this sequester austerity bomb while achieving balance in long-term deficit reduction between revenue and cuts. It invests in job creation and pays for that investment with savings from balancing defense and non-defense cuts.

Crisis-To-Crisis – Three More

The “fiscal cliff” was the result of the last debt-ceiling hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier giving in to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier giving in to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier giving in to hostage-taking and threats and lies…

This has to stop. Disarm this austerity bomb!

Here is the timeline for the next made-up crisis-to-crisis scenarios. There are three upcoming hostage threats – three more ticking time-bombs set by Republicans, poised to destroy the economy unless they get huge cuts in the things We, the People do to make our lives better.

  • March 1: The “sequester,” broad cuts in government spending, take effect. This is the postponed “fiscal cliff” that will hit the economy if nothing changes
  • March 27: The continuing resolution that authorizes government spending in lieu of a budget runs out. This will mean a government shutdown if Republicans refuse to continue it or allow passage of a budget.
  • May 19: The debt ceiling would be reached. The government would be unable to borrow to sustain its operations and would default on its debt, triggering a global economic meltdown.

To call for an end to this manufactured crisis, join our campaign: Disarm the Austerity Bomb. Repeal the Sequester.

Government Already Cut $1.5 Trillion

The non-military side of the budget has already been cut by about $1.5 trillion since 2011 – the result of all of the hostage-taking to date. It was these hostage-taking and spending-cut “crises” that helped bring people to the polls to resoundingly declare that they want taxes raised on the wealthy, and not cuts in the things We, the People do to make our lives better.

The result of these $1.5 trillion in cuts was exactly what you’d expect, and exactly what we are already seeing following similar “austerity” cuts in Europe: In the last quarter our economy shrank for the first time in 30 months.

Yet here we are with the “sequester” – automatic across-the-board spending cuts – scheduled to bring the hammer down on the economy on March 1.

This is a ticking austerity bomb. We must disarm it. Click here to tell Congress: Disarm the Austerity Bomb. Repeal the Sequester.

More cutting will only make it worse.

The deficit is already shrinking dramatically as a percentage of GDP. The deficit is already down 25% since Bush’s 2009 budget in relation to the economy. The deficit is already falling faster than at any time since after World War II.

Jobs Crisis

We don’t even have a debt crisis. We have a jobs crisis. And jobs fix deficits. To solve a jobs crisis, we must create jobs, not cut the things that create jobs.

How about instead of cutting back on the things We, the People do to make our lives better (so that billionaires and their giant corporations can have more) let’s instead invest in a five-year program to rebuild America. Modernize infrastructure. Robustly fund research and development. That will create millions of jobs that will fix deficits.

The message: Jobs first, because jobs fix deficits.

Click here to lend your support to the Progressive Caucus effort to disarm the austerity bomb and repeal the sequester.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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