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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Griper Blade: Reality Drives the GOP Off the Rails

Vintage train wreck photo
The House Republican caucus went fullblown clown show yesterday, as they tried -- and failed -- to fit their ideological square peg into reality's round hole. At issue was the THUD bill -- a bill to fund both the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. This resulted in utter failure and the bill was pulled. It this was a tremendous embarrassment for the House GOP.

What happened was simple: House GOP applied their fiscal flateartherism to a bill that would genuinely affect their own constituencies. It's fine when the cuts are to abstract groups in other people's districts -- welfare queens and lazy jobless folks and those leeches living the sweet life on food stamps -- but when the big sequester-level cuts have to be applied in terms of anything other than empty rhetoric, they look all too real and all too suicidal. Brian Beutler explains:

...In normal times, the House and Senate would each pass a budget, the differences between those budgets would be resolved, and appropriators in both chambers would have binding limits both on how much money to spend, and on which large executive agencies to spend it.

But these aren’t normal times. Republicans have refused to negotiate away their budget differences with Democrats, and have instead instructed their appropriators to use the House GOP budget as a blueprint for funding the government beyond September.

Like all recent GOP budgets, this year’s proposes lots of spending on defense and security, at the expense of all other programs. Specifically, it sets the total pool of discretionary dollars at sequestration levels, then funnels money from thinly stretched domestic departments (like Transportation and HUD) to the Pentagon and a few other agencies. But that’s all the budget says. It doesn’t say how to allocate the dollars, nor does it grapple in any way with the possibility that cutting domestic spending so profoundly might be unworkable. It’s an abstraction...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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