Let me get this straight:
Several short months ago, the economy was headed in the right direction. So strong, in fact, that Barack Obama merited a second term.
Just a couple months ago, the economy was strong enough to withstand the blow of tax hikes on job creators, and the elimination of the payroll tax deduction, costing American families on average $1,000 a year.
But now, it's not. The economy is teetering on the bring of disaster. Teetering so precipitously that a nudge of 1.2 percent of the total federal budget will push it over the edge. So much for the strength of the economy.
Here's how The Nation's editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, normally an apologist for the president's economic progress, puts it:
"The stark reality is the economy is still in trouble and Americans are still hurting. The economy contracted last quarter, even before Americans got hit with the end of the payroll tax holiday, which will take $1,000 out of the typical family’s annual paycheck. The Congressional Budget Office projects that growth will inch along at about 1.5 percent this year. That translates into continued mass unemployment — with more than 20 million people in need of full-time work — and falling wages."
Wait a minute: Growth will "inch along?" "Mass unemployment?" "Falling wages?" Wasn't this what conservatives were yelling from the rooftops before the election?
Vanden Heuvel goes on to reference the "tragic human costs of widespread, long-term unemployment" in her outlook of how devastating the sequester cuts will be on the American people. I'm thrilled the leftist media finally acknowledges the "tragic human costs" of unemployment, but it's absurd to suggest that the sequester is the reason for that tragedy--while ignoring the impact of Obama's job-killing regulations and tax increases on business's incentive to hire.
It is ironic, isn't it, that the Prez is traveling to Newport News, Virginia to talk about the impact of the cuts on jobs, when before the election he told defense contractors to WITHHOLD information about the looming possibility of sequester layoffs to employees until he was reelected--in violation of federal law!
If we were to add up all the cuts that the president and this cabinet officials are touting in their fear campaign, "No Hope, No Change," I'm assuming we'd be at somewhere around 25% of the federal budget--surely north of 15. Yes, that is counting the $2 million in much feared cuts to a drug enforcement agency that no longer exists. And yes, it includes the 1,000 homes that, according to Steven Chu, the federal government will not be able to winterize. . . .
Will the cuts hurt the economy? Tax hikes will hurt it more--even Barack Obama, just a few short years ago, said that during a fragile recovery was the worst time to raise taxes. Now he's done that, and wants to do it again. He wants tax hikes so badly, he's willing to let his sequester proposal become reality if he can't have his way.
Yes, it was indeed Obama's sequester proposal. That is no small point. The origin of sequester is critical to establish as it undermines the president's ability to continue to demonize big bad Republicans who are "letting" sequester happen because they supposedly only care about corporate jet owner--not school children or the mentally ill.
Obama is in overdrive, utilizing all his tactics of painting the Republicans as the unfeeling villains. Republicans need to hit back hard--their niceties have not worked in the past. They need to show why we're in this position to begin with (no Senate budget, the president's maneuvering to get his tax hike and debt ceiling increase, the president's refusal to honor promise to cut spending) and how all government programs, and our children's future are put in peril if spending at this enhanced rate continues. Obama wants scare-tactics? Conservatives can legitimately scare the American people--not with fabricated cuts to non-existent agencies, but real austerity, real cuts, that are looming in the not too distant future as Obama takes our spending well beyond our means.
This sequester debate should not be merely about the sequester. (Yes, merely. It's 1.2% of the federal budget. We'll be fine.) It should be about the direction of our country: whether we truly believe government should continue to expand at an alarming rate because the private sector and the individual truly are no longer able to produce sufficiently and justly without it. Or do we believe that we can do it without the massive, intervening arm of government reaching down? That government is actually a paralyzing, manipulative, greedy force that inhibits all of our best individual and entrepreneurial instincts?
Now is the time to begin to turn the tables. To call the president's obscene bluff as he banks on American's idiocy in falling for continued scare tactics. Scare tactics that are based on pure fabrication. The key is Congressional Republicans--frighteningly enough. Don't blink. This time, don't blink.