It’s nervous times here in the PostScript Bunker, which like much of D.C. and much of the country is getting used to regular Congressional Armageddons. Every few months now we’ve had an existential game of chicken that goes down to the wire; it hasn’t visibly destroyed the country yet, so apparently we’re going to keep doing it.
So it goes in Dana Milbank’s column today, in which he notes the important work going on in the House of Representatives as we all inch closer to this particular sequester-flavored doom. Milbank shows Representatives working extremely hard to move time in a forward direction. At the end of the day, so the plan goes, a day will have passed.
So far it’s working!
This curious plan has a lot of supporters in the nearly 2,000 comments to Milbank’s column. Nobody seems frightened of the sequester at all, possibly because of the constant cries of wolf. Possibly because we’re bluffing. And possibly because what matters most is that the other political side will come out of this looking worse.
Argument one: The sequester won’t be a disaster at all, so let it come.
Welcome to the real world. [The sequester would] trim 2.5%, what a joke. It needs to be about 25-30%.
ichabodvalentine sees it as an important step toward getting rid of the mooching government workers, which s/he argues consists entirely of overpaid incompetents:
Finding out that your “job” is being a worthless bureaucrat is not hurtful. It’s helpful. It’s your first step toward actually producing wealth for yourself and your family, instead of consuming tax dollars and being a freeloader.
Let a million libs be fired. Let them scream, protest, megaphone, whistle, riot and burn, until their frustration is vented. Then let them accept their situation, dust off their resumes, and take a private-sector job at the pay level of their actual skill set (likely to be minimum wage), and build an actual career producing value instead of consuming it. In short, let them accept reality. We’ll all be better off for it.
But there is also argument two: The sequester won’t be a disaster at all, because while it will have disastrous effects, it will also turn voters against the people who let it happen, who will get booted out of office and never bother us again. So it’s a GOOD disaster:
Maybe it’s really the Democrats who should be happy about the sequester. The American people, time and again, say they want the services government provides, even if they are for cutting spending in the abstract. They are glad to be coming out of the recession. The sequester will cut services and slow the economy, proving conclusively that the right’s nutty austerity first ideas will harm the economy and make growing our way back to health impossible.
Most people have no idea what sequestration is or what it means. What they know is that it sounds like a stupid and cruel idea. Therefore, they’ll associate it with the GOP.
Fine, let it happen. When all the cuts are made and the economy tanks again, the big Elephant in the Do-nothing House of Representatives will have sounded the death knell for their party. Maybe after the 2014 elections the country will be able to get on with its business.
Argument three: Okay, the sequester will be a disaster and the Republicans will get blamed, but they’d get blamed anyway, so they might as well get some spending cuts from inevitable disaster:
Brer Obama and his lapdog media has been saying “please don’t throw me in the sequester patch” for a month now, but he is unwilling to make any compromises to stop it. This shows it is all political gamesmanship on his part. Team Obama has gamed it all out, and they set up a situation where they cannot lose. No matter what happens over the next 20 months — all possible economic scenarios — Obama wins and his party takes back the House.
And the House GOP knows they are screwed no matter what they do, so they might as well let the sequester happen, and then vote to extend the CR to Sep 30, and then go through the motions of working on next year’s budget.
That’s exactly why the GOP will go through with it — we will get blamed anyway.
Argument four: the sequester is actually a really good idea once you tweak it such that it inflicts major cuts on Congresspeople’s salaries and benefits. Because we are so mad at them:
So let me get this right. 1) The only piece of legislation congress has worked on is renaming a part of NASA. 2) The country is about to run out of money and time, and they’ve already taken one break, and are about to take another one. 3) Where they once said that the sequester would be the worst thing that could happen, especially for the middle class, they are now willing to let it happen to prove a point to Obama. Someone tell me where the petition is to confiscate the paychecks of Congress since they have no problem (technically confiscating) furlough, and cancelling our incomes. Don’t worry if it passes…they are all millionaires anyway.
The sequester should have been to members of congress salaries. Then they would have REALLY gotten something done.
The reality of Members of the House of Representatives’ welfare package of great pay and benefits for little real work crushes Reagan’s fictional Welfare Queen. What’s the rationale for the House GOP welfare package for Members? Set itself up as the focus for ending lush welfare 2013?
Um, so, that means we have broad bipartisan agreement that the sequester will be awesome and we love it.
Which is a sure sign that this time, the apocalypse really is nigh.