Friday, March 1, 2013

The New Ides of March: Sequestration

Sequestration begins today.  Few will notice an immediate effect.  Perhaps more will notice a bad effect by the time the dreaded Ides of March arrive on March 15, the day Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by his buddies.  As the soothsayer in Shakespeare's play says to Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March."

John Boehner and the far right in the GOP House have decided to ignore Shakespeare and his soothsayer and embrace sequestration.  They invoke the attitude of that other Renaissance figure, Republican George W. "What Me Worry" Bush:  "Bring it on!"

This means two things.  The GOP far right in the House are traitorous, willing to risk the economic recovery of their country in order to avoid raising taxes on the wealthy, the least taxed wealthy in America's history of the income tax.

Second, it means the GOP has abandoned its traditional strong support for a strong military, willing to sacrifice the military for those same few wealthy.  If the defense budget wasn't so damn bloated,  one could call this GOP defection traitorous too.  At best it's a stupid way to do what perhaps needs doing, i.e. trimming defense spending.

But the cutting of any federal jobs is going to have a negative impact on the economy.  Ironically, today's New York Times reports that the Euro zone has hit an all-time high in unemployment, virtually 12%.  And isn't Europe where policy has been to cut, cut, cut government spending?  The model is right under our nose of what government cutbacks cost in a time of slow recovery from recession.  They cost JOBS!

But the GOP doesn't care about people and jobs.  They sort of look down on people who need jobs.  Why aren't these people smart enough to be among the idle rich?  What's wrong with them?  How come they aren't hedge fund managers paying less than 15% in income tax?

Let's see what happens, however, when some of the defense job cuts begin to fall on some of the GOP Congressional districts.  In another bit of irony  -  this one exceedingly bitter  -  the red states are predominantly the ones where federal spending exceeds fed taxes paid by the inhabitants.  This indicates that there are plenty of military bases and government military contractors in these red states.  And that means a big OUCH! for the residents of those red states when spending is cut at the military bases and defense contracts are cut back.

Maybe the small-government red states are about to learn a ferocious lesson.  The lesson is that practicing what you preach can be painful, particularly if you have been an ignorant hypocrite.

And let's see what their Tea Party GOP Congressmen have to say when their constituents begin to complain about the loss of their defense industry jobs.


On his way to the Forum that March 15,  Julius Caesar smugly boasted to the soothsayer who had previously warned him.  "The Ides of March have come", said Caesar.

The soothsayer replied," Aye, Caesar, but they have not yet left."

Caesar shrugged and proceeded to the Theater of Pompey and his death.

"Et tu, Boehner?"



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