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We examine the philosophical and economic divide that’s keeping Congress from making a budget deal to stop the cuts that go along with the national sequestration. We talk to:
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I got here from Bob Somerby’s site, and I have to say I was disappointed to hear all of you seeming to nod in agreement with the idea that this is a battle of “extremes” between those who want to cut social insurance programs and those who do not.
First of all, there is almost no one in Washington, and certainly not on the Obama team, who is advocating no cuts. All of them are advocating cuts in one form or another, even though 80% of the country – Republicans, Democrats, and people who are largely apolitical – oppose those cuts.
In other words, there is only one extreme represented in Washington, and it’s the cutters. They just have different types and degrees of cuts in mind, but all of them are austerity programs of the worst sort that will make our economy worse.
The other “extreme”, such as it is, who we never hear from in Washington, advocates expansion of our social insurance programs. There are myriad calls for single-payer health insurance or for an NHS-style health care system, for eliminating medical patent monopolies and government-enforced price reductions; for returning the retirement age to 65 or even lowering it to 55; there are what used to be mainstream Keynesians insisting that government should be hiring more people and repairing our infrastructure so that we can have more jobs and create more demand, thus creating more jobs.
And, as far as I can tell, the only person who even comes close to that latter call is Paul Krugman, and I haven’t actually seen him writing articles calling for most of those things. He does sometimes advocate more spending, but not much of it is in specific. He does, however, point out that austerity programs make the economy worse. I don’t need anyone to tell me this is true, since I moved from Maryland to England, where I can see exactly how well austerity works.
And surely this should be your real story – how the supposedly “extreme” other voice of the 80% who oppose cuts is seldom heard, and how the real “extreme” – the one that advocates expansion – is never heard at all.
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