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Sat Feb 16, 2013, 10:04 AM

Sequestration: What Would Romney Do?

by Michael Tomasky Feb 16, 2013 4:45 AM EST

Imagining how President Romney would have handled the fiscal negotiations is a revealing thought experiment—because it shows just how unreasonable the current GOP position is, says Michael Tomasky.

One of the enduring mysteries of the contemporary Republican Party is whether they really believe all this gibberish that oozes out of their mouths. I suppose it will vary from issue to issue. On guns, I’d guess that many do genuinely believe that liberals basically want a gun-free America, so at least they’re more or less sincere on that one. On climate change, I think Jim Inhofe fervently believes it’s all bunk, and most of the rest of them don’t care but just figure they’ll follow his lead. But what about the broad economic questions? Here, I’ve come to conclude that somewhere way down there, they mostly know their theories haven’t worked, but they’re not anywhere near being able to acknowledge this to the rest of us. And tragically, this fact, combined with the fact of their unfortunate political power on Capitol Hill, means—in general, and with respect to this sequester battle in particular—that we’re going to have to live through more economic anguish waiting for these puerile people to join the real world.

About 10 days ago, I wrote that it was starting to smell like the Republicans actually wanted the sequester cuts to kick in. Then the other day, John Boehner revealed the new House GOP position on the sequester. The Hill reported and Greg Sargent seized on this quote: “I’ll tell you the same thing I told my Republican colleagues at our retreat. The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget in the next 10 years.”

What he’s saying is that we must balance the budget within 10 years using cuts only. As Sargent points out, that would require cuts totaling one sixth to one third of government. Now this may be the Tea Party’s dream in theory, but nothing like this will ever happen in a million years. A government that starts closing regional airports in small towns, shuttering Department of Energy and Veterans Affairs facilities all over the country, and many kindred activities, well, believe me, that’s a government that will somehow find the funding for those facilities in a hurry and reopen them. Putting aside all questions of what’s right and wrong and considering only questions of political feasibility, the Boehner position is completely from another universe, and he surely knows this.

Now, try this thought experiment on for size. Let’s say Mitt Romney were president right now. The sequester would still be an issue, because that was baked in the cake before the election. And let’s say for argument’s sake that a deadline loomed on March 1, by which time Congress and President Romney had to agree to a deal to avoid the sequestration cuts. What, in this case, would the Republicans do?

I suppose that for starters they’d say something like, “Well, President Romney would have repealed Obamacare, and that would have saved billions, trillions.” That is what Romney kept saying during the campaign. But it is not true. Obama kept saying that Obamacare would save money, and we began finding out just last weekend that he was right—the deficit projections have been lowered, chiefly because health-care costs are lower, which is not wholly but certainly partly attributable to the Affordable Care Act. So that wouldn’t have worked. In fact it would have made things worse.


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Reply Sequestration: What Would Romney Do? (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 2013 OP
Proud Liberal Dem Feb 2013 #1

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:30 PM

1. Had the election gone the "right" way for the Republicans and they now have WH & Senate

Last edited Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:22 PM - Edit history (1)

The sequester would've already been replaced with the Republican "alternative"/eliminated in short order IMHO. As I recall, they were all geared up for "tax reform" if they had the WH and both chambers in Congress. Even if they didn't win the Senate, the Dems probably would've probably accepted the Republican "alternative" for the cliff/sequester or something like it. The Bush tax cuts- as they previously were- would probably still be law as well IMHO. Let's be thankful we never had to worry about it!

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