I am always looking for examples of effective leadership. Shortly after his record setting election as Governor of California in 2010, Jerry Brown sp...
It's easy to blame Republicans and the right-wing billionaires that bankroll them, and their unceasing demonization of "big government" as well as deficits. But Democrats in Washington bear some of the responsibility.
The Treasury today released the data for the fiscal year 2013 budget deficit, which amounted to $680 billion, or 4.1 percent of GDP, down about $400 billion from last year's deficit, which was 6.8 percent of GDP. The 2.7 percentage point drop came from 1.5 ppts higher tax receipts and 1.2 ppts lower outlays (both relative to GDP). That's the largest one year decline in the budget deficit since 1969. The deficit is down 6 percentage points of GDP since 2009 -- the largest four-year decline since 1950. We're engaged in a level of budget austerity that would make a European policy maker proud.
Following an extended government shutdown and the ugly showdown over the federal debt ceiling, both parties need to find bipartisan solutions to critical problems in order to rehabilitate their credibility with the American public.
How is this even a debate? How is it that men and women who served in uniform get smeared as lazy and unmotivated to work, as soon as they need help feeding their families by using food stamps?
If Congress stays on this damaging course of chipping away at the Park Service budget, we will continue to see cutbacks, closures, crumbling infrastructure, and disrepair in these places we love -- the very places that should represent the best we have to offer as a nation.
The economics of the moment is that fiscal responsibility really means less, not more deficit reduction right now. That's easy for me to say, I'm sure. But it's the truth. Just look at the jobs report.
This week saw disaster averted when, at the last possible moment, Congress voted to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling. Of course, we actually only avoided extreme disaster -- allowing us to return to the ordinary, run-of-the-mill disaster that is the current sequester-hobbled budget. It's like living in a house that's falling apart and celebrating because you convinced the repairman not to burn it down. But even avoided catastrophes can be pricey: since 2010, these politically-manufactured crises have cost us 3 percent of GDP, 900,000 jobs and $700 billion in lost economic activity -- not including the $24 billion this latest circus cost. And now we get to see if Congress, so eager to pat itself on the back for not driving the world economy over the cliff, can at long last get its act together -- or if we'll have to go through the exasperating brink-of-disaster routine all over again in three months.
That is not governing and it certainly does nothing to sell liberals or independents on conservative values. If anything, it pushes even moderate conservatives away from the movement because of its leadership.
For young people in South Los Angeles, the only "miracle" in California's budget will be if they get a fair day in court.
There's still no guarantee that the GOP won't use the same congressional hostage-taking antic again on the Affordable Care Act and demand the draconian budget cuts in January or February as its price for keeping the government open or raising the debt ceiling.
With the possibility of the government defaulting on its debt looming, it's worth critically examining some of the more popular far-right talking points.
Let's not forget that even if the debt ceiling debate does eventually end positively, the 2011 fiasco resulted in a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, and given how crazy Washington is right now we may be better off protecting our present than betting on our future.
The funny thing is that had the Republicans simply let Obamacare play out in its own way, instead of trying to defund, delay, and sabotage it, they may actually have been able to score political points on its back in the future.
This conservative, austere budget has been rejected for months. Their goal is not really about defunding ObamaCare. Their goal was to force their extreme agenda onto the American people.
If you want to understand how we got to the point of a government shutdown, ask any Republican exactly what they would cut from the budget, and ask them to give actual dollar amounts of how much money that would "save."