In this case the strong support of the public for these programs -- which cuts across party and demographic lines -- overcame the power of corporate money and the political elite. When push came to shove, not enough politicians were prepared to go against the strongly held views of their constituents.
As the fiscal picture has improved, both through actions we've taken already and the improving economy, it's much tougher to make the hair-on-fire urgency case that drove this benighted debate in recent years.
You might have heard that "austerity is dead." Meanwhile we have two real problems to worry about: unemployment and crumbling infrastructure.
If the Washington Post wants to restore some credibility on this issue, they need to get real about the economic vulnerability of most retirees and start emphasize raising the "tax-max" -- the salary cutoff for payroll taxes -- as part of the fix here.
Those obsessing about deficits never cared so much about deficits. They use deficits and debt to further their shrink-the-government agenda. In that context, the fact that the deficit numbers no longer support their four-alarm-fire messaging strategy is but a minor inconvenience.
While there is plenty of fat and waste in government, it's important to emphasize that government operations cannot always be assessed on a simple profit and loss basis; there are many critical cases where the government steps in precisely because the free market can't or won't.
The only thing that scares politicians more than losing votes because of the sequester is actually doing some work to avoid losing those votes.
How can we care for the elderly and poor while not bankrupting ourselves? My modest proposal turns the problem completely around. Rather than the poor and elderly being the cause of the problem, they instantaneously become its cure.
Even as the economy slowly recovers from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, government-haters and deficit-hawks are sticking to their same story: Americans have lived beyond their means and must now learn to live within them. The reality is quite different.
Is speedier air travel more important than lunch for senior citizens or early childhood education for pre-schoolers? How about cancer research, heating assistance, police protection, or special education? All have lost funding to the sequester.
The story of the Reinhart-Rogoff error tells us a great deal about how the elites use economists and the prestige of the economics profession in order to impose their will on the public.
The attention span in Washington, D.C. these days is remarkably short, and multi-tasking is something at which Congress seems particularly inept. So right now the focus there is overwhelming on just one thing: scandals, while the real business of the American people goes largely unexamined.
We are sitting idly, watching, and suffering, as our nation disintegrates into a run-down backwater. At the same time, over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. Yet instead of grabbing this opportunity to rebuild the country, Washington is focused on cutting budgets.
Providing foreign aid means making a long-term investment in developing our aid partners, which results in both trade and security benefits for the U.S.
Unlike today's politicians, however, FDR refused to pander to the sky-is-falling rhetoric of the conservative right on the disastrous consequences that would accrue to the country by running a deficit in the midst of an economic crisis.
It is most unfortunate that it takes a severe crisis to get anything done on Capitol Hill, but we fear that a new one will be required to effect material change.