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The Republican Plan With Lipstick

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Republicans figure that if they can't sell the pig, they'll just put lipstick on it and find some suckers who will think it's something else.

That's the proposal emerging in the Senate from Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and also Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri. It would get the deficit down not by raising taxes on the rich but by capping federal spending.

If Congress failed to stay under the cap, the budget would be automatically cut.

According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the McCaskill/Corker plan would require $800 billion of cuts in 2022 alone. That's the equivalent of eliminating Medicare entirely, or the entire Department of Defense.

Obviously the Defense Department wouldn't disappear, so what would go? Giant cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education, and much of everything else Americans depend on.

It's the Republican plan with lipstick. It would have the same exact result. But by disguising it with caps and procedures, Republicans can avoid saying what they're intending to do.

The McCaskill/Corker spending cap would also make it impossible for government to boost the economy in recessions. Which would mean even higher unemployment, lasting longer.

Other Senate Dems are showing interest in the lipsticked pig, including West Virginia's Joe Manchin. Not surpringly, Joe Lieberman is on board.

But don't be fooled, and don't let anyone else be. McCaskill/Corker is the same Republican pig.

Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.