The final vote to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 509. Representative Jeremy LaFaver (D) (left) – bearing witness, Representative Keith English (center) – casting the 109th vote necessary for the override, and Representative Ron Hicks (r) (right) – his escort on and off the House floor. May 6, 2014.
….Moreover, the revenue triggers in the legislation only apply until the tax cuts are fully phased-in. After that time, under the legislature’s own estimates, there would be at least $620 million less in general revenue available each and every year, regardless of whether revenue collections are going up or down. In addition, the legislation’s annual cost would continue to grow above the legislature’s $620 million annual estimate because the income bracket adjustments in the bill for increases in the consumer price index would continue indefinitely. See Section 143.011.3. This provision alone would result in an additional $128 million in annual revenue reductions ten years after the legislation is fully phased-in, increasing each year in perpetuity….
That was then, this is now:
Governor Mike Parson @GovParsonMO
Between now and June 31st, we are estimating an over $500 million shortfall.
We have had to take a hard look at our budget and make some very difficult decisions. 3:11 PM · Apr 1, 2020
University of Central Missouri President Chuck Ambrose [2016 file photo].
The following is an op-ed written by Chuck Ambrose, the President of the University of Central Missouri:
State Support for Higher Education an Investment in Missouri’s Economic Future
As Missourians, we all have a stake in our state’s economic success. As such, we should be cognizant of critical factors that contribute to stronger communities which also mean better public schools for our children and services to improve the quality of our lives. While our state faces budget challenges, higher education continues to be an exceptional asset in helping to meet economic as well as social goals, and citizens deserve a strong public policy in support of colleges and universities as an investment in the public good required to drive Missouri’s future forward. Continued reductions in appropriations for higher education are only hindering the opportunity to maximize the potential these institutions provide the state, and most importantly, directly to its people.
Growing jobs and creating an environment that stimulates the economy for all Missouri residents is the goal. Studies show the value of a college degree includes an enhanced lifetime earning potential of $1 million more for graduates versus those without a degree. Additionally, a well-educated workforce is good for local businesses seeking to broaden their consumer base. Amidst a growing need for the state to be more competitive on a global level, we must consider who is going to provide training for a workforce that is well prepared to seek out new markets for home-grown goods and services overseas. Evidence of Missouri’s desire to enter this realm includes a recent bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Kansas City. A globally competitive environment for business requires a globally competitive commitment to higher education, and public higher education institutions are ready to respond.
Some 359,492 students are currently served by post-secondary education throughout the state. Collectively, we must ask ourselves how do we value these students’ place and the impact 27 public and 25 private campuses hold within Missouri’s public policy agenda? If they are important, then the current divestment trend must be reversed.
In order for higher education to achieve its full potential as an economic driver, there must be a stronger commitment to funding Missouri’s colleges and universities to ensure that students are not priced out of the opportunity to earn a degree. Institutions themselves also have a role in exploring and implementing new initiatives to help meet accessibility and affordability goals so that students do not bear the burden of rising educational costs and an escalating college debt load. But higher education institutions can’t do this alone.
During the past two decades, state support for public higher education has decreased dramatically, from 65 percent of Missouri public institutions’ total revenue to about 35 percent currently. Using the University of Central Missouri as an example, the net state appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018 was $52.7 million, considerably below the $57.9 million budgeted net appropriation for FY17. This is almost a $400 decline in funding per student in one year. Unfortunately, maintaining an accessible, affordable education will not get easier as the Missouri governor’s recommendation for FY19 funding dips to the 2004 state appropriations level.
While the decline in state funding presents a financial challenge, at UCM the focus on student success has meant finding ways to keep students from shouldering the impact of these revenue declines. This means keeping tuition below the consumer price index while still maintaining a quality education; an aggressive completion agenda; maximizing opportunities to create public K-12-higher educationbusiness partnerships such as The Missouri Innovation Campus and Innovation Track programs that reduce the time to degree completion and students’ debt; and becoming the first institution to implement the 15-to-Finish Scholarship concept to keep students on track for timely degree completion.
By contributing to a better economy, higher education can help break the cycle of poverty across the state. Meeting this goal also includes serving many first-generation, low-income students who are pioneering the education trail for their families.
Considering the benefits of a higher education, it is hoped that future public policy will recognize the value proposition Missouri colleges and universities represent for the state. Public institutions are positioned to deliver opportunities that will drive local economies, but more state support is needed to ensure costs are not passed onto Missouri families and that access to college and its affordability remain attainable goals.
Dr. Chuck Ambrose, President University of Central Missouri
Did the title give it away? Do you think the commonality shared by Jefferson City’s GOP Boy Wonder and the Orange Buffoon might have something to do with a willingness to exploit the reptilian brain of the base by presenting made-up stories to explain unpleasant facts? Stories that shift blame by exploiting carefully nurtured negative, emotionally evocative connotations? Stories like the one Governor Greitens told when he claimed Missouri’s budget shortfall is due to Obamacare?
There’s no rightwing buzzword with greater negative emotive impact for the red meat base than “Obamacare” – or at least that’s been true in the past. Now that it might disappear, however, lots of folks are experiencing a newfound appreciation for the ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare. Which is why GOPers are also desperate to paint the by-and-large successful initiative as a dead-on failure – that, they hope, will make it easer when they do repeal with no meaningful replace, and the masses, including their prone-to-snarl base, lose their insurance and start dropping like the flies they might as well be when it comes to the consideration they can expect from members of the Great Orange Pumpkin party.
These facts likely explain why our novice Governor tried to blame Missouri’s budget shortfall and the very nasty cuts he’s made on Obamacare. But they don’t make his lie right. Either Baby Big Chief hopes to pull the wool over our eyes, or he isn’t quite as smart as he’s cracked up to be. Despite the bushwa he’s trying to sell, Obamacare had nothing to do with the two cost factors he, or at least his spokespeople, cite:
1. Increases in Medcaid caseload: It’s likely that publicity for Obamacare resulted in more Medicaid applications, but it seems to me that the guilty party here is really the Missouri Republican party, not Obamacare:
The Missouri GOP legislature refused the federal (Obamacare) Medicaid expansion.
Medicaid expansion would have accommodated even more growth than the increase – mostly needy children – that the state is now struggling to cover
2. Soaring pharmaceutical prices: Here we have two villains only peripherally related to Obamacare –greedy Big Pharma and the Republicans who enabled them by throwing hissy fits about not including pharmaceutical cost controls back when Obamacare was being formulated and there was still some foolish hope that a few GOPers would come on board:
Obamacare at its inception failed to build in regulation of prescription drug prices, and proposals to use Medicare’s clout to bargain down drug prices were mooted thanks to persisitent aforesaid GOP vapors over “big gubment” intrusion.
Many new drugs have come onto the market with sky-high and higher prices
P.S. It’s a problem that could be fixed were saner minds ever to prevail.
And guess what? Both of these problems will continue to get worse if Obamacare goes away. Greitens just doesn’t seem to understand or refuses to acknowledge the real problem behind his budget troubles:
Somebody’s got to tell the boy about the tax cuts enacted by members of his own party last year. Hard to spend what you don’t have.
These budget cuts are a big deal. Tax cuts have been a disaster – one that Greitens threatens to make worse. State spending had been pared down to the bone before we ever heard of Eric Greitens. If he goes ahead and returns value for dollars to all those dark-money and upfront donors who funded his campaign and cuts taxes even more, it’s gonna be hello to that raggedy-ass Kansas state of being. If you think today’s cuts are bad, just wait. Greiten’s wealthy donors will make out big and the rest of us will bear the costs. And worst of all for Governor Baby Boy, he may not have a fanciful Obamacare crutch to lean on .
The 2013 agriculture bill that was passed in the Senate, and which must now be reconciled with the bill passed by the House, proposes a few modest but welcome cuts to programs subsidizing big agriculture, but it also insures that millions of the poorest Americans will once again struggle with hunger. The Senate bill cuts $4.1 billion dollars from Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – a.k.a. food stamps – over 10 years; the House is proposing cuts of $20.5 billion over the same period. This means that the actual cuts will be somewhere between these two numbers and anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million people will lose essential food support.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) attempted to restore the cuts in the Senate. If nothing else, doing so would have created more bargaining room for Democrats in the deliberations that will determine the final configuration for SNAP. Her amendment was, however, defeated 76-20, and among the 28 Democrats voting against it was our own Senator Claire McCaskill.
I haven’t found any statement from McCaskill about why she decided to go this route. Undoubtedly, there are lots of times when politicians swallow hard and vote for bills that have bad aspects in order to obtain important benefits for their main constituents, and Agriculture, big and small (but mostly big) is important for Missouri politicians. However, Sherod Brown of Ohio, surely an agricultural state, saw fit to support Gillibrand’s amendment. Nor would this amendment have endangered the bill; it would have simply given Senate negotiators more room to get a better final bill relative to SNAP out of the reconciliation process.
Any cuts to SNAP will hurt. The New York Timesnotes that “some 50 million Americans live in households that cannot consistently afford enough food, even with the food-stamps program.” Benefits should arguably be increased, not cut. The Senate was wrong to cut benefits for those who are most helpless while proposing to cut generous agricultural subsidies only for those farmers making more that $750,000 annually – I guess our rich Senators think you’re a hardship case if you only manage to pull in a measly $600,000 a year.
Surely, McCaskill, who was calling herself a Democrat last I heard, doesn’t buy into the reactionary Republican meme of the “culture of dependency,” which eschews a safety net for ideological reasons:
… There is a supposed moral impetus driving these cuts, a pathological desire to see to it that the “culture of dependency” is snuffed out, as the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” clause remains embedded within dominant political ideology. Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher out of Tennessee recently summed up these exact sentiments when he informed a gathering in Memphis that food stamps essentially “steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” The culture of dependency is destroying America, so the story goes.
This message, of course, has always been reserved for the poor. This is in fact the scandal and hypocrisy of such a message. It could never be leveled at the wealthy and powerful. If it were, there would be more talk in congressional circles about prosecuting Wall Street. If it were, there would be considerably more action taken in combating tax evasion. If it were, then maybe Rep. Fincher would stop taking millions of dollars in farm subsidies and call for an end to such subsidies.
Perhaps McCaskill is just burnishing her simple-minded, deficit cutting, bipartisan-queen schtick. A “bipartisan” amendment sponsored by McCaskill and Jeff Flake of Arizona proposed to allow “taxpayers to save money via renegotiated rates with insurance companies who are making billions of dollars selling crop insurance.” It essentially mandates that such savings be used to pay down the deficit (a deficit that is shrinking just fine without such intervention, thank you). So it’s clear that McCaskill is sill playing that worn-out tune, although whether or not it figures into her justification for anti-SNAP vote is only conjecture.
If McCaskill does try to justify this vote on economic grounds, she should be reminded that there is actually a solid economic reason to support food stamps. Although Republicans have managed to paint stimulus as a dirty word, the underlying fact is that economic growth is the result of demand, that is, stimulus, and food stamp spending provides just that:
Food stamps also help stimulate the economy more than other forms of government spending … since their recipients are so poor that they tend to spend them immediately. When Moody’s Analytics assessed different forms of stimulus, it found that food stamps were the most effective, increasing economic activity by $1.73 for every dollar spent. Unemployment insurance came in second, at $1.62, whereas most tax cuts yielded a dollar or less.
I look forward to learning just why Claire McCaskill thinks it’s okay to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable. In the meantime, I would like to remind her of the words of Richard Nixon, of all people, quoted in the opening of a New York Times editorial about congress’ shameful efforts to cut nutritional support to poor Americans: “That hunger and malnutrition should persist in a land such as ours is embarrassing and intolerable.” What’s even worse is when our politicians disable governmental mechanisms used to hold the line against hunger and malnutrition.
By now you have probably heard that Rep. Billy Long (R-7) thinks that Missourians really want the sequester to hit harder – the cuts weren’t deep enough to satisfy them:
“The people that I’ve talked to seem to be doing well. In fact, when I got [sic] out in restaurants here in town [i.e. in Springfield], people come up to me. They want to see more sequestration, not less,” he said, according to KOLR 10 television.
At least now we know where Billy does his constituent outreach. Nevertheless, it’s not hard to make the case that when it comes to economic pain, he’s talking to the wrong people. Yesterday, we outlined here some sequestration cuts that have already hit home, and, as Think Progress notes, the pain has just barely gotten started:
… Cuts to defense spending will hurt the state, which is home to two large installations, Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base. Whiteman officials have already cut flight training time by 10 percent, eliminated non-essential travel, and frozen civilian hiring.
The pain could pick up speed as the year continues. The state’s Head Start program is likely to drop 1,200 children in total, and its education system overall will lose $11.9 million in funding, putting 160 education jobs at risk, serving 17,000 fewer students, and funding 60 fewer schools. Up to 8,000 civilian defense employees could be furloughed, resulting in the loss of $40 million in wages. A variety of other programs will lose significant money, including meals for seniors, air and water protection, domestic violence services, job search assistance programs, and law enforcement and public safety.
Of course Billy’s budget cutting fervor has its limits. When asked late in February if congressmen should have their pay cut in the same way that sequestration would cut other federal employees pay, Billy just couldn’t see it:
Asked if he should have to take a pay cut in his $174,000 salary, Long tells a CNN reporter, “I don’t think so. Raise our pay.”
To be fair, this sentiment, sincere though it may have been, was directly contradicted by a press release that Billy had circulated a few days earlier in which he took credit for voting for H.R. 273, calling for cuts to the pay of all federal workers, including congressmen – which, it seems, he really did. So what was behind this vote? Was Long confused, or did he just give in to peer pressure and go along with the GOP majority to get along? I guess they don’t call it “lock-step” for nothing. But it’s gratifying to learn that it hurt him to do it.
UPDATE:Seems Billy really has been hearing from all the wrong people – plenty of his constituents aren’t too happy about his take on what’s happening in his district vis-a-vis the sequester cuts.
Also, The Erstwhile Conservative’s Duane Graham, who I believe is a resident of Billy’s hometown, Springfield, provides some insights on how and where Billy gathers his insights – such as restaurants serving 30 dollar entrees.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s (R-4) big on cutting wasteful spending – except when it effects Vicky Hartzler. Remember how after going on and on about “reckless and runaway” government spending, she still dug in her heels and said no,no, no, when she had a chance to cut wasteful agricultural subsidies? Seems she liked the more than $750,000 she and her family collected while on the government agricultural dole.
Now, after still more spouting off about cutting the fat out of government, Vicky’s at it again – making profuse use of government “franking” privileges to send out glossy flyers trumpeting her work in Congress. Hartzler is one of the ten biggest spenders in the U.S. House of Representatives when it comes to tax-payer funded mailings, having, over a nine-month period, spent $253,156.
This is the same Vicky Hartzler who, as Think Progress notes, uses her Website to call for “a freeze on discretionary spending except for our national defense, including veterans, Medicare, and Social Security.”
But hey – remember how Hartzler excused “some” agricultural subsidies as essential for “national security” purposes? She now claims that her use of the franking privilege to send out mailers isn’t really wasteful because:
After 34 years of leadership by [the district’s previous Congressman, Rep. Ike Skelton (D)], we feel like it’s important for me [sic] people to get to know me and for me to hear from them. It’s part of serving the people that you represent is to communicate with them, and that’s always been a priority of mine.
Well, gee willikers! Since it’s her priority … what can I say?
By now you’ve heard lots and lots about how our esteemed Senator Claire McCaskill has been trying to establish some of the thrifty granny cred beloved, she believes, in outstate Missouri, by shopping around a plan to institute draconian automatic spending caps. You’ve probably also heard that this plan is “insane” and “a depression maker” – and arguments substantiating these labels are more than convincing. So why hasn’t McCaskill been willing to cut her losses and walk away from this very bad idea?
It isn’t as if her own party doesn’t know better. An article in the Wallstreet Journalreported that the White House and leading Democrats “have mounted a drive to discredit the idea,” even bringing in White House budget director Jacob Lew to school Senators about why caps such as those proposed by Senator McCaskill and Tennessee’s Senator Bob Corker are a really dumb idea. Even Jay Rockefeller, no slacker when it comes to stiffing his own party, has called out the McCaskill-Corker legislation as not too smart. MoveOn.org released a letter signed by 75 prominent economists outlining the ways that McCaskill’s spending cuts approach would be a very serious mistake indeed.
So, once again, why is our ostensibly Democratic senator holding firm in the face of overwhelmingly strong evidence that that what she is proposing is economic idiocy? Could it be that she is that worried about the accusations of “socialism” sure to come from Tea Partying opponents like Sarah Steelman and, possibly, Rep. Todd Akin? Hasn’t she figured out that they are vulnerable now that people are beginning to wake up to the fact that taking an out-of-control chain-saw to government spending may mean cutting more than foreign aid and inner city welfare? Getting rid of things like Social Security and Medicare isn’t really as popular as one might suppose.
Speaking of cutting Medicare and Social Security, identifying oneself with this particular spending cap proposal may be bad politics as well as bad policy. McCaskill has stated that she does not support Medicare or Social Security benefit cuts (although she has also indicated that she would be willing to push up the eligibility age for Social Security benefits – a de facto cut). However, a big part of the problem with the McCaskill-Corker spending caps is that they would entail such massive cuts to both programs that it makes the cuts proposed in Rep. Paul Ryan’s GOP budget fiasco seem mild. Does McCaskill really want to tar herself with that particular brush?
Instituting automatic spending caps is one of those ideas that seem reasonable at first blush and it’s easy to explain to the economically unsophisticated. However, it addresses the wrong problem – the deficit is not caused by out-of-control spending, but by the recession, the Bush tax cuts and two expensive wars in the Mideast. Its effects would be disastrous for those middle class and working people McCaskill claims to support. It reinforces false Republican narratives and weakens the Democratic brand. It doesn’t even make good political sense – why would a Democrat want to be known for trying to shove Medicare into a grave while it is still alive and kicking?
Could it be that McCaskill believes that at this point she has gone so far out on this particular rotten limb that she has no choice but to hang on? I have often been disturbed by Claire McCaskill’s choices – but I’ve never thought she was dumb. At least not until now.
PoliticMoreports on Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-2) defensive remarks at Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Joplin about his support for the Republican plan to dismantle Medicare. Akin’s misdirected melodrama and grandiose rhetoric seems to have offered, as usual, fine examples of the comic theater we have come to expect from him:
This thing is really two visions of what America should be. Do we really want to become a sniveling entitlement state, or do we want freedom? That’s the choice that’s before the voters.
Whooee! Who doesn’t want freedom – especially when the alternative is sniveling. Of course, since freedom in this case just means that I’m free to live out my old age without adequate medical care, maybe I’ll be willing to put in an little time sniveling. Especially when I consider the rest of Akin’s whining about the Democratic response to the GOP’s war on Medicare:
“[I]t’s a tactical decision on their part [i.e. Democrats], to ignore the economic problems that we have and then as soon as Republicans try to solve the problem, then they beat us up saying, ‘Oh, you’re going to take old people’s social security,’ ‘Oh, you’re going to take their medicare away,'” Akin said. “What we specifically said in the Ryan budget was that anybody that is 55 or older, we’re not changing it. We’re trying to leave that the way it is, but then as you go down, we have to deal with the runaway entitlements.
“We’re trying to bottom-line them to make them more free enterprise so that it will control the cost growth on them,” he said.
Talk about Chutzpah! Republicans are trying to solve our economic problems? By proposing spending cuts that threaten massive numbers of jobs during a fragile, jobs-challenged economic recovery? By lowering taxes for the obscenely wealthy and paying for these tax cuts by cutting programs that benefit the elderly middle and working class? Explain to me, please, how any of this will help the economy – without making me laugh.
And while you’re explaining that, tell me why GOPers like Akin assume that all they have to do to make the case for a proposed policy is point out that it won’t affect anyone right away (i.e., in the case of Medicare, anyone over 55). If it’s a good thing to do, shouldn’t it be a good thing now? Conversely, if we are asking folks in the future to endure something bad, shouldn’t those older than 55 right now have to make the same sacrifice? If it’s not good enough for me, why would it be good enough for my children and grandchildren? Don’t try telling me that by phasing it in, we will change expectations and, consequently behavior – particularly, if you plan on cutting benefits without actually doing anything to address the underlying issue of spiraling health care costs.
Of course, Akin isn’t too clear on the problems with that free-enterprise thing when it comes to issues of the public good – like health care for the aged, who, if left to free-market mercies, would likely, as a high-risk population, be priced out of the market. Nor has he been paying attention to the drivers of rising health care costs over the past couple of decades – can anyone say private insurance – you know, that free enterprise thing – run amok?
As DKos‘ David Nir observes, “when you have to start explaining yourself in full-length paragraphs (as Akin tries to do), you’re on the defensive and flailing.” Nevertheless, it’s fun to see the awkward maneuvers Akin and his GOP cohorts try to execute when called upon explain why they voted to destroy Medicare – especially after campaigning on a promise to fight off some imaginary Democratic assault on the program.
if @clairecmc and gang feel “duped” perhaps they should take all spending cuts off the table. #justathought #learntobargain
If we’re gonna shut down, then take those cuts off the table and start from scratch.
Damn straight. If we have to go through a government shutdown, we shouldn’t have to reward the GOP for their boneheadedness in the process – particularly since the cuts they have finagled so far have the potential to do lots of harm without affecting the deficit even slightly. Nobody should have to suffer because a few idiots confuse symbolic gestures with the hard work of government – hear that, Jim Lembke?.
But then, we get back to McCaskill who is singled out by Atrios – and who so far deserves credit for her response to the GOP granstanding. However, it’s hard to forget how in the past she hasn’t been able to stop bawling “me too” at the top of her lungs whenever the GOP pulls out its deficit smoke and mirrors. Which brings us to what Duane Graham of the Erstwhile Conservativehas to say about the Democrats’ negotiating skills in general:
I heard Steny Hoyer, the Democrats’ Number Two in the House, say
I think we’re very close. I think we’ve come 70 percent of the way in terms of dollars. That’s a long way to go in trying to reach compromise.
You think? Giving the other side 70% is not compromise, it’s surrender. The Democrats have given 70% and what have Republicans given in return? Hoyer:
… you can’t negotiate on the basis that one side gives 100% and the other side gives zero.
Oh, yes you can, Steny. That’s what Democrats have been doing. The Republicans are counting on it to continue. Democrats have given them no reason to think otherwise.
Do you think maybe that the willingness of Democratic pols like McCaskill to go along with Republican deficit bamboozlement might have something to do with this situation?
I’m still fuming. I just called Senator Roy Blunt to let him know how insulted I am by an email I received from him today. In this ugly, dishonest little missive, Blunt attempts to preemptively weasel out from under the blame if his party’s intransigence results in a government shutdown.
After the lunatic fringe of the GOP refused to allow weak-kneed John Boehner to negotiate in good faith with the Senate and the White House, after they continuously pushed the goal post ever further in the direction of their ill-considered cuts, after they insisted on saddling the budget – a financial document – with narrow, unrelated, ideological riders about abortion and health care reform among other minority causes, Blunt dares to make the following statement:
I believe that a government shutdown is not the answer. But we have a responsibility to ensure Washington is living within its means, just like every family and job creator in Missouri and across America. On Monday night, House Republicans posted a bill that would keep the government open for a week after Friday’s deadline, while cutting $12 billion over the seven days. Yet Senate Democrats and President Obama failed to reach an agreement, raising the risk for our federal government to close at the end of this week.
Make no mistake – we’re in this predicament because Senate Democrats abdicated their duties and failed to pass a budget last year. The Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to come to the table to make real budget cuts is not a responsible solution, and we simply cannot continue spending money that we don’t have.
If Blunt really opposes a government shutdown, he knows what he can do – use his influence to get his party’s zealots to understand that the American people will not support government by tantrum. As for his claim that Senate Democrats have abdicated their duties – well, from my perspective (and that of the Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold and Amy Gardner), it’s the GOP cheering on a shutdown play. The President and the Democratic members of Senate seem to have been all too patient with the peanut gallery idiocy coming from the House of Representatives – and I bet lots of Americans will agree.
As for the ideologically inspired cuts that the Republicans are pushing (while refusing to raise taxes on obscenely rich Americans), they are not only directly harmful to working Americans, but, if enacted, they will, according to the respected Moody’s Investors Service, lead to a loss of up to 700,000 jobs, which will, in turn, threaten our nascent economic recovery. And to add insult to injury, nobody can argue with a straight face that cutting discretionary spending will have any effect on the deficit. If these folks really cared about deficit spending, they have an easy remedy. They could just allow the Bush tax cuts to expire – which, contrary to their claims, would do little harm to the economy – certainly not as much as the cuts they propose – and it would halve the deficit by 2021.
And guess what? Roy Blunt knows this – he may be corrupt, but I’m willing to bet he’s not stupid. And do you know what else? He clearly doesn’t care. It’s a safe bet that he’s not in government to serve the people who elected him, but to cater to the real powers in the U.S., the corporate/business lobby, and they, of course, just love where the GOP is taking us – low taxes for the wealthy and corporations and a cheap, desperate labor force that will make no waves.
I would suggest that if you are worried about the repercussions of a government shut-down, you too should phone Senator Blunt, the sooner the better. Let him know that if he really opposes a government shutdown, he should take a firm stand and face down the not-too-bright, ideologically driven, Tea Party crazies in his own party. It is ugly to blame the other guy when we all know where blame should rightly be apportioned.
Blunt’s Washington Phone Number is 1-202-224-5721. There is a very pleasant-voiced staff person taking calls – I hope to God he gets lots and lots over the next few days.
Addendum: Here’s Steve Benen on the Continuing Resolution that the House is now proposing, after declaring they never, never would allow anymore CR’s, and which Blunt’s email above refers to “a bill that would keep the government open for a week after Friday’s deadline, while cutting $12 billion over the seven days”:
Just yesterday, these same GOP lawmakers changed course. They now want a one-week, short-gap continuing resolution. If it were a sincere effort, Republicans could craft a “clean” CR, without extraneous measures or poison-pill provisions. Instead, this new plan would cut $12 billion in a week, but would also fund the Pentagon for the rest of the fiscal year.
In this transparent stunt, Republicans have begun calling this their “troop funding bill.” It has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer — the GOP has designed this to fail, so they can (a) argue Dems are to blame for the Republicans’ shutdown; and (b) accuse Dems of not supporting the troops
Benen’s got it right – and ol’ Roy’s the proof – he couldn’t wait to get his exculpatory email out there so we’d know it was the bad ol’ Democrats fault.