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Sequester: The Rise of Republican Anarchists

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The March 1 st sequester budget cuts are yet another product of crises manufactured by the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party.  These Tea Party extremists have one objective: crush the federal government.  Motivated by a strange brew of Old Testament Christianity and Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" they're a lethal force within the GOP -- Anarchists.

In August of 2011, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives forced a phony debt-ceiling crisis.  In order to raise the ceiling, and to push the matter off the political calendar until after the elections, President Obama signed the "Budget Control Act of 2011," which said that if Congress failed to approve a ten-year budget reduction of $1.2 trillion, automatic cuts would kick in.  The initial cuts, $85 billion, apply to "discretionary" spending and are divided between reductions to defense ($43 billion), domestic ($30 billion), and mandatory spending ($12 billion) such as cuts to Medicare providers -- Social Security and Medicaid are protected. 

Who's to blame? The White House originated the notion of sequestration.   Nonetheless, the President had the proverbial "gun held to his head."  There was a dire threat of budget default because House Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless there were humongous budget cuts.  (At the time the GOP-run House voted on Obama's request for a "clean" debt-limit increase and all 236 Republicans voted no.)  The President signed the Budget Control Act to avoid having the US to go into default and because he was facing reelection and wanted the economy to be as healthy as possible.

Who will the public blame?  This appears to be a big political win for the President.  On a recent PBS News Hour, conservative commentator David Brooks observed, "I personally think the likely loser in this is the Republicans" And they have basically got a problem. I think they need to show the American people that we like some government programs. We don't like others" Unfortunately, when they embrace [the Sequester], they are embracing a piece of legislation that makes no distinction between good government and bad government. It just cuts randomly across the board."

Where will Americans notice the sequester cuts?   The New York Times detailed the impacts including furloughs of border agents, air-traffic controllers, food-safety employees, and civilian military employees, among others.  In California, the other cuts will impact teachers, teacher aides, and the disadvantaged.

How will it impact the economy?  On February 26th, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the sequester cuts will create a "significant headwind" for the tepid recovery.  Some experts feel sequester will cost one million jobs over two years.

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Does the public understand what's happening?  NoA recent Bloomberg poll indicated public perception of the deficit "crisis" is out of touch with reality.  During the Obama Presidency, the budget deficit has grown smaller, but only 6 percent of Americans recognize this.  Republican Anarchists have done a good job "brainwashing" Americans about the deficit, preparing them for austerity economics.

What does the public want to cut?  A recent Pew poll indicated 72 percent of respondents want Washington to reduce the budget deficit.  Nonetheless, there was no consensus on what federal programs to cut: only 24 percent wanted to cut military spending and 11 percent wanted to cut education.  Republican Anarchist brainwashing has produced a national neurosis: Americans like government programs but don't want to pay for them.

What will be the long-term impact?  Sequester will leave everyone unhappy and set the stage for the next crisis, at the end of March, when Federal funding for the fiscal year expires.

What should President Obama do?   The Republican Party has been taken over by Anarchists, Tea Party extremists who do not believe in government.  As University of California linguistics professor  George Lakoff observed, "They believe that Democracy gives them the liberty to seek their own self-interests by exercising personal responsibility, without having responsibility for anyone else or anyone else having responsibility for them."  Republican Anarchists reject the Founder's morality, the sentiments that produced the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. These ultra conservatives don't believe in the common good or the notion that Americans have a moral responsibility to care for each other.   The Republican Anarchist motto is, "I'm for me, first."  (Ayn Rand's Objectivism glorified self-interest.)

President Obama must recognized that the Anarchists have pushed the United States into a political civil war.  The President cannot negotiate with House Republicans so long as they are beholden to the ultra-conservative wing of the Party.  Obama cannot negotiate with a fiscal gun held to his head.

The President has to hold firm, even if that means shutting down government for a spell.  Perhaps then the mainstream Republican Party will expel the radicals and proclaim they are not against government, in general.  Perhaps if the government is shut down, and the economy goes into a tailspin, Americans will wake up to threat posed by Republican Anarchists.  

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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"The Anarchists" might surprise you if you had the... by John Donohue on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 8:59:13 AM
How do you know who is "actually deserving"?... by jerry miller on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 12:57:56 PM
I look the person in the eye, that's how. Or, I lo... by John Donohue on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 1:38:44 PM
you look at yourself in the mirror and decide that... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:28:10 PM
Every human ought to take care of him/her self fir... by John Donohue on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:56:21 PM
I remain with the impression that objectivists app... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 4:44:57 PM
That might not be born out in fact. You know ... by John Donohue on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 6:47:12 PM
And who among the poor is not deserving? Those who... by mmth on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 1:11:23 PM
The is not a legal responsibilty. It is a legal la... by John Donohue on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 1:36:11 PM
While Tea Party members--and in fact Republicans i... by mmth on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 12:59:50 PM
Three years ago I calculated that 46% of my annual... by Mike Kimball on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:02:22 PM
Well said!... by Gary Kutcher on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:12:13 PM
since Obama came to office. It currently stands at... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 2:51:05 PM
Look at the absurd complexity of helplessness.&nbs... by Otay on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 4:34:14 PM
You decry the Tea Party efforts to scale back the ... by David McElroy on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 5:43:40 PM
and I mean this in the kindest way possible, but I... by Alan Pyeatt on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 at 2:32:11 AM
Using the Anarchism was a bad touch to this articl... by Cory Clark on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 at 7:41:25 AM
Projected 2013 Federal Budget62% Social Services... by John Donohue on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 at 10:01:34 AM