My head is spinning. For months the Republicans have been saying that the defense cuts featured in the sequester deal (~$500 billion, $55B of it this year) are dangerous and we’d all die as a result of our national security being so weakened. Iran and North Korea would take advantage of our cutbacks in defense and destroy us (possibly working together, even!).
Ah, but now? Well, now, said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma on Tuesday, “There’s no way in the world House Republicans would agree to raise any new revenue in order to avoid the upcoming automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.”
Jonathan Chait says
Obama’s position is that he wants to replace the sequestration cuts with a mix of higher revenue via tax reform and cuts to retirement programs. The Republican position is that no increase in taxes whatsoever is permissible. Indeed, the party has taken the position that the sequestration would be a perfectly splendid policy to enact permanently if the alternative involves raising taxes.
After quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial from a few months back which viewed sequestration with not just alarm but near-panic, Chait concludes
Indeed, the whole Republican Party has shifted with lightning speed from a campaign stance of decrying the defense cuts in sequestration and touting unspecified revenue gains from tax reform, to its current position of waving aside the damage of defense cuts and insisting that there is not a penny to be had from tax reform. At least for zealous supply-siders at the Journal who would rather sell the entire nuclear arsenal to Al Qaeda than close the carried interest loophole, this represents a coherent (if not honest) set of issue preferences. The real mystery is why so many other conservatives seem happy to go along with it.
Mr. Chait, I submit that you’re still hunting for rationality in a group of people which has none. In fact, I’d say the party deplores it.