March 4, 2013

That video was three short weeks ago, and in the interim, they've done it again, with the full compliance of the Republican party.

Three short weeks ago, we were talking about minimum wage hikes, infrastructure, economic growth, and pre-K for all! Now we're back to the same old nonsense about budgets and spending and austerity and "entitlements."

Why does it happen? I don't have the resources to actually count the number of reports done across cable and mainstream news, but the word "sequester" was used far too often. More reports have been done more consistently about budget cuts than just about anything else. Pundits are invited on the air to discuss them, people who have a vested interest in making sure austerity and 'cuts' are in the forefront of the collective American mind.

Those most bent over these automatic cuts are large public corporations, particularly large defense contractors. This is not to say that these cuts are good. They're not. They do have a 'trickle down' effect, and in this case it's likely to affect people I know and love. It might even have an effect on me directly, but indirectly it certainly will, as the economy slows and the next downturn kicks in.

Krugman is right: We're having the wrong conversation. The only way it's going to turn around is if we make that happen. The Occupy movement did it splendidly in 2011, despite many efforts to discredit and disrupt them. They put the focus back on working people, instead of the corporate masters who so desperately want to distract us.

Occupy put the focus back where it belongs: on the 99%.

As long as Republicans keep the focus on austerity, they're winning. The President is right to keep hammering on them for their refusal to deal. We all know they're not going to deal even if he hands them everything on a silver platter. Even 100 percent capitulation on Democrats' part would not bring a deal. Politically, the budget and spending are the only areas they have any traction at all.

Want hard evidence of that? Paul Ryan is drafting his budget proposals for the next round of bickering over The Budget That Will Never Pass. Guess what the hallmark feature is? Yep, once again he's returning to the land of voucherizing Medicare. It was such a winning issue last time that they see it as the next step to victory!

Republicans will never surrender their focus on the budget and spending. Never. They'll just keep on about it. They have to. They don't have anything else.

If there had been good faith negotiations for a deal that resolved the budget and spending through 2014, what would there be for Republicans to oppose? Minimum wage hikes? Immigration reform? Pre-K? Infrastructure spending? If they did those things, they'd be tossed out on their ears in 2014, gerrymandered districts or not.

The primary reason I haven't been talking about these automatic cuts is because I don't care to engage on their turf over an issue they will not surrender. They're hoping to bolster their brand by stonewalling. Ours won't be burnished unless we keep talking about what's really important: putting we, the people, back in the driver's seat.

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