It must be so nice to live in the rarified, privileged airs inside the Beltway, where you are untouched by those little things like unemployment, dependence on government assistance, Social Security, the Veteran's Administration or anything else. Because as a member of the Villager Cocktail Circuit, it's possible to talk about the possible government shutdown not as the impact it will have on very real people, but as who wins the political propaganda spin wars.
Chris Matthews questions whether the four letter word to appeal to voters is "cuts" rather than "jobs".
In a word, Tweety: no. In a country where some states have double digit unemployment, the last thing voters want is to have those social safety nets cut. And the sad thing is that they are always the budget items on the chopping block. I suspect voters would be much, much happier if the cuts considered were to the bloated defense budget or even *gasp* to tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
As Jon Perr points out, all these state budget cuts (the "winning" meme, according to the panel) do is endanger the economy even more:
As all eyes remained focused on the union-busting face-off in Wisconsin, the Commerce Department on Friday released a revised estimate of U.S. economic growth for the last quarter of 2010. And that downward GDP revision not only shatters prevailing myths about supposedly bloated government spending and payrolls. The numbers confirm once again that budget cutters in states and cities across the country are indeed the "anti-stimulus" putting the pace of American economic recovery at risk.
This week, the government restated its estimate of Q4 growth, lowering its forecast from 3.2% to 2.8%. The disappointing news from the Bureau of Economic Analysis can be attributed in large part to the very bad news from state and local governments. As the AP explained:
Deeper spending cuts by state and local governments slowed U.S. economic growth in the final three months of last year. The government's revised estimate for the October-December quarter illustrates how growing state budget crises could hold back the economic recovery...
State and local governments, wrestling with budget shortfalls, cut spending at a 2.4 percent pace. That was much deeper than the 0.9 percent annualized cut first estimated and was the most since the start of 2010...
The government revised fourth-quarter growth to reflect a steeper contraction in government spending than previously estimated. Government spending declined at a 1.5 percent rate rather than 0.6 percent, due to weak state and local government outlays.
As the National Governors Association meets this weekend, "the financial emergencies -- and what to do about them -- will be issue No. 1." Even with state and local tax revenues finally on the upswing, the worst may still be to come.
What sickens me is the guileless way all of the panel act as if these Republican governors are saying what they mean. We need only listen to the Walker/"Koch" call to know that this union busting has NOTHING to do with "saving" the middle class. Hell, these public unions ARE the middle class: teachers, bus drivers, cops, firefighters. So where are these Americans getting the idea that they should support the Republican governors (that's assuming that many do--the arguable "fact" implying that tea baggers are a greater percentage of the population that they are)? Because the media (I'm looking at you, panel) never, EVER connects the dots and points out the real world implications of the governors' actions: How it will INCREASE unemployment and dependence of government services, how it will kill the middle class, how it will drive income ever upwards to the elite (who donate their money to which party?).
No, the media will never talk about the real reason that the governors want to bust unions: so that there will be no entity that could possibly vie with conservative astroturf groups on the donation level, thus ensuring a permanent Republican majority.
Let's be clear: if the Republicans are successful in busting the unions, the only winners will be the uber-wealthy. The 99.99% of the rest of the country (literally) will all lose.