Tuesday Open Thread (02-26-13)

Filed in National, Open Thread by on February 26, 2013

Thought I’d take a stab at the open thread.

I’m really trying to figure out the Republican position on sequester.  This is what I’ve come up:  Blame Obama for the cuts we love.  Ezra Klein doesn’t understand the Republican position either.

I’ve asked some Republicans sources to explain their thinking to me. But none of the answers quite seems to add up.

One answer is that they’re hoping the sequester gives them so much leverage that the Democrats fold and accept an equivalent or larger package of spending cuts that Republicans prefer. But I can’t find any Republicans who actually believe that will happen.

Another explanation is that Republicans don’t want to cut tax deductions now — which is the key to any deal with the Democrats — because they want to use those deductions to pay for rate-lowering tax reform. But if they’re not open to new revenues, they’re not getting rate-lowering tax reform while President Obama remains in office. And if they take power after Obama leaves office, they can just lower tax rates without paying for it, as they’ve done many times before.

A third answer is that the anti-tax pledge holds that cutting deductions to reduce the deficit is a tax increase, and Republicans won’t vote for a tax increase, even if it results in a policy outcome they vastly prefer. In other words, it’s ratio-myopia.

Salon has an article on how Ed-Reformers are “Teaching Kids to Hate Democracy.”  Go read the entire thing.  We’ve seen the beginnings of this movement in Delaware with Voices4Delaware – the group that organized to get their members elected to our school boards, with embarrassing results.

You can see that message in myriad actions over the last few years.

For instance, at the behest of corporate education “reformers,” more and more cities are moving to eliminate the democratic process of electing school boards, effectively telling students, parents and the larger community that republican democracy cannot be trusted to manage fundamentally public institutions. Similarly, corporate “reformers” are constantly demonizing teachers’ unions, effectively telling students and parents that the major vestige of workplace democracy in schools must be crushed.

Then there is corporate “reformers’” push to replace publicly run schools with privately run charter schools, even though the charter schools typically perform worse than the public ones. That tells students that a public institution with some modicum of democratic control is inherently less ideal than a private undemocratic tyranny.

Likewise, as shown most recently in this recent <a href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/16/us-usa-charters-admissions-idUSBRE91E0HF20130216“>Reuters</a> investigation, those charter schools often “screen student applicants, assessing their academic records, parental support, disciplinary history, motivation, special needs and even their citizenship” – and then hand pick only the students the school administrators want. That tells students and the community at large that the core democratic notion of equal opportunity for all shouldn’t be honored even in public education. Just as problematic, as Andrew Hartman noted in his incisive Jacobin magazine report on Teach for America, many of the most hyped charter schools force families to “sign contracts committing (their children) to a rigorous program of surveillance,” thus sending the additional message to low-income kids that to succeed in America, they must be willing to submit to “institutionalization” and give up their most personal democratic freedoms.

Taken together, the education “reform” movement is waging a comprehensive war on the most basic notions of democracy – and not a secret war, either. It is quite explicit, as evidenced by the comments of the most famous and politically renowned leader of that movement, Michelle Rhee.

As usual… the floor is yours.


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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (21)

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  1. V says:

    i cannot bring myself to give any fucks about this sequester. i’ve tried. I just don’t care. something will be worked out 2 hours before the deadline and then we’ll all be setting our hair on fire about the new crisis that can-kicking creates a few months from now. it’ll be exactly like the last 6 times this happened.

    we just keep hurting our economy and looking like idiots to the rest of the world with these self-made emergencies. i just can’t bring myself to care anymore. either let it burn or don’t.

  2. Jason330 says:

    Republicans have run on big across-the-board spending cuts for decades. They are the big tough daddies, going to lay down some tough love on all the lazy welfare cheats and cock-a-doodle bridges to nowhere. Now – at last, we are about to get genuine across-the-board spending cuts, Oh a heavy rain is gonna fall and clean these streets…I tell ya! And yet… V is right. It will not happen.

    In a way it is a shame. I’m starting to think that the end of the United States as a viable country is a reasonable price to pay for the end of Republicans as a viable party.

  3. puck says:

    Your position on the sequester is likely to be determined by your income security. If you need to find a better job or are unemployed, the sequester just pushes a jobs recovery that much farther away. If you aren’t in that position, then the sequester will likely be a non-event for you.

    Last year CBO said if we went off the tax cliff and the sequester cliff simultaneously, we would experience a recession for two quarters followed by a weak recovery, with the largest effects caused by the sequester. That is now pretty much about to happen. None of that is good news for someone whose income depends on the jobs environment and our general economic health. Tax cuts are of no use to the unemployed.

    Republicans aren’t following any economic strategy; they are just trapped by their Obama Derangement Syndrome. If a Republican were in office they’d be mailing checks to everyone in sight and calling it a “tax rebate.”

  4. puck says:

    What exactly did we gain by agreeing to the sequester? I mean, that we couldn’t have gained some other way.

  5. Jason330 says:

    Your position on whether or not poverty is character building is determined by your political affiliation.

  6. Jason330 says:

    Debt ceiling off the table until after the election.

  7. cassandra m says:

    Josh Marshall at TPM took a look at the flailing messages of the GOP as a sign that they do not know what they are doing and that they are sweating being blamed for this. And so they should be. There is a replacement plan on the table from Democrats and NONE from the GOP. Not sure if that is clear from the Everybody Does It press. Eric Cantor looks to be *really* sweating it since he is not exactly on the same page of letting the cuts fall where they may. But he represents Virginia and a part of Virginia where furlough and layoff notices have been going out already.

    But the effects of the sequester will not be felt all at once. As the money runs out, and as furloughs take effect and as programs ramp down.

  8. cassandra m says:

    And I think there won’t be a last minute save on the sequester — I think it will roll right along until the debt ceiling fight and get resolved there. With the GOP with less leverage.

  9. Jason330 says:

    I miss the cold war. The Russian bear kept the GOP insanity in relative check.

  10. SussexAnon says:

    Republicans are the domestic terrorists of the American economy.

    All they seek to do is delay, delay, delay. Create road blocks with debt ceiling, budget etc. Never fixing anything, just pushing it a little further down the road. Holding up an economic recovery in order to make the President look bad.

    The sequester will be “fixed” during March, only to move the goal posts, not fix a problem. Soon after a sequester/debt limit “deal” there will be a new deadline or some other contrived emergency. Anything they can do to slow this economy down.

  11. pandora says:

    WDEL is reporting:

    The New Castle County Courthouse has been evacuated following a bomb threat.

  12. puck says:

    They also caught a guy earlier trying to get into the Courthouse with a 10″ knife in his coat.

  13. Jason330 says:

    Guess who has jury duty tomorrow….

  14. cassandra m says:

    No bombs found in the courthouse and people are being allowed back in.

  15. Joanne Christian says:

    Guess who had jury duty today? Yup, it’s just been good news all around. Geez, jason we could have carpooled tomorrow and had a lively discussion–I was surprised how many folks I knew there. Not in handcuffs. Anyway, my turn is over–our mixing with judges, witnesses, attorneys etc., in the evacuation voided further interview, selection,and seating. As if we all came out friends. God Bless America 🙂 !!!!

  16. Jason330 says:

    I just called the automated message hoping that I might get a pass for tomorrow. No such luck. BTW – The message is incredible. I can’t imagine the history of lunatic questions they’ve handled over the years that went into compiling that message.(& I’m sure that for every lunatic question they try to head off with that message, 20 new lunatic questions rise up in defiance.)

  17. Joanne Christian says:

    And let me repeat again–“be prepared to pay for parking” 🙂

  18. Rustydils says:

    The reason the republicans dont like the sequester is because republicans believe there is waste in governnent, and by careful planning and prioritizing, this waste can be reduced without harming important orograms. The sequester does not do this, it pretends we only have the intelkegence of a four year old, so we just randomly cut, without prioritizing, it is an idiiotic, imature, liberal, way to deal with it

  19. Roland D. Lebay says:

    “The sequester does not do this, it pretends we only have the intelkegence of a four year old, so we just randomly cut, without prioritizing, it is an idiiotic, imature, liberal, way to deal with it”

    I hope you actually READ what you’ve posted. As written, it appears you do have the intelligence (note spelling) of a 4 year old. BTW, you spelled conservative right-wing nut job teabagger wrong too.

  20. Jason330 says:

    The Sequester gave Boehner 95% of what he wanted. I guess Boehner is now a liberal in Rustyworld.