February 7, 20013
By Robert Borosage, Co-director Campaign for America’s Future
The economy shrank for the first time in 30 months. Why? Because of an unexpected drop in government spending.
Yet the “sequester” – automatic across-the-board spending cuts – is scheduled to bring the hammer down on the economy on March 1. This is a ticking austerity bomb. We must disarm it.
The sequester was put in place to force a bipartisan “grand bargain” to cut the deficit. Guess what? We’ve already done that.
In 2011, the debt ceiling deal slashed over $1 trillion in spending. In December, the fiscal cliff deal increased taxes on the wealthy and ended the payroll tax holiday, giving every worker a 2% tax hike from income.
And the deficit is down 25% since 2009 in relation to the economy, falling faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II.
We don’t have a debt crisis. We have a jobs crisis. More cutting will only make it worse.
To solve a jobs crisis, we must create jobs. Invest in a five-year program to rebuild America. Modernize infrastructure. Robustly fund research and development.
Make education affordable from pre-school to college. Pay for these by closing offshore tax dodges and ending wasteful subsidies to the oil and drug companies.
What we can’t let happen is another austerity bomb, disrupting the little job growth we have. Disarm the austerity bomb and repeal the sequester.