Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beltway Confidential - Behind the Scenes of the Sequestration

Ever since the sequestration has gone into effect, the Fox News lead story
every day has been, "the economy is still alive". Similar to when Saturday
Night Live infamously reported every week that Spain's General Francisco
Franco was "still dead". Both organizations selectively reporting on what
happened as opposed to what was actually happening.

Breaking news by Fox is now: airport delays not caused by the sequester,
meat still being inspected, and lines are still only 4 hours long at the DMV...
some things will never change!

Unlike Elvis, no one ever questioned the General's permanent state of
rigor mortis, but the possibility that the sequester has killed the economy
and the poison hasn't taken its full effect yet, one would think is the far more
compelling story.

With the sequester calling for 44% of the $85 billion in cuts to be implemented
upon just 14% of the budget in a period of only 7 months, the independent CBO
reports and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke agrees, that up to 750,000 jobs will be
lost, GDP will be reduced sharply,...and the economy could be endanger of being
pushed back into a recession with such a harsh and abrupt halt placed upon the

Why was there no midnight call to VP Joe Biden this time? Why did Republican
Leadership leave town faster than Anthony Scalia can get rid of the Voting Rights

This is not an impasse...this is not a failed negotiation...this is how you win
Championship Fight.

Round One: Republicans threaten to shut down the government and default on
our bills if spending cuts are not guaranteed regardless of either Party's inability
to negotiate. Debt Ceiling is raised, the sequestration is born, and the Tea Party
hasn't felt this successful since Nathan convinced Aaron to build a Golden Calf
while waiting for Moses to come down from the Mountain.
Winner - Republicans...the sequester becomes the "rope a dope" of political

Round Two: The Republicans lose an election and give up 620 billion dollars in
revenue increases on the top 2% income earners for 2.5 Trillion dollar in spending
Winner - Democrats...Republicans agreeing to tax increases hurts more than Joe
Frazier being knocked down 6 times in 6 minutes against
George Forman.

Round Three: The sequester kicks in and the Republicans give up Zero dollars in
revenue increases for 1.2 Trillion dollars in spending cuts and haven't even touched
Social Security or Medicare yet! And most importantly, the Republicans for the first
and only time, get to cut the Military Budget, with complete cover by the Democrats
and the sequester...without having to cast a single vote!
Winner - Republicans...Tea Party doesn't care if you take a sledge hemmer to the
government, they want it as broken as possible!

Round Four: Before this round starts, the Democrats and their team are going to
have to change strategy to avoid a knockout and out box their opponent to victory.

The problem is the Republicans have put the Democrats into the corner by forcing
them to manage the sequester as best as possible and open themselves for blame
if they don't. If the Democrats use the pain of the sequester to force the Republicans
to the center of the ring, they could be knock downed by the very same pain that
is unfairly being forced upon the public.

If someone loses their job, it is not the forced sequester that is responsible...
but the inability of the President's team to manage the cuts more effectively.
Need more tools to manage the sequester and save jobs? House Republicans
will blame the President for not accepting their amendment to the sequester
for allowing the President to choose targeted cuts instead of the painful cuts
from among all of the Presidents favorite programs.
Winner - TBD...this will come down to whether the President's Left, is stronger
with the Bully Pulpit, vs. the Republicans Right, with radio and
television, influencing how the referee, mainstream media
ultimately reports the story.

Final Round: After four years of training, the President is more than prepared to
fight either toe to toe or with the "sweet science" that only an experienced fighter
can bring to the ring. The President will go for the knock out by bringing the Grand
Bargain back to the table...bigger and bolder than he first proposed with John
Boehner. He will bypass the Speaker of the House, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell,
and look to Republican Senators who secretly want to diminish the role of the Tea
Party before the upcoming Republican Primaries.

He will put enough in the ring to try to make this a battle between Senate
Republicans and Republicans in the House, instead of a fight between himself
and House Republicans.

The punch they won't see coming will be a significant closing of tax loopholes to
pay down the debt for a modest reduction in corporate tax rates to stimulate the

This combined, with offering means testing and agreeing to change the formula
for cost of living increases for Medicare, will put the Republicans in a defining
moment for who controls the future of their Party...which will strengthen the
Democrats in 2014, no matter if the Republicans agree or remain the party of
no to compromise!

The President would still have Social Security and raising the minimum age
requirements to receive benefits, for future negotiation fights, or if he needs
another devasting punch to call upon in a close call decision.
Winner - The American People...

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