Up with Chris Hayes was just excellent this morning and I'm excerpting pieces of it below. I would encourage you to watch the whole thing, but the following segments that discuss the sequester and the budget wars are nearly heretical in their rejection of the normal assumptions in these discussions.
This excellent explanation of the fundamental misapprehension about deficits by Stephanie Kelton, chair of the department of economics at University of Missouri-Kansas City, in particular, rightfully makes the entire political culture look completely daft:
I am glad to see Jared Bernstein be clear about which tax expenditures he wants to eliminate and explicitly exempt those that have been put in place by liberals over the years because both parties agreed that outright government assistance for poor people was off the menu. Because dependency. And as much as I think this deficit reduction nonsense is daft, I will admit that if Bernstein's plan were to be adopted exactly as he proposes it, it would be one way to eliminate some of our obscene income inequality. (Needless to say, as the ATR spokeswoman implies, this could only be done in the context of "revenue neutral" lowering of rates. )
The following segment may be the best television discussion of what's really happening and how we got here than I've seen in all the blather of the past two years. I wish everyone in the country would see it.
The interesting question is whether the possibility of a government shutdown, a debt-ceiling breach or simply the pressure of the sequester’s cuts will, in the coming months, break one side or the other. But as long as the GOP’s position is they won’t compromise, there’s not going to be a compromise.
What if the President agreed to no new revenue? Would they agree then? I don't have the answer to that but I do know that in all the budget battles so far the only revenue that was achieved was revenue from the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts. And even that was much less than the president asked for. Let's just say that the history suggests that one side will "break" before the other. The question is if the Republicans could even agree to vote for their own budget if the president said he was willing to sign it. I can't say I'll be entirely surprised if he offers to.
*Also note that Jared Bernstein shows the same skepticism I have about the defense cuts. I still see very little reason to believe that they will be severely cut. I still suspect that if the defense contractors start feeling the pinch, the administration will lean hard on the House progressives to pass a 1.2 trillion deficit reduction package exempting most of the defense cuts while cutting social security and Medicare --- and Boehner would fall on his sword and bring it to the floor without a GOP majority. Why he might even be able to persuade his caucus to let him keep his job once he explains that Republicans will probably take back the house by running against the Democrats who cut Social Security and Medicare.
But maybe not. We're so far down the rabbit hole that politics seems beside the point.