Watching the pre-game show for the 2013 State of the Union, all anybody is talking about is cuts, cuts, and sequester.
Its symptomatic about how the GOP (and their friends in media) have totally dominated the messaging game – despite their complaints to the contrary. As Paul Krugman tries to remind us over and over again – the economy is still nowhere near recovery. Under the circumstances, the very LAST thing we should be doing is more cutting. The recovery is already suffering from 5 years of cuts on the federal and particularly the state level. We’re a million jobs short in the public sector.
So why are we talking about cuts? Because the GOP always goes whole-hog deficit hawk when the Democrats are in power. The same guys who were fine with unpaid-for tax cuts, unpaid-for wars, and a new unpaid-for entitlement during the Bush years, suddenly discovered that OMG DEFICITS! the moment that President Obama took his first oath of office.
The GOP ran two campaigns in a row – 2010 and 2012 – where they complained about high unemployment. And then the roll back into Washington and proceed to block every pro-jobs initiative. Last year, President Obama brought a boat-load of jobs proposals with him; needless to say, they were dead in the water as far as the GOP was concerned.
So: We’ll be hearing about jobs. We’ll be hearing about green energy. We’ll be hearing, maybe, about climate change. But don’t expect much to happen.
The really bad news, as far as I’m concerned, is the energy that SHOULD be going into climate change is going to get sucked into a fruitless fight over guns and immigration. Yes, these are both important issues, but… if we don’t deal with climate change, NOTHING else is going to matter. If we can only win won battle this year – the way Obama poured all his political capital into health care in his first term – why not put it into the single most important issue of our time?
We’ll see what he has to say in a few minutes….