The reaction of conservative organisations to the
Murray-Ryan budgetperfectly exemplifies why so few people take them seriously.
The Murray-Ryan deal is small. It contains $US45 billion in sequester relief next year, $US18 billion in 2015 and includes an additional $US22.5 billion in deficit reduction. These cuts are funded by a 2% cut to Medicare providers in 2022 and 2023, doubling the use fees on aeroplane travellers, and forcing federal employees and military personnel to contribute more to their pensions.
That $US63 billion is just 5.25% of the total sequester ($1.2 trillion). Conservatives’ biggest concern from this deal is that it increases spending today in return for uncertain cuts in the future. Let’s assume a worst case scenario that the future spending reductions never happen. That is still barely a five per cent cut to the sequester. Conservatives may not like it, but it’s not much.
They are also angry with the aeroplane user fee. They’re right that it’s a tax by another name. But it also is only $10-15 billion over the next decade. That’s small change. The government took in around $US2.5 trillion in revenue this year. Doubling the aeroplane fee is a tax increase of around .05%.
So here’s what the deal does:
- It raises taxes by .05%
- It has the potential to cut the sequester by 5.25%
- It funds the government for two years
In addition, it does not extend emergency unemployment benefits for another year and half of the sequester relief comes in the form of higher defence spending.
Yet, right-wingers are freaking out. Heritage Action and FreedomWorks have already announced that they will key vote the deal. Americans for Prosperity came out against it. Red State’s Eric Erickson eloquently responds, “Bend over America, here it comes again.”
To echo John Boehner, this is ridiculous.
These conservative groups denounce any deal unless they get exactly what they want. They entirely ignore the political realities of their party – like the many Republican defence hawks demanding sequester relief – and the fact that they control one house in Congress.
The point is not that they can’t oppose the agreement. They are certainly welcome to do so. The point is that these groups throw a hissy fit every time they don’t get their way. They call the deal a massive capitulation by Paul Ryan and fear monger against it as if it will explode the budget. It’s won’t. It’s a tiny compromise that avoids another government shutdown.
This is why the media mocks conservative groups when they oppose a deal before it has even been released. Reporters know that the right wing isn’t interested in working in a divided government. It won’t make the tiniest of compromises. It has a list of demands and if they are not met, then they come out screaming that Republicans in Congress have betrayed the party and that the agreed upon deal is a disaster for the nation. Their outrage is so disconnected from reality that journalists can’t help, but snicker.
More than any agreement before though, this one shows so clearly why their response is unequivocally insane. Even in the absolute worst case scenario, the consequences of the Murray-Ryan deal won’t be a tenth as bad as what conservative groups are predicting. That disparity shows the absurdity of the right-wing position.
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