Leading Indicator – Utah (and the governor is not happy)

herbertUtah governor Gary Herbert is not amused.  In fact, he’s pretty pissed off at the mindless Frankenstein of the March 1 sequestration that will result in robo-cutting federal programs across the country.  He estimates that Utah will lose $550 million in federal funding abruptly.

“Utah’s fundamentals are strong, as evidenced by continued state economic growth. Unemployment is down, wages are up and the local economy is growing, but nevertheless Washington, D.C., is having a chilling effect on our state’s recovery. We would be seeing even greater growth were it not for the backdrop of federal uncertainty and a fragile national economic recovery. Governor Gary Herbert’s Blog, Feb 25

This is a clear indication that nobody out there, regardless of party, in charge of running a state, county, or city government sides with the Tea Party extremists in their effort to fix everything right now – i.e., sequestration.  Just imagine the phone calls from all of these officials, especially the Republicans.  This may equal the call intensity from citizens in opposition to the first bailout (which was defeated).

Is this the end of the Tea Party?  Sooner or later, it has to be.  If sequestration passes, they’re finished.  If it fails, the Tea Party has shown just how extreme they are.

For those who say that sequestration is not the issue, my response is simple.  It is right now.  The weak recovery will become a downturn that may get out of control, at worst.  The best outcome is a six month or so stall in the tepid, barely noticeable recovery.  Nice work Tea Party and the corporate sponsors of Freedomworks.com, who spawned this political nightmare of zealots.



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Michael Collins

DC area

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  • This is not the end of the Tea Party:

    a) The right wing is already spinning the sequestration cuts as too small. If you look at CBO baseline projections you’ll see that, in nominal dollars, government spending would increase over the next 10 years even with the sequestration. If the economy does worse after the cuts, the Tea Party folks will emphasize that this is (in their view) because the cuts are too small.

    b) How about some artificially manufactured economic good news? For example, last month Wal*Mart announced that they will be providing a jobs guarantee for all newly, honorably discharged vets. A guarantee. A vet wants a job? They get a job Think the timing of this is a coincidence?

    So anything seemingly good that happens in the private sector can be spun as proof that the sequester is working. Anything bad in the private sector can be blamed on the sequester not being big enough (or on the administration’s purported incompetence and maliciousness in implementing the cuts).

    Meanwhile, consider the upper middle class, even including, say, San Francisco Bay Area “liberals”. Nearly to a one these folks buy — hook, line, and sinker — the broad outline of a crushing fiscal crisis that will surely bury our grandchildren in debt. While many of these folks are not exactly fans of the sequestration their main complaints are that they’d allocate the cuts a little more carefully and, oh, very slightly increase taxes some more on very high incomes. In other words the base of support in opposition to the sequestration cuts is soft and confused even to the point of thinking the cuts are better than doing nothing.

    The cuts will also change the debate as it appears in the news cycle. The administration will try to manage the cuts and dramatize problems with them. The House’s Tea Part critics will presumably respond with their own proposals about how better to trim government. In other words, while Obama today wants to debate the wisdom of having these cuts at all, two weeks from now the debate will be about what to cut and what not to cut.

    Similarly, the cuts are going to hit states pretty hard and the Obama administration is trying to make hay about that (c.f. the links you posted separately). This is a huge opportunity for the GOP to advocate shutting down federal programs in order to return more straight-up cash to the states.

    • I like your analysis. The right will spin hard and loudly. Their mojo is losing its power. Rove couldn’t win much with the Tea Party in the equation. Now, he’s trying to shove them out of the party. I think Tea Party is just a label that excuses bitter males to blow their tops whenever anyone disagrees with them, to spout rubbish as though it were truth (e.g., the rape comments in 2012). There is a limit to how much people will tolerate male hysterics, even other male hysterics;)

      That’s discouraging to hear about the SF folks. Their argument fails on one key point. There won’t be much of an economy left if a spiral starts because the powers that be keep starving the patient and, at the same time, demand that she/he get up and do some serious aerobics. It would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.

  • You betchya! The main theme here is still what to cut, and lordy, don’t make it be defense! We must be protected (by spending 10 times what anyone else spends). Its all about deficits and debt, when it ought to be about good paying jobs, and shoring up the SS and Meds with more revenue. I bet most Duhmerikans would go for eliminating the tax cuts for hedge fund billionaires and putting a tax on financial trading. THOSE kinds of discussions should be front and center.

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