PoliticsNation | February 25, 2013
>> for tuning in. tonight's lead, gop hack job. there are just four days until $85 billion of spending cuts are scheduled to kick in. these cuts would be disastrous. and may also throw millions of people out of work and hurt our economic recovery. the president wants to stop these cuts by closing the loopholes that favor millionaires but republicans just flat out refuse. but here's the problem -- outside of the republican caucus rooms and quiet gop rooms where the big money men make their deals, there are real live american families who will be unnecessarily hurt.
>> thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. tens of thousands of parents will have to deal with finding childcare for their children. hundreds of thousands of americans will lose access to primary care and preventative care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings. and the longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the impact will become.
>> the impact is clear. but republicans are putting their heads in the sand about how bad it's going to get.
>> do you have a sense of how many jobs will be lost as a result of this xwester?
>> i do not.
>> really, mr. speaker? you're the guy in charge. and you don't know? well, here it is. the congressional budget office says there will be 750,000 job losses. another independent economic group says 700,000 jobs losses. no matter how you slice it, it's bad. real bad. real families hurt. and the details of what would happen are starting to come in. and speaker boehner's home state of ohio , these cuts would kick 2500 kids out of head start . cause 5,000 fewer kids to get vaccines and cut $823,000 from a program to help seniors get meals. speaker boehner, is that what really voters elected you to do? crack down on preschoolers and seniors who need to eat? folks, republicans will have a hard time selling these horrific cuts to people back home. but some may not have to. these cuts would also shut down the only airport in congressman paul ryan 's hometown of jamesville, wisconsin. i guess that's one way to avoid facing voters. make sure you can't get home from washington. joining me now is james peterson and jarrod burnstein. jarrod, these cuts seem bad no matter what party you're from. what's your analysis of this?
>> obviously, bad. for the economy, as you mentioned, remember -- you don't hear this enough. we have an unemployment rate that's already way too highly elevated, stuck at 8% overall for african-americans, much higher. and what does this kind of policy do? it takes an economy that's already not growing quickly enough and subtracts $85 billion of spending in 2013 . that shaves about half a percent off gdp growth . so whether we're talking about a macro level , the numbers i was citing, or a micro level , how this plays out on the ground, you know, poor families losing educational slots, head start slots, childcare slots, nutritional programs for women, infan infants and kids, absolutely the wrong time. this is a particularly terrible time for this kind of nonsense.
>> it's never a good time. fwh but this is particularly egregious. let me ask you dr. peterson , the president said something that i want to play you. i want to raise another point to you. he called out the gop for refusing to budge on these cuts. listen to what he says and then i want to ask you a question.
>> i know that some people in congress were effectively opposed any idea that i put forward, even if it's an idea they once supported. but rebuilding infrastructure is not my idea. it's everybody's idea. this town has to get past its obsession with focusing on the next election instead of the nextall elected officials and concerned about our politics in our party and the other parties. but at some point we got to do some governing.
>> professor peterson , i mean has the gop just given up on being a governing party and just say we're going to -- have they just given up altogether on being part of the governing and making this country work?
>> i'm not sure what the long term political gain of that, but it's clear that if this sequestration goes through on friday, it looks like it will, it's the beginning of an era of us astart austerit austerity in the united states . remember, this is such an abstract concept when put in place at the debt ceiling talks. it was literally put in place to force political figures to come to the table, to come to compromise and to make decision that's are benefit for the future of this country going forward. that has failed to happen and we have to look at the obstructionism that we see on the part of the republicans and at the end of the day , we have to really think is this the direction we want to go in as a nation? the cuts here are just too sloppily placed. there is nothing strategic about the sequester. that's why you see so much pain and different communities and different states. that's why you see governor's coming against it. the challenges here are many. and we need all hands on deck.
>> jarrett, when you look at me, we're talking about real people . forget republicans , democrats, forget the beltway. real people are going to have to deal with this. let's go out into america. let's go into the mainland america. cleveland, ohio, the " cleveland plain dealer " says spending cuts would be felt here as a headlinheadline louisville, kentucky and indiana would feel federal spending cuts from defense to parks. "new york newsday," $3 billion in sandy aid at risk. when the rubber meets the road, people are bracing for something that is totally unnecessary and unthinkable and on top of pain that they're already dealing with, i mean all politics is local. won't stories like this in some how, some way affect republicans ? can't they even hear their own constituents at home?
>> you know, very much hope so. it happens to be the case that 80% of civilian military employees have been and the department of defense are outside of washington. when you talk about something like 800,000 furloughs there, you're talking about precisely the cities across the country you just mentioned. one idea that i hear a lot of is as these cuts begin to be felt by real people as we're describing in our conversation, they'll get in touch with their members of congress and republicans will back down. but remember, you used a very important word here. you said something to the effect of an unnecessary manufactured crisis. remember, this is not the way governance is supposed to look, especially at a time when the economy is already too weak. so instead of thinking about how can we help things get better, they keep setting fiscal time on one after another. and by the way, this is not the beginning of awe strarausterity. we already lost over $100 billion in people's paychecks through the expiration of the payroll tax break this $85 billion in fiscal contraction is on part of that.
>> dr. peterson though, it is clear that the american people don't support these cuts in the areas they're talking about. when you look at the polls, 89% don't want to cut education. 84% don't want to cut disaster relief. 83% don't want to cut food or drug safety . 71% don't want to cut aid to the poor. these are not even close numbers. this is overwhelming majority of american people that don't want these cuts and these are the areas that will be cut starting friday if we don't overt this.
>> that's right. these cuts will take us to a 50-year lull in terms of government discretionary spending . they're not strategic. they don't even really address the areas that have to be addressed in terms of the long term economic challenges. so, for example, they're going to work on all these sort of -- they're going to furlough the civilian military personnel. that is not the part of the budget that needs to be addressed. it's defense contracts and other spending that needs to be addressed. they're talking about making the cuts in education and teachers, police and fire in some states. those are not the kind of cuts that we need to be making in terms of infrastructure and social safety net . we need to come up with something comprehensive about medicare and looks to the long term. its no the strategic enough. that's why we're feeling pain in all the different situations. at the end of the day , it's another reflection of our hour government is broken.
>> it is operating on the wrong part of the body. it's not even addressing where the ailment is. jack bernstein and james peterson , thank you for your time.
>> thank you.
>>> ahead, the sound of republicans agreeing? yes! agreeing with the president. that hot story is next.
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>>> and dream, drum roll please, please, please run the drum roll . the winner of the best drama goes to -- the right-wing! why the newest attack on michelle obama deserves an award for ignorance. big show coming. stay with us.