The Sabotage Has Already Happened


Ezra wants recognition of the less obvious damage being done to America:

Spectacular crises aren’t the only way a political system can fail. A Congress that can’t avoid own-goals like sequestration, that can’t routinely legislate to address problems like aging infrastructure, and that misses opportunities like immigration reform will, over time, meaningfully harm the country’s growth prospects. And it will do so in a way that’s hard to notice, and thus hard to fix: People don’t much miss the three-tenths of a percentage point worth of growth they didn’t have that quarter. But compounded over time, it’s a disaster.

The shutdown has also impacted the mortgage and the home construction markets negatively. And the result of the default psycho-drama – by which I mean a drama badly choreographed by psychos – remains tight controls on discretionary spending via the sequester and still no long-term debt relief through any sort of coherent bipartisan bargain on taxes, defense and entitlements. Added to this has been the massive loss of public sector jobs, largely by Republican governors, that prolonged the recession and made Obama’s re-election less likely (see above from Calculated Risk). Beinart makes the point rather tightly:

In early September, a “clean” CR—including sequester cuts—that funded the government into 2014 was considered a Republican victory by both the Republican House Majority Leader and Washington’s most prominent Democratic think tank. Now, just over a month later, the media is describing the exact same deal as Republican “surrender.”

Drum highlights a Macroecomic Advisors report that details the economic consequences of recent US fiscal policy. Drum’s bottom line:

[T]he combined effect of past budget deals + sequester + fiscal cliff + debt ceiling crisis is probably a reduction of about half in our economic growth rate this year.

And one suspects that for some Republicans, that’s the point. Pure, spiteful sabotage of a presidency because they have no viable alternative to offer that could begin to command a majority of Americans.