GREAT EDITORIAL COMMENTS BY ROBERT KUTTNER. LIKE ME, HE'S BEEN WONDERING WHAT IN THE HELL IS PRESIDENT OBAMA DOING APPEARING WITH JEB BUSH, CROWING ABOUT THEIR JOINT VIEWS ON EDUCATION, WHILE THE NATION'S WORKING PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR ECONOMIC LIVES
? ROBERT KUTTNER: WINNING THE PRESENT
How lunatic-fringe do the House Republicans have to be on budget cuts before President Obama starts calling them out on their plans? Evidently, they still have a ways to go, because the administration has been mostly silent on the sheer perversity of the Republican cuts.
The cuts proposed in the House budget would devastate spending on everything from Headstart (157,000 eligible kids denied services) to Pell grants (a 25 percent cut) and dozens of other programs including job training, energy assistance, safe food and clean water.
On paper, the Republicans would cut discretionary spending by "only" 14.3 percent, but since the fiscal year will be more than half over by the time the cuts become official, the actual cuts would be fully one-fourth -- a staggering cut for any program to bear and an insane economic idea during a severe downturn. These cuts have nothing to do with reasonable fiscal policy; they are pure ideological retribution against government.
You would think that at some point, President Obama would be pointing to the recklessness of these proposals in a still soft economy. But instead, the president has doubled down on his bipartisanship.
Last Friday, in Miami, President Obama could found be sharing the spotlight with former Florida governor Jeb Bush, crowing about their shared views on educational reform.
Obama declared in his weekly address:
I'm talking with you from Miami, Florida, where I'm visiting Miami Central High School, a school that's turning itself around on behalf of its kids. And I came here with Jeb Bush, former governor of this state, because he and I share the view that education isn't a partisan issue -- it's an American issue.
In other words, with Republicans slashing everything from Pell Grants to Headstart, there are no partisan differences on education. So why bother to have an election? Why bother to have two parties? Why not just give up and embrace the Republican budget?
What White House political geniuses dreamed up the idea of a joint presidential appearance with Jeb Bush? Evidently the same strategists who still think that voters care about bridging partisan differences more than they care about substantive progress to end the economic slump and to restore economic opportunity.