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Red stick figures
Harry Stein, associate director for Fiscal Policy at the Center for American Progress, lists four ways in which Republican austerity policy has gone over the edge:
  1. "This year’s Ryan budget cuts spending much more than past Ryan budgets." Last year, Ryan's budget proposed $1.049 trillion in 2014 dollars. This year, his budget proposes 10 percent less, an enormous cut from an already meager previous offer.
  2. "The House previously rejected spending levels similar to this year’s Ryan budget." Last year, House Republicans rejected the Republican Study Committee's budget proposal because they felt it was too severe. This year's budget, however, is almost as extreme as the RSC's previous budget, spending just 1.6 percent more.
  3. "Congress has already enacted massive spending cuts." Republicans are pushing austerity despite having already enacted massive spending cuts. Discretionary spending is already below 2008 levels, and the budget deficit is on track to be half what it was when Bush left office.
  4. "New austerity forces House appropriators to cut programs they previously supported." Here's a perfect example of a program that even conservative Republicans should be able to admit shouldn't be cut: The Advanced Research Projects Agency. Nonetheless, their budget cuts funding to $50 million, 75 percent below last year's levels. It's a perfect example of how their worship of austerity causes them to lose sight of the importance of things that were once non-controversial.

As Stein concludes, Republicans know their austerity bomb goes too far, otherwise they wouldn't have rejected the Republican Study Committee's spending plan last year. At this point, the only question is when they will stop pretending that they are willing to shut down the government to enact it.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 10:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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