Here’s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), arguing that sequestration cuts are dangerous:
And here’s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) yesterday, complaining that it’s irresponsible to say that sequestration cuts are dangerous:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday blasted President Obama for touring around the country “scaring people, creating havoc” instead of working on a replacement for the sequester. […]
Cantor said Obama’s warnings ignore the fact that discretionary federal spending will be cut to 2009 levels when the $85 billion in cuts begin on Friday. But he said the federal government was able to provide many of these services in 2009.
“Was the food not inspected? Because that’s what the claim is. That somehow if we were to reduce spending at all we couldn’t have food inspectors,” he said. “Did we have any border patrol agents in 2009? Of course we did.”
I know Cantor often struggles with the basics of public policy, but no one is saying food inspections and border patrol will simply cease to be. Rather, the point is, Republican budget cuts are going to force reductions – there will be fewer food inspectors and border-patrol agents doing their jobs because their budgets were indiscriminately slashed.
But even putting that aside, Cantor’s contradiction reinforces a larger point: the GOP has absolutely no idea what it wants to say about sequestration. The Majority Leader offers an extreme example – few have gone quite as far as Cantor to say the sequester is both dangerous and not dangerous at the same time – but he’s not the only one struggling with coherence.
As best as I can tell, the latest Republican message is this: the sequester is a terrible idea, which President Obama came up with, which will slash key investments, which is a great idea, which Republicans have championed. The policy will both help and hurt the economy, strengthen and weaken national defense, and hurt domestic priorities while leaving them unaffected.
Thank goodness we have policy wonks like Eric Cantor to help the public straighten this out.