SESSIONS’ STRIKING MYOPIA…. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has long been one of the chamber’s least impressive members, but his Washington Post op-ed today on fiscal issues is striking in its inanity. It’s almost as if the senator is trying to be unserious.
The far-right Alabamian has suddenly discovered the federal debt, and demands that President Obama show “strong leadership” to address it. That, in and of itself, is rather amusing — Sessions voted for massive tax breaks, two wars, and a massive expansion of Medicare, all of which was financed entirely through the deficit. Indeed, Sessions’ preferred policies added $5 trillion to the national debt in just eight years, and left a $1.3 trillion deficit for Obama to clean up in the midst of a global economic crisis.
In effect, Sessions is demanding Obama show “strong leadership” to fix the budget mess Sessions helped create, but wants none of the blame for.
But that’s not the funny part. This is.
Before the financial crisis of 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson reassured Americans that he had the “housing correction” under control and had “confidence in our capital markets and in their resilience.” Just a few months later, Paulson declared that our financial system was “on the verge of collapse” and that “we have not in our lifetime dealt with a financial crisis of this severity.”
For years, Washington officials played down the systemic risks behind the crisis while they pushed policies that hastened its arrival.
Today, we are again rushing in the wrong direction.
Last month, President Obama would agree to maintain current tax rates only if Congress would agree to increase federal deficit spending. We are headed toward a cliff, yet the president hits the accelerator.
It’s hard to navigate through Sessions’ confusion, but he seems to think the national debt — the one he personally helped make much worse — has pushed us to the brink of collapse, comparable to the conditions in 2008. With that in mind, Sessions is outraged that the president negotiated extended unemployment benefits, while Sessions and his party sought hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks, all of which they insisted be financed through the deficit and added to the debt.
The senator’s leaps of logic here are dizzying. Sessions is worried about the debt that he helped create. Late last year, he demanded tax breaks that made the debt worse. And now he’s incensed that Obama hasn’t done more to fix the problem.
The op-ed goes on to endorse British-style austerity measures, holding the debt limit hostage, and draconian, job-killing spending cuts. Indeed, it’s worth emphasizing Sessions wrote an entire op-ed about “economic policy,” but didn’t mention jobs or employment at all, as if job creation is simply not a priority for him, despite the 9.4% unemployment rate.
Sessions noted in his piece, “The Washington bubble has never been so thick.” Senator, something’s thick, but I’m afraid it’s not the Washington bubble.