Cuts and consequences

CUTS AND CONSEQUENCES…. The latest Gallup data offers predictable results: Americans just love the idea of spending cuts. That’s what polls always say, right up until Americans are asked for specifics, at which point spending suddenly becomes quite popular.

Still, a national poll bolstering the GOP line will likely embolden Republicans on Capitol Hill, who’ll now likely be even more obstinate en route to a government shutdown next week.

One wonders, though, what the polls would show if the public understood the effects of these cuts on the larger economy.

An independent analysis from Goldman Sachs this week found that the House Republican spending plan, if approved, would likely push the U.S. economy back towards a recession, shaving up to 2% GDP in the second and third quarters of 2011.

And what if there’s a compromise, and Republicans only get, say, half of the cuts they’re demanding? Goldman Sachs’ analysis found that would likely cut economic growth rates by 1% of GDP. That’s a major difference.

Pat Garofalo and WonkRoom helped add some additional context.

This would be a significant drop, as analysts only expect growth of four percent over those quarters. And as CAP economist Adam Hersh pointed out:

“From the rule of thumb ‘Okun’s Law,’ a 2 percent increase in GDP is associated with a 1 percent decrease in the unemployment rate. Based on this relationship, the Republican CR could cause unemployment to shoot from 9 percent up to 9.7-10 percent.” […]

Earlier this month, the Economic Policy Institute released a report finding that the $100 billion in discretionary spending cuts that the House GOP passed last weekend would result in the loss of nearly one million jobs. “Cuts of this magnitude will undermine gross domestic product performance at a time when the economy is seeing anemic post-recession growth,” wrote EPI’s Rebecca Theiss.

I don’t doubt that Republicans would dispute these numbers, but that’s part of what I find most interesting about the budget fight: the GOP isn’t disputing these numbers. Instead, it’s ignoring them. It’s as if economic growth and job creation simply doesn’t matter to Republicans anymore.

I’d genuinely love to see economic projections from the House GOP, detailing exactly what Boehner, Cantor, & Co. expect to happen if their cuts are approved. But there are no such projections; there is no competing data; there haven’t even been hearings to explore any of this in any detail.

The Republican line on this has all the sophistication of Tarzan dialog: cuts good, spending bad, deficit bad, jobs unimportant.

Thanks again, midterm voters, for electing children to run the House of Representatives.