Government Shutdown Ended, Austerity Drive Lives On

The government shutdown is over, but the drive for austerity endures.

President Obama, early Thursday morning, signed a bill passed by both chambers of Congress on Wednesday that reopened the federal government and raised the nation’s borrowing limit, ending a more than two-week showdown in Washington that received near-constant media attention.

The Senate passed the measure with an 81-18 vote and the GOP-controlled House of Representatives followed with a 285-144 vote. In the House, 87 Republican joined all Democrats members who voted in favor, while 144 GOP members voted against.

Despite the end of the dramatics, however, progressive commentators note that no victories can be claimed in the political fight and warn that even with government workers back on the job Thursday and the threat of default now subsided, the painful austerity policies that have ruled Washington economic policy in recent years—including across-the-board spending cuts known as ‘sequestration’ and the continued push for further cuts to key social programs—remain dangerously front and center for lawmakers in both major parties. Such misguided policies, they claim, will continue to burden the economy with recession-like unemployment and make a true financial recovery for millions of middle class and working poor Americans impossible.

With or without the bipartisan deal, says Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute, the “larger crisis is the extraordinary degree of spending-side austerity” which has been embraced in Washington since 2009.

Click Here: cheap Cowboys jersey

“In fact,” Bivens says, “this extreme cutback in public spending can entirely explain why the recovery from the Great Recession has been so sluggish compared to recoveries following previous recessions.”