Rescinding the Cuts to Veterans’ Pensions Was In the Cards From the Start

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December’s budget deal between Paul Ryan and Patty Murray included a bit of relief from the 2011 sequestration cuts, with the relief split evenly between domestic and military budgets. That even split was one of the guiding principles of the deal. But part of the military relief was paid for by $7 billion in cuts to veterans’ pensions, something that immediately prompted a storm of protest and, eventually, a move to rescind the cuts. Jared Bernstein comments:

True, that’s not huge bucks in the scheme of things. But the violation of this budget principle should not be taken lightly. A key point of the budget machinations that brought us to where we are today is that automatic spending cuts should be split between evenly between defense and non-defense (forget for a moment, that it’s not the discretionary side of the budget that’s responsible for our longer term fiscal challenges anyway). If Congress starts stealing from domestic programs to boost defense, it will unfairly and unwisely exacerbate already unsustainable pressures on domestic spending.

I’d take a slightly different lesson from this: Democrats got snookered. Only a little bit, and they knew they were being played, but they still got snookered. It was obvious from the start that cuts to veterans’ benefits would be unpopular and unlikely to stand, but Democrats agreed to them anyway in order to get the budget deal across the finish line. Maybe that was the right thing to do, but it was no accident. They did it with their eyes wide open.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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