The thing I most fear is a degeneration of society into the new feudalism. To paraphrase my source (below) it may be tedious to just keep repeating, over and over, that this is where Austerians, Rethugs, and Tea Party buffoons are taking us. But this is the dominant political trend in the country this century, and when the dominant political events consist of overwhelming, repeated drives toward feudalism, there's not much to do but keep futily pointing out how feudal it is. (Or as the greatly-missed Molly Ivens reminded us, IIRC: "Keep rattling the pots and pans.")
Alas, in the real world there is no effective counter to the legerdemain of unicorn-riders like the sainted Ayn Rand, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan (possibly shorted to Ayn-Ryan?) There is no Riddikulus! counter spell to ward off the budget-cutting insanity. These cuts not only shrink economic activity directly, they also diminish the future by curtailing programs with paybacks that often go far beyond dollar for dollar. This includes proposed (or perhaps real, since I don't know the details of the the bridge CR) cuts to the research programs at the National Institutes of Health.
And for what? Once again, and for the umpteenth time: the United States faces a serious debt problem on the order of trillions of dollars over a 20- to 30-year time frame. This debt problem is overwhelmingly driven by rising Medicare and Medicaid spending due to rapid cost inflation in the medical sector. Other significant budget problems include a substantial but demographically limited increase in Social Security expenditures, and immense and spectacularly wasteful defence spending. The final serious budget issue is that American taxes are set at a level that remains several per cent of GDP lower than expenditures throughout the business cycle, a problem either created or severely exacerbated by the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Every other federal spending category apart from the ones I have mentioned is, from the point of view of our debt problem, trivial, and cutting any other category has a negligible effect on the debt. Cutting peer-reviewed research funding in order to generate trivial savings that will have no measurable effect on the debt problem is just ridiculous.It may be tedious to just keep repeating, over and over, that these cuts are ridiculous. But they're the dominant political event in the country this spring, and when the dominant political event consists of overwhelming, repeated ridiculousness, there's not much to do but keep pointing out how ridiculous it is.
As the unidentified author points out above, there is another side to the budget - revenues, if you recall. By simply closing corporate tax loop holes, rolling back individual tax rates to the Clinton levels, and removing the ceiling from Social Security payments we would come very close to eliminating all the budget problems, and also take a couple of small steps toward reducing the wide and growing wealth disparity that is a key enabler for feudalism to take hold. But neither party has any willingness - or even awareness - that the revenue side holds the most sensible solutions for the current difficulties.