I can hear you all scratching your heads right now. What the hell is a Mfecane? I first learned about this major event in 19th Century native African history by reading James Michener's The Covenant, and the images presented within that novelized description exceed those of modern-day Darfur. To keep it somewhat short and simple, think of it as a societal purge by a self-defined chosen people conducting ethnic cleansing of "undesirables" in seeking their version of Lebensraum. To ensure that the job was completed, they also resorted to scorched-earth tactics to prevent any rival group rising and threatening their hegemony.
A case for a similar motivation in strategy could be made for today's Republicans. Their slash-and-cut budget reductions are as single-minded and ruthless as the policies followed by these native Africans, and will prove to be equally as heedless of the obvious consequences. Allow me to detour into history again – a bit more recently this time – to set the stage.
For a few decades now, the UK has regularly led the US in experiencing major societal changes, among them the rise of Maggie Thatcher and her anti-union Mfecane – a direct predecessor by two years of Ronald Reagan's administration. There have also been things that happened first in the US before erupting in the UK, such as the collapse of banking due to fraudulent mortgages, but these influences aren't as common. The frequent parallels are close enough that it isn't even a surprise anymore when it happens. Such a major change has just occurred in the UK which will also happen here in the US, because the first signs have just emerged.
Just six months ago, David Cameron led the Conservatives to electoral victory on a platform which closely parallels that of the Republican Party: toss all but the wealthy over the side so that the wealthy can enjoy major tax cuts. The process went much faster in the UK for reasons that aren't germane to my premise, so the UK supporters of this self-serving strategy are now in position to realize the consequences of that set of actions.