"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." – Somerset Maugham
If you haven't been reading my work for the last year and couple months, you know that I've been discussing the spectre of Sequestration for a while now. It's become quite popular, suddenly, but amazingly, not a peep about it was discussed by either candidate in the entire run up to the election.
Let's pretend you don't know that Sequestration was the cop-out to negotiation between the Democrats (Government isn't big enough to solve every problem) and the Republicans (the Government could be a 'little' bit smaller, unless my constituents are involved) when kicking the can during the debt ceiling 'debate'. Theater is a better word than debate, but I don't like getting bogged down in semantics.
So these 'automatic', 'across the board' cuts were to placate the Tea Party People, and reduce the growth of the government by 10% - which instead of rolling up their sleeves and performing vertical banded gastroplasty on the morbidly obese Congressional continuing resolutions - (Reminder, there hasn't been a Budget since 2009 when Nancy Pelosi lost her gavel) they decided a nice trim would do the trick.
Now, it's armageddon.
Well, if you listen to NPR All Things Considered, it is. Airplanes will fall out of the sky, your food will be poisoned, children will be picked up out of Head Start kindergarten classes and kicked out to the curb, and seniors will starve to death because they won't get their meals on wheels.
Let's go over the reality, for just a second. It's not popular to do that, but I write for Blasphemes.blogspot.com. I don't have a lot of friends to lose anyways.
Sequestration will make cuts for 9 years. 2013 through 2021. Hypothetically. That's a savings of $1.2 Trillion, yes, with a T. It was intended, when originally proposed by the White House to reduce the rate of increased spending by only 2%. Republicans called the bluff and figured that any cuts vs smart cuts would be better than nothing. It's assumed that it wasn't a bluff but a ruse set by one rascally rabbit for Elmer Fudd in the Senate and Yosemite Sam in the House. I'm sure that once seeing the federal debt hitting 15 Trillion then, and 16.6 Trillion now wouldn't hurt them, politically. Never mind, there's still no real budget, and ignoring the lack of Constitutionality of this whole mess - they went along, like so many other classic Warner Brother's Looney Tunes.
A quick reminder, since there has NOT been a budget in four years (despite the law requiring it) - these are planned spending items - not the baseline budget items. Baseline isn't zero, it's based on last year's spending. What it comes down to is that since Congress hasn't done it's job, it's given up their power to play with money, and have given it to the Executive Branch.
Hold on, isn't Mr. Obama spreading fear and intimidation about the cuts that will starve granny and force millions of toddlers to blind ignorance for the rest of their lives? If he's got the purse strings, what's going to get cut? You're going to suggest that the TSA will actually have a reduction in naked body scanners? Well, maybe he'll have to buy 99 of them instead of the planned 100. Well, that's nearly as ambiguous as the discussion of "Jobs Saved" by the stimulus. Bottom line - we're talking about "discretionary" spending, of 500 Billion on defense and 700 Billion non. Medicare, Social Security, and everything else is not touched, reformed, or discussed. It's the petty cash drawer.
What it's going to come down to are the priorities set by the President himself - no one else. If Elmer and Sam figure out how to turn this one around, they can educate folks on which pet programs Mr. Obama favors, over those that he doesn't.
Don't worry, the Executive Branch has old Chicago Machine Bosses on the payroll. They'll take out Elmer and Sam and then find a way for them to blame each other for another fine mess the other one has gotten themselves into.
Numbers come from ideamoneywatch.com