Friday, March 1, 2013

The End is Near!!!


At last, that is what the Obama administration proclaims.

According to its version of “Judgment Day,” the implementation of the sequester will result in catastrophic consequences for our economy. Even some Republicans, critical of the President's intransigence  agree with him on this point.

And almost everyone agrees that the sequester is no way to approach the national budget

The first point to note, however, it that the sequester originated in the White House. As Bob Woodward demonstrated, the idea was the brainchild of presidential adviser Jack Lew. The White House conceived it as a deterrent against continued stalemates over the budget. The idea was that across the board cuts in domestic programs would move Social Democrats to compromise and that similar cuts in defense spending would move Republicans to compromise. In addition, when President Obama denied this, Woodward in effect called him out as a liar. Only later Jim Carney confirmed Woodward's account.

Second, the sequester proposed to cut only $85 from a $6 trillion budget. Because some of this budget contains future expenditures, the sequester will only reduce spending by $44 billion this fiscal year. That is about two cents on each dollar.

Third, the Obama administration deliberately misrepresents the possible consequences of the sequester the furlough of air traffic controllers and the subsequent paralysis of air travel, laying off of teachers, the closing of Headstart programs, and the return of aircraft carriers to their naval bases. If those are the decisions that the Obama administration makes when it prioritizes spending, then it is more incompetent than we imagined.

Finally, Republicans who agree that the sequester will harm the economy need to step back and ask themselves why this is so. Republicans generally argue that much of government spending—especially that contained in the various stimulus packages—does little to stimulate the economy. If this is so, they why will cutting such spending hurt the economy?

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