Skip to comments.Sequestration Would Slow U.S. Response to Foreign Crises
Posted on 09/17/2012 8:19:40 AM PDT by SkyPilot
The Middle East is ablaze again, literally, and Israel is sending strong signals that it intends to attack Iran's nuclear complex with or without U.S. assistance. It would be nice to stay out of this latest round of regional violence -- most Americans have had their fill of foreign entanglements for the time being -- but sometimes circumstances don't afford us that luxury. If Iran responds to an Israeli air strike by trying to close the Strait of Hormuz, Washington will need to act.
Imagine, though, that the crisis came after across-the-board spending cuts triggered on January 2, pursuant to the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act. Or imagine that there is no crisis, just a need for the joint force to patrol the region more intensively next year to prevent another war. Where would the money come from with legislatively-mandated defense cuts in place? Congress always has the option of amending the budget law, but if the current session is any indication, it might have difficulty finding a majority in both chambers. Then what?
The issue here isn't whether the defense budget needs to be cut. Of course it does, if we are to get the deficit under control. But the way we go about doing the cutting will decide whether the Pentagon has the flexibility to respond to unforeseen challenges. The approach contained in the Budget Control Act is more like a straitjacket than the kind of loose-fitting framework that would allow policymakers to shift focus as needed. So no kidding, budget sequestration could make security challenges much harder to deal with after January 2.
Near as I can tell, there's no provision in the Budget Control Act for quickly escaping its strictures in a national emergency -- especially one that Congress is slow to acknowledge. The assumption seems to be that if something serious happens, legislators will understand the need to suspend sequestration provisions. Well don't count on it, because that something would have to be really huge to bring back emergency supplemental appropriations, and members might argue endlessly about whether lesser needs required legislative exertion. So maybe we'll just leave the Israelis to their fate, or decline to patrol the region more intensively until a "real" threat develops. As long as sequestration is the law, there might be no legal alternative.
THEN WHY DID THEY CREATE THIS MESS IF THEY NEVER WANTED TO BE HELD TO IT?!?!?!?
DO IT! ACROSS THE BOARD CUTS
The Republicans who bit off on the poison pill known as sequestration were hoodwinked and out maneuvered by the the Democrats. The Democrats walked into the "Super Committee" knowing they had already sabotaged it. They wanted the Pentagon cut by $55 Billion in real terms, essentially eviscerating our National Defense. In doing so, both the Republicans and the Democrats exemptedevery single give away entitlement program from cuts. The only exception is Medicare, which under sequestration reduces compensation to providers, which simply screws the medical professionals that essentially reduce actual human suffering. Everything else: Food Stamps, Social Security Disability, welfare, endless unemployment checks, you name it - all exempted.
The public doesn't care, because it does not know what is really about to happen. There won't be time to "fix" this in January, whoever wins the November elections.
If war breaks out, our nation will face a crisis of epic proportions. The only department Obama has really cut has been Defense, and already by the hundreds of billions. Even if war does not break out, we are already in great danger because our defense has been sacrificed on the altar of direct deposit entitlement checks for on half of our population.
As insane as it sounds, the Republicans really believed that the Democrats on the "Super Committee" would be adults and would compromise. They thought of sequestration as "too bad to really be implemented."
If sequestration happens, unemployment will skyrocket. Thousands of DoD jobs will be lost. Industry will lay off thousands. Our industrial base will take years to recover, if at all, in certain high tech DoD related industries. It is this type of innovation, foreign military sales, and the employment of engineers and skilled workers that helps keep a good portion of the economy afloat. Instead, the Democrats and Obama would prefer everyone subsisting on Food Stamps.
Romney, to his credit, has been speaking out on Obama's failure to lead us out of this impending crisis. He should keep it up, and hammer away.
Obama and Reid could solve this problem in an afternoon if they wanted to. The weeping Speaker of the House was almost there - agreeing to close some tax loopholes in order to get concessions from Obama on long term entitlement reform (which is the real issue breaking the back of this nation).
We now stand at a cliff - the Democrats want to raise taxes and hold the nation's security and economy hostage - and the Republicans feel they cannot act further.
So the Pentagon budget goes from what..... $700B to $650B? We can’t defend the country for $650 BILLION dollars a year?
Who cares...they can’t make a decent decision if their life depended on it.
Obama has only cut Defense in real terms. He and the Democrats initiated $487 Billion in cuts before sequestration. Thousands of jobs have already been cut, programs slashed, and contracts canceled.
The sequestration is on top of all of this, and represents an immediate 11% cut in Defense. Because sequestration takes place 1/4 through the current fiscal year, and the cuts are immediate - the DoD will have to slash Operations and Maintenance by massive proportions. No one knows how much (it could be 40%).
This is a disaster for our nation both economically and militarily.
I don't think there is any way to recover in the short term, even if Romney is elected. Obama and the Democrats have "accomplished" something that Conservative have long feared - they have broken the back of Defense.
I didn't know I was on the MSNBC forum.
these career politicians *really believed* that some of their brethren would commit political suicide by cutting their own pork, in order to save the bacon of their mortal enemies in the rin-o-p ???
the ones [boner and Ryan] that just so easily rolled over and then hyped this backroom deal as a major accomplishment to fiscal reform ???
if they trusted a politician to do the right thing, maybe that says more about their judgement and qualifications than any sound byte ever could...
Yes, It doesn't sound the least bit believable SO it probably IS NOT true at all, as Judge Judy ALWAYS says. But that is what Ryan and CO are claiming NOW because they have their fingerprints all over this piece of crap bill that they are demonizing now. Ryan praised it as ‘historic’ in his House floor vote speech. So much for Ryan's view of history.
The claim is so ridiculous that they (Ryan and CO) THOUGHT that Dems would LATER cut their own gravy train (and their voters votes) to protect Republicans gravy train (Defense spending) when Dems were saying ‘hell no’ at the time. Dems never wanted any spending cuts, they just wanted the debt limit increase. Why would they (later) possibly give in on spending to help Republicans out of the hole they themselves dug?
I feel insulted that they think we are that STUPID to believe this.
Recall that Boehner rammed this bill though the house twisting arms for R votes after crafting it in secret with Dems like Pelosi did with O-care.
"We are actually cutting spending when we do this. That's cultural. That's significant. That's a big step in the right direction. "
Paul Ryan: Bipartisan Budget Control Act Marks a Cultural Shift in Washington
No mention of being against any budget cuts in the bill back then.
More recently Paul Ryan on CBS FTN says he voted FOR the Budget Control Act but NOT FOR the defense cuts in the same Budget Control Act he voted for and praised, he said he was always against those ???
O'DONNELL: Congressman, these defense cuts are part of the Budget Control Act. You voted for the Budget Control Act. In fact I went and looked, you put on the a statement at the time it was passed and you called it a victory, and you called it a positive step forward.
So, you voted for defense cuts. And now you're criticizing the president for those same defense cuts that you voted for and called a victory.
RYAN: No, no, I have to correct you on this, Norah. I voted for a mechanism that says a sequester will occur if we don't cut $1.2 trillion spending in government. We offered $1.2 trillion in various — the super committee offered it. We passed in the House a bill to prevent those devastating defense cuts by cutting spending elsewhere. The senate's done nothing. President Obama’s done nothing.
I must disagree on your moral equivalency that Democrat protected entitlement programs are on par with national defense. One charge is in the Constitution, one is not. Moreover, less than 4% of our GDP now goes to defense, a historic low. We have become a nation of direct deposit worshipers.......political conservatives as well. I have seen long term Freepers sport the "Support our Troops!" banter in their posts in one breath, and then go ballistic about raising the retirement age for Social Security in the next. I guarantee you that when the next crisis comes (and it will), those Americans who never wore this nation's uniform will be pushing our military to the front of the line demanding we do something now!. Trust me.....I have lived through it time and time again.
Except it was Republicans that were demanding budget cuts in that bill that Ryan used to praise. Obama just wanted that money BEFORE the election and didnt care about the debt short term and so if stupid Republicans were willing to put a gun to their own voters heads with these delayed Defense cuts then Obama told them “You want cuts? Then cut your stuff” then Ryan called it historic after agreeing with it.
RE :”I must disagree on your moral equivalency that Democrat protected entitlement programs are on par with national defense. One charge is in the Constitution, one is not.”
The framers of the constitution had no way of knowing that the defense industry would become the massive money eating pork behemoth that it is. What did they round up money for muskets in that day?
And now you can hear Republicans talk about it ‘killing jobs’ repudiating all the anti-Keynesian ‘government spending kills jobs’ crap they threw out but never believed for two years.
It is very dishonest to claim that their whole plan assumed that Dems would later cut their own pork at their own political risk to dig Rs out of the hole they dug themselves with these delayed Defense cuts.
Elect SMARTER Republicans next time.
so if they agreed to the cuts to avoid a shutdown, why not just raise the debt ceiling w/o pushing the defense cuts to be included in the first place ???
wouldve been easier to tell me that we just wanted to avoid the bad press on the potential shutdown, rather than expect me to believe that they thought they could later barter a deal with the dems...
kabuki, nothing more...
Because they didn't have the votes, and the Republican leadership blinked. There was a deadline, and the "shutdown" would have been blamed on the GOP. You know this.
I am not defending what they did - in my mind, they wasted perhaps the only opportunity they would have ever had to control the out of control deficit.
You know how you do that? By shutting down entitlements for awhile, because that is the only way to get the public's attention.
So here is what I predict will happen: sequestration will occur, because it is too late to stop it. Defense will get gutted. Unemployment will go up perhaps 2% in real terms.
This morning, on Bill Bennett's radio show "Morning In America", a guest appeared discussing this very subject. Bill basically asked him how can President Obama justify gutting defense in light of how close the world is to open war, and Americans in many Muslim nations are at risk of being taken hostage or worse?
The guest gave his answer: Obama doesn't really care.
And that's it.
Obama doesn't care, Americans don't seem to care. As one poster said here: "Who cares?"
They will care when it all goes to pot, and then they will point fingers of blame.
But by then, the candle that supports our nation, and has protected her time and time again may be already extinguished.
You seem to have a real ax to grind against the defense industry and all it does. I say that because of the term you use: "pork." It is the ultimate smear term in politics. Nothing in government, with all the billions spent, is pure. If you want purity, look to Jesus Christ.
For the rest, you have to deal with the realities of a fallen world. But I will tell you this: I'll side with the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who have volunteered to be deployed 5 times in 8 years for low pay in hell holes of nations; along with the brilliance of American industry in the Boeings, Lockheeds, and Raytheons of our nation any day to the absolute sin that is welfare checks, entitlement checks, Section 8 housing, and useless appendages of government.
Are there abuses and overspending in defense. Sure, but not to the degree the media and the uninformed think. Our political leaders make demands on the military with mission after mission, and responsibility after responsibility that they would not dare give to your average useless bureaucrat.I have news for you: when sequestration kicks in, the useless bureaucrats are protected. No TSA agents feeling up your daughter or Dept of Education Diversity Clerks are going to be cut.
You keep seem to climbing the same mountain over again: A = B, and both cost a derivative of C, so therefore both A and B are to blame. In reality, A is not the same as B. Not in a moral foundation, purpose, origin, or destiny.
Our nation's might, security, standing, and economic vitality (what is left of it) rests upon the very foundation of military capacity. What we are rudely waking up to today is that our national might and purpose have been eroded severely under Obama. Don't think for a moment that if the rest of the world learns of our weaknesses they will not exploit them to the fullest.
When our military is gutted, it will affect our economic standing, both domestically and in the world.
That is something that liberals have never understood.
In many ways the defense industry is a ‘king of hill middle class welfare program’. They typically classify their raping of the taxpayer with programs 10s of billions of $$$ producing crap but some stuff leaks out to the press anyway (here anyway) and it is disgusting. Naturally they try to prosecute those reporting the crimes to the public. Many of the programs are just congressional pork to local voters. No real industry could survive the way they do business.
As far as defense vs welfare goes, Boehner Ryan and CO rammed through the R house that debt limit bill WITH those defense cuts that totally exempted all those welfare programs you cite, yes that's right. They (Ryan and CO) rammed through a bill that cuts your Golden Calve defense pork (and important Defense stuff with it too) while totally protecting the moochers :‘welfare checks, entitlement checks, Section 8 housing’ etc, that you voice such resentment for.
You damn your own case.
I am not defending what they did - in my mind, they wasted perhaps the only opportunity they would have ever had to control the out of control deficit.
the way i recall it, boner made passage difficult because of the defense cuts and hands off approach to entitlements...thats why they had to go all *closed doors* and bribe/arm twist the 'R's to get the votes...
the blink you mention, also seemed to be the fact that the dems asked for/demanded the debt ceiling be raised, and boner tried to bluff with a shutdown instead of just signing off on the limit and being done, thus causing this whole fustercluck...
we all agree that defense is one of a very few things that the fed is supposed todo, and we live in a dangerous world too...BUT...theres a helluva lot of graft/waste and outright fraud and vote buying built into DOD that could be sorely used to better equip and prepare our warriors and their missions...
sadly, the House just keeps on allocating funds for everything else un Constitutional, while our troops are being used up...