Skip to comments.Embrace the Sequester
Posted on 02/22/2013 6:07:38 AM PST by Kaslin
Something odd happened a few months ago as I weighed the various aspects of the dreaded Sequester Monster, a creature vilified across party lines.
It is often true that if enough people in government say something is bad, there is a strong chance of redeeming qualities.
So my journey began. The only element of the sequester that bothered me in the least was military cuts. But my friends at the Institute for Policy Innovation properly observe that defense spending will not fall below 2007 levels, which were 75% above pre-9/11Pentagon budgets.
High enough for me? Of course not. I actually want to continue fighting wars against jihadists who will most assuredly continue to wage war on us. But alas, Barack Obama is President, and even if we manage to derail Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, we are not going to get Dick Cheney or John Bolton policies from this White House.
Future Congresses, hopefully peppered with a lot more Republicans, will be able to join with Obamas GOP successor to fill in any holes that might be dug in the near term.
The conservative overreaction to the defense spending cuts distracted from the overwhelming truth of the sequester: It is the only way we are going to take the first serious steps toward spending reductions.
Can there be any doubt about this?
Democrats are never serious about real spending cuts. Republicans say they are, but too rarely show real willingness to act accordingly.
So the feared sequester, hatched in the Obama White House itself, ironically becomes the only path to real cuts.
The administration is shell-shocked. Obama and the Democrats cannot believe they have not been able to further roll the GOP into agreeing to tax increases without any assurance of spending reductions.
But this rigid, do-nothing, obstructionist Republican Party has done exactly what it should do when outflanked by a Democrat White House and Senate: it has stood its ground and refused to buckle under the pressure of bad ideas.
As such, the sequester deadline ticks ever closer. The beads of sweat on Democrat foreheads are all you need to know that something wonderful is about to happen.
I do not universally follow a flow chart that says if Obama dislikes it, it must be a good thing. But on fiscal matters, that process rarely fails.
Witness the proud first responders gathered behind him Tuesday at a White House photo-op. They were brought in to scare the daylights out of Americans who are supposed to recoil at spending cuts because it will mean slashed police and fire personnel, as well as diminished food safety, airport security and a host of other hazards.
And make no mistake, if the sequester comes, with its thoroughly proper axe that forces politicians to do what they will not do on their own, this White House will punish us.
It will indeed cut things that protect Americans. Not because it has to, but because it wants to.
Barack Obama will tell the nation that the evil Republicans have done this to them. Those Republicans had better be ready, with examples of precise cuts that could have been made that would have endangered no one.
The administrations craven tactics will have to be put right back into its face. We will need strong, energetic messengers to fan out across the media landscape to tell the nation just what this regime did to make voters think spending cuts cannot happen without danger or pain.
With respect, that means Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell will need to take a seat while Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and others of similar energies grab the American people by the lapels to deliver the first clue millions of them will get about the depth of our fiscal crisis and what it takes to get out of it.
So, to summarize:
The sequester is not to be feared, it is to be embraced. In fact, after the cuts take effect from this one, it would be nice to engineer another one. And another after that.
Im through waiting for compromises that will never happen. Even if they did, they would be even more watered-down than the sequester cuts.
This whole drama cries out for context.
The first year of sequester cuts are about one-tenth of the $850 billion we flushed down the infamous stimulus toilet. Casting that money to the wind didnt seem to bring these levels of panic from the media culture that now dutifully echoes Obamas distaste for the sequester.
And for even further clarity, the roughly one trillion dollars in cuts over the next decade are measured against spending levels boosted by inflation forecasts and after exempted spending is factored back in, at totals actually higher than a trillion.
Yes, the argument can be made that these cuts, condemned as brutal by President Obama, may not in fact be cuts at all over the ten years to come.
Which brings us to the silliness of all of this sequester-mania. No one knows what will be happening in our nations budgets four years from now, or eight years from now, much less ten. Todays cuts, real or imagined, can be deepened or obliterated by future whims.
So we must focus on what we know today.
We know todays Washington is genetically incapable of even starting down the road of the spending cuts we need.
We know we have the gift of the sequester, which will cut some things we may not want cut, but provides the only hope of cutting countless other types of spending that must be reduced if we are to fiscally survive.
We know the Obama administration has now decided it hates the sequester. We also know this administration is hell-bent on destroying private wealth in order to build a European-style, neo-socialist society driven by obscene government spending that will turn us into Greece.
Case closed. Reach out for that March 1 deadline with confidence. The sequester is not without challenges, but it represents our first, best hope to take a few baby steps down the long, long road toward responsibility.
“The sequester is not to be feared, it is to be embraced. In fact, after the cuts take effect from this one, it would be nice to engineer another one. And another after that.”
Good, unless you consider gutting the military as a bad thing. You know the entitlements will keep on flowing while the things needed to support a healthy, vibrant country will be cut.
Why do conservatives feel compiled to support our bloated Pentagon and defense contractors? The USA hasn’t won a war since World War II. The military has degenerated into a liberal social justice experiment, as we now have women in combat and homosexual “wives” joining military wives groups. Many good Americans have been sacrificed in senseless conflicts as we claim to plant democracy in places that don’t want democracy.
Pres. Washington and Pres. Eisenhauer, our finest military leader presidents, warned the USA about “foreign entanglements” and the dangers of the “military-industrial complex”. We should have listened to their knowledgable advice.
If I may interject some additional information here, the cuts to the DoD will affect real people.
My husband, age 67 has not yet been able tiio retire due to the economy. He works for a defense contactor.
Employees must take a 22 day non paid furlough under the sequester. But it is not a three week unpaid vacation and then back to work.
The plan is to force employees to take a six month pay cut in the form of 22 weeks of four days work weeks. A pay cut just when prices are rising.
We are being forced into a pay cut over excessive spending we never wanted in the first place while the real culprits go free.
This will push our retirement even further out.
This article says that military spending will be 2007 levels. That’s not “gutting” the military. Maybe the article is wrong about asserting that sequester will take us to 2007 levels... or maybe I read it wrong. But if not, the sequester is just fine IMO.
It’s comical at times to see the very predictable reaction to slowing the rate of growth or even *gasp* actual cuts... stuck pigs. Like listening to unions if even a penny is taken from them. My gosh.
I am completely with you, and I contract for them!
Every Republican lawmaker, in every public statement, interview, etc., needs to start referring to this not simply as “Sequester”, but as “The Obama Sequester.” Obama acts as though he is simply a spectator in all of this, standing on the sidelines, with no ability to do anything about the situation. Thanks to his friends in the media, he’s getting away with it, with the public thinking it’s entirely the fault of the mean, evil Republicans. Obama is the President of the United States, the most powerful figure in our government - not some helpless spectator. The Republicans need to get the message out that the buck stops with Obama, not with them. It’s the “Obama Sequester.”
This will push our retirement even further out.
The new normal will soon include that, as well as people like you and me that will not be able to retire. That’s just what happens when the chickens come home to roost.
This is why elections actually matter. The rubber is meeting the road. The chickens are coming home to roost. The fat lady is about to sing.
Yes there are too many of us who are negatively affected - including me [5% of days have been furloughs for 5 years now and next year looks like 8%.] At least I have a job.
So you’re not alone. Nevertheless it has to happen. I just wish it was “happening” to those responsible for the irresponsible spending.
Elections have consequences -
Take your household budget and reduce it to 2007 levels. You won’t last long.
I am a Civil Service employee staring down the barrel of a %20 pay cut on top of squat for raises the last couple years.
I agree the military needs to lean up a bit (too many high price weapon systems). Cutting the pay of the workers should be last on their list.
I am sorry for your pain. However, at least he still has a job. Many of us took a pay cut in the last few years to KEEP our jobs. I am on straight commission. In 2008 and 2009 my income went down 50%. I have never had A PAID vacation in 26 years. Your husband chose to take a job dependent on the Federal Govt. Decisions have consequenses. Spending has to be cut across the board . NOT JUST THE PROPOSED INCREASES. My father inlaw just retired at 73. Consider yourself lucky.
As far as I am concerned the Sequester is only a good start. They should double it next time.
That's what everyone says when it's them. It's normal. It wasn't your fault gov't overspent and you have to suffer the consequences. I agree.
Again, elections have consequences. We're being taken advantage of by the very government that is responsible for the problem in the first place.
2007 levels would be more difficult than now for lots of reasons - less pay and higher prices. But it's not "gutting". Sorry I don't go for that. But it is harder.
Elections have consequences.
I must have seen 100 FReepers announce the outright loss of a job over the last 5 years.
I say bring on the sequester and then do it again and again and again!
Seriously! I guess we’re supposed to cry for all these beleaguered public ‘servants’ when there isn’t a single person I know employed in the private sector who hasn’t taken a double digit pay CUT from what they made 5 years ago.
We had to suck it up and deal with it, what the hell is so special about them that they can’t do the same? Because they thought they were smarter than everyone else by setting themselves up with a job working for Uncle Sugar?
It sounds like your husband's employer is using the sequester as an excuse to stick it to their employers. The actual cuts are nothing compared to the overall defense budget, but they're cuts to an already bloated budget so I completely support them.
The simple fact is that the less government (including contractors) the better. Paying for all this crap is killing the private sector.
Good, unless you consider gutting the military as a bad thing.
You could protect the country and even engage in a flat-out war for much less than the present budget. The cost of everything is higher because:
1. Purchases are spread like peanut butter across as many Senators districts as possible.
2. Defense allocations are on a year to year basis, not for the entire project. This means theres no investment in automation. Everything is practically a custom make one-off.
3. Contracts require ridiculous set-asides for special interest groups.
4. Contracts require ludicrous greenness.
5. Congress wrote laws requiring the taxpayers to pay for attorneys for special interest individuals and groups that feel wronged so they can sue a company without spending their own money or even having a legitimate case.
6. Contracts require ludicrous tests that go WAY beyond reasonable. (Why would you test 200 hammers to destruction?)
7. The military diddles in every phase of the contract thus increasing costs.
8. The military keeps moving the target for their own political reasons. (A fighter plane must now be a bomber, a recognizance platform and a be able to plow 40 acres for planting in 15 seconds.) And, they want all of that demonstrated with the first model. You just went from a five year development effort to 15 years and then its obsolete and gets cancelled.
9. Oh, I almost forgot, EOE. You must have a certain percentage of highly compensated black executives and engineers. (I have known some who pulled their weight. But most of the ones Ive known were there for decoration; sucking up charge numbers and contributing nothing. They usually head up the mandatory diversity program.)
The list goes on and on. But nothing will be done to correct these deficiencies because each deficiency has a constituency of its own who will argue loudly and persuasively (the Senator; money talks.)
I’m all for sequestering presidential vacations and congressional retirement funds.
Technically his employer is the Air Force and that is the way they are going to handle it.
i’ve been for “sequstration” for years, I just didn’t call it that. It is human nature it seems to spend what you make whether it is 20K or 200K and think you need every penny of it.
The sequester cuts are deliberately designed to cause the maximum amount of human pain, which will generate the human interest news stories that will pressure Republicans to cave.
It’s absolutely no different than the tactic PBS trots out every time their budget is threatened: put a gun to Big Birds head and say he’s going to be taken out first, rather than just cutting back on other areas.
If the GOP is smart they’ll have a list of alternative cuts to bloat ready to go, and will summon Obama Admin agency heads up to explain why they’ve chosen to cut in certain areas rather than others.
Senators don’t have districts. They have states.
I can’t wait for the sequester. Working in Baltimore where 49% of the population works for the government, it’s guaranteed to improve traffic.
After losing my private sector job to the Obama/Granholm economy, I have little sympathy for government workers, even friends in responsible government careers in the sequester. Big deal, they get furloughed once a week and have a pay cut.
I was given ten minutes notice that an 18 year career was ended...permanently. I had to move 600 miles away for a new job. I had to live apart from my family for 8 months.
The sequester will ultimately help the country. Bring it on.
Embrace the whole default process. The so-called economy is running mostly on debt and funny money.
I do not understand why a contractor would be subject to such terms, nor do I understand why they would choose to mirror such terms.
The local supervisers have not been able to tell the contractors how the sequester is going to affect them yet. If they have to take the furloughs it will be one day per week for 22 weeks.