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The manufactured crisis of sequester

Posted by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM
  • 20 Replies
1 mom liked this
The manufactured crisis of sequester
By George F. Will, Published: FEBRUARY 22, 7:44 PM ET
Aa
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”

As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!

The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”

“Forced”? The Navy did indeed cite the sequester when delaying deployment of the USS Truman. In the high-stakes pressure campaign against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, U.S. policy has been to have two carriers in nearby waters. Yet the Navy is saying it cannot find cuts to programs or deployments less essential than the Truman deployment. The Navy’s participation in the political campaign to pressure Congress into unraveling the sequester is crude, obvious and shameful, and it should earn the Navy’s budget especially skeptical scrutiny by Congress.

The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.

The sequester’s critics correctly say it is not the most intelligent way to prune government; priorities among programs should be set. But such critics are utopians if they are waiting for the arrival of intelligent government. The real choice today is between bigger or smaller unintelligent government.

Obama, who believes government spends money more constructively than do those who earn it, warns that the sequester’s budgetary nicks, amounting to one-half of 1 percent of gross domestic product, will derail the economy. A similar jeremiad was heard in 1943 when economist Paul Samuelson, whose Keynesian assumptions have trickled down to Obama, said postwar cuts in government would mean “the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.”

Federal spending did indeed shrink an enormous 40 percent in one year. And the economy boomed.

Because crises are government’s excuse for growing, liberalism’s motto is: Never let a crisis go unfabricated. But its promiscuous production of crises has made them boring.

Remember when, in the 1980s, thousands died from cancers caused by insufficient regulation of the chemical Alar sprayed on apples? No, you don’t because this alarming prediction fizzled. Alar was not, after all, a risk.

Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”

Today, while Obama prepares a governmental power grab to combat global warming, sensible Americans, tuckered out with apocalypse fatigue, are yawning through the catastrophe du jour, the sequester. They say: Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the hamsters of sequestration.

Again - on mobile so can't post link. Cuts definitely need to happen in the government but it shouldn't be in the form of furlough. There are so many other things that can be cut to include entire agencies that are just redundant.
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by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM
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Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I don't want to make a new post so I will post this here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34227_162-57570678/sequestration

(MoneyWatch) The package of mandated federal spending cuts known as the "sequester" is only days away. Here's a primer on what that means and how it might affect you.

What is "sequestration"? By definition, sequestration is "a legal writ authorizing a sheriff or commissioner to take into custody the property of a defendant who is in contempt until the orders of a court are complied with." The word is derived from British law and amounts to the act of taking someone's property until a debt has been paid.

In the U.S., budget laws allow the executive branch to "undo" congressional appropriations with small, across-the-board spending cuts. In its current use, sequestration amounts to $1.2 trillion in across-the-board government spending cuts scheduled to occur over the next decade.

How did the spending cuts come about? In August 2011, lawmakers fought over raising the debt ceiling, which is the government's borrowing limit. Republicans would not agree to increase the debt ceiling unless there was a plan to immediately reduce the nation's debt.

To end the impasse, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to the Budget Control Act (BCA), which allowed for an additional $2.4 trillion in borrowing in exchange for a similar amount of deficit reduction over the next decade. Of that amount, $900 billion was to be achieved through spending caps affecting all government functions outside of entitlement programs.

The balance of the cuts would be determined by the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, a bipartisan committee charged with finding a way to slash the nation's government spending by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

This so-called supecommittee had a big incentive to come up with a plan: If they could not come to an agreement, there would be a trigger: sequestration, or automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade coming equally from domestic and defense spending.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, "bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate voted for the threat of sequestration as a mechanism to force Congress to act on further deficit reduction. The specter of harmful across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense programs was intended to drive both sides to compromise. The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented."

That threat didn't work. Because the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, the automatic spending cuts were set to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. However, as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, sequestration was delayed until March 1. There was hope that the cuts would be replaced by a more nuanced plan, but such a plan has yet to materialize.

How much will be cut in 2013? The sequester would cut government spending by an average of $109 billion over the next 10 years. But the last-minute fiscal cliff deal included cuts of $24 billion for 2013, so in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year the government must come up with $85 billion in cuts.

Where will the spending cuts occur? The cuts will occur in the Defense Department, which will see 13 percent cuts (uniformed military personnel would be exempt), and in "discretionary" programs (those that don't have earmarked funds), which will see cuts of roughly 9 percent. Under the rules of sequestration, cuts must be applied to all programs, without regard to whether a particular service is seen as essential.

In addition to government contractors and grant recipients, who will likely see cuts, here are are some examples of government employees who will be subject to a furlough and/or layoffs:

-- Most of the Pentagon's civilian personnel (800,000 employees) will give up one day a week for more than five months

-- Airport security screeners, customs agents and air traffic controllers would face a day of furlough every two weeks

-- FBI employees, including special agents

-- U.S. Agriculture Department food safety inspectors

-- Homeland Security border agents

-- Social Security temporary workers

Will Medicare be cut? Yes, the government-run health care program for seniors would face a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to providers and insurance plans, which amounts to a reduction of $11 billion next year.

What programs won't be cut? Social Security, Medicaid, supplemental security income, refundable tax credits, the children's health insurance program, the food stamp program and veterans' benefits. Active-duty military personnel would be exempt from the cuts.

How will sequestration affect the economy? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cuts could reduce public- and private-sector employment by 750,000 jobs in 2013 and reduce GDP by 0.5 percent.

Where do the parties stand? While both Republicans and Democrats agree that sequestration is a bad way to run the nation's finances, for now there seems to little appetite for a new round of deal making before the March 1 deadline.

Republicans insist that a deal not raise taxes, even if such increases are offset by closing tax loopholes. GOP leaders would replace cuts in defense with other cuts to mandatory programs, like food stamps, children's health insurance and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats favor reducing the federal deficit with half the reduction coming from revenue increases and half from spending cuts. The president also has expressed support for reforming the personal and corporate tax code, mostly by eliminating deductions and tax credits claimed by the wealthiest Americans.

What's the next key deadline after sequestration takes effect? On paper, the government runs out of money March 27, although it has ways to continue funding itself beyond that date.

stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM
1 mom liked this

While I agree with the sentiment on the heels of a possible European default consideration I wonder if they have weighed on that option.

punky3175
by Punky on Feb. 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM
1 mom liked this
Thanks for posting this. Very good information.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I don't want to make a new post so I will post this here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34227_162-57570678/sequestration

(MoneyWatch) The package of mandated federal spending cuts known as the "sequester" is only days away. Here's a primer on what that means and how it might affect you.

What is "sequestration"? By
definition, sequestration is "a legal writ authorizing a sheriff or
commissioner to take into custody the property of a defendant who is in
contempt until the orders of a court are complied with." The word is
derived from British law and amounts to the act of taking someone's
property until a debt has been paid.

In the U.S., budget laws
allow the executive branch to "undo" congressional appropriations with
small, across-the-board spending cuts. In its current use, sequestration
amounts to $1.2 trillion in across-the-board government spending cuts
scheduled to occur over the next decade.

How did the spending cuts come about? In
August 2011, lawmakers fought over raising the debt ceiling, which is
the government's borrowing limit. Republicans would not agree to
increase the debt ceiling unless there was a plan to immediately reduce
the nation's debt.

To end the impasse, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to the Budget Control Act (BCA),
which allowed for an additional $2.4 trillion in borrowing in exchange
for a similar amount of deficit reduction over the next decade. Of that
amount, $900 billion was to be achieved through spending caps affecting
all government functions outside of entitlement programs.

The balance of the cuts would be determined by the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction,
a bipartisan committee charged with finding a way to slash the nation's
government spending by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

This
so-called supecommittee had a big incentive to come up with a plan: If
they could not come to an agreement, there would be a trigger:
sequestration, or automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next
decade coming equally from domestic and defense spending.

According to the Office of Management and Budget,
"bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate voted for the
threat of sequestration as a mechanism to force Congress to act on
further deficit reduction. The specter of harmful across-the-board cuts
to defense and non-defense programs was intended to drive both sides to
compromise. The sequestration itself was never intended to be
implemented."

That threat didn't work. Because the
supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, the automatic spending cuts
were set to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. However, as part of the
"fiscal cliff" negotiations, sequestration was delayed until March 1.
There was hope that the cuts would be replaced by a more nuanced plan,
but such a plan has yet to materialize.

How much will be cut in 2013?
The sequester would cut government spending by an average of $109
billion over the next 10 years. But the last-minute fiscal cliff deal
included cuts of $24 billion for 2013, so in the remaining seven months
of this fiscal year the government must come up with $85 billion in
cuts.

Where will the spending cuts occur? The cuts
will occur in the Defense Department, which will see 13 percent cuts
(uniformed military personnel would be exempt), and in "discretionary"
programs (those that don't have earmarked funds), which will see cuts of
roughly 9 percent. Under the rules of sequestration, cuts must be
applied to all programs, without regard to whether a particular service
is seen as essential.

In addition to government
contractors and grant recipients, who will likely see cuts, here are are
some examples of government employees who will be subject to a furlough
and/or layoffs:

-- Most of the Pentagon's civilian personnel (800,000 employees) will give up one day a week for more than five months

-- Airport security screeners, customs agents and air traffic controllers would face a day of furlough every two weeks

-- FBI employees, including special agents

-- U.S. Agriculture Department food safety inspectors

-- Homeland Security border agents

-- Social Security temporary workers

Will Medicare be cut?
Yes, the government-run health care program for seniors would face a 2
percent cut in Medicare payments to providers and insurance plans, which
amounts to a reduction of $11 billion next year.

What programs won't be cut?
Social Security, Medicaid, supplemental security income, refundable tax
credits, the children's health insurance program, the food stamp
program and veterans' benefits. Active-duty military personnel would be
exempt from the cuts.

How will sequestration affect the economy? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cuts could reduce public- and private-sector employment by 750,000 jobs in 2013 and reduce GDP by 0.5 percent.

Where do the parties stand?
While both Republicans and Democrats agree that sequestration is a bad
way to run the nation's finances, for now there seems to little appetite
for a new round of deal making before the March 1 deadline.

Republicans
insist that a deal not raise taxes, even if such increases are offset
by closing tax loopholes. GOP leaders would replace cuts in defense with
other cuts to mandatory programs, like food stamps, children's health
insurance and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats favor
reducing the federal deficit with half the reduction coming from
revenue increases and half from spending cuts. The president also has
expressed support for reforming the personal and corporate tax code,
mostly by eliminating deductions and tax credits claimed by the
wealthiest Americans.

What's the next key deadline after sequestration takes effect? On paper, the government runs out of money March 27, although it has ways to continue funding itself beyond that date.

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BoysManDog
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Not really good information as the CBS article uses the false descriptor:  CUTS.

There will be no "cuts."  All this is is a reduction in the projected increase in spending.  The government will STILL continue to grow.  They will STILL continue to spend.  There will still be spending increases. 

Quoting punky3175:

Thanks for posting this. Very good information.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I don't want to make a new post so I will post this here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34227_162-57570678/sequestration-q-a/#postComments

Billiejeens
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM
Quoting BoysManDog:




It is a main stream media outlet reporting for the dumb masses.

They have no intention, or incentive to explain it accurately.


punky3175
by Punky on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM
3 moms liked this
Then please - explain it accurately since you have such a great grasp on it.

Quoting Billiejeens:
Quoting BoysManDog:


It is a main stream media outlet reporting for the dumb masses.

They have no intention, or incentive to explain it accurately.
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Billiejeens
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting punky3175:




There are no cuts.

It's that simple.

My husband was going to buy a new F150 today, he decided not to.

Buying the truck would have added $500.00 to our monthly bills by not buying the truck we just cut $500.00 From our budget, except that we didn't.
Billiejeens
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Quoting punky3175:




I actually like that you and Triple V have come to terms with the idea that it is a manufactured crisis, my criticism was simply with the "cuts" term.

It's a false term, and we gotta get around that.

punky3175
by Punky on Feb. 23, 2013 at 4:30 PM
1 mom liked this
Ok - I see what you are saying now.

Quoting Billiejeens:

Quoting punky3175:






There are no cuts.



It's that simple.



My husband was going to buy a new F150 today, he decided not to.



Buying the truck would have added $500.00 to our monthly bills by not buying the truck we just cut $500.00 From our budget, except that we didn't.

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momtimesx4
by Silver Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 4:52 PM
1 mom liked this

Just let it happen and shut it all down...see how people will react, adjust and continue on.

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