The Politics Behind The Sequestration Panic

The President is clearly demagoguing an idea that was initiated by him and his administration – no matter how hard the left flogs the meme that this was a Republican idea, the fact is that Obama agreed to it and in November of 2011, drew a dark line that he dared people to cross:

President Barack Obama gave a press conference after the Supercommittee officially admitted it failed to reach an agreement to cut $1.2 trillion in budget spending over the next 10 years.  Obama told reporters he would veto any attempt to get rid of the automatic cuts which are set to kick in as a part of the sequester proposition, which will be triggered unless Congress reaches over the next year.

Now the Obama and his cult of personality on the left is spinning furiously to place blame on the Republicans – to the point of using a PowerPoint used as part of last year’s talks as evidence and the media is lapping it up by not even challenging what Obama said. Gone are the days of the old journalistic admonition that if a son tells you that his mother loves him, you better call the mom to confirm it.

John Boehner recounts in the Wall Street Journal how we came to this point:

During the summer of 2011, as Washington worked toward a plan to reduce the deficit to allow for an increase in the federal debt limit, President Obama and I very nearly came to a historic agreement. Unfortunately our deal fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new tax revenue—50% more than we had shaken hands on just days before.

It was a disappointing decision by the president, but with just days until a breach of the debt limit, a solution was still required—and fast. I immediately got together with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to forge a bipartisan congressional plan. It would be called the Budget Control Act.

The plan called for immediate caps on discretionary spending (to save $917 billion) and the creation of a special House-Senate “super committee” to find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings. The deal also included a simple but powerful mechanism to ensure that the committee met its deficit-reduction target: If it didn’t, the debt limit would not be increased again in a few months.

But President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester.

With the debt limit set to be hit in a matter of hours, Republicans and Democrats in Congress reluctantly accepted the president’s demand for the sequester, and a revised version of the Budget Control Act was passed on a bipartisan basis.

Now the scare tactics begin:

From CBS:

The entire economy is headed for trouble in just eight days — when massive across-the-board cuts in the federal budget are scheduled to kick in automatically. The cuts were designed to be so deep and harmful, that they would force the president and Congress to find a better way. But they haven’t. Just for example, there would be $46 billion cut from the Defense Department and benefit cuts for 4.7 million long-term unemployed.

The FBI says the budget cuts would require all employees, including special agents, to be furloughed for up to 14 days.

The Financial Times:

The “vast majority” of the Pentagon’s civilian personnel will be put on temporary unpaid leave if automatic spending cuts take effect on March 1, leaving 800,000 workers without pay for one day a week for more than five months.

In a letter to all US defence department employees, defence secretary Leon Panetta warned of “a serious erosion of readiness across our force” that would occur under sequestration – budget cuts worth $1.2tn over a decade under which military spending will take a big hit.

And from the Liar-In-Chief himself:

And I know that Republicans have proposed some ideas, too.  I have to say, though, that so far at least the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations, so the burden is all on first responders or seniors or middle-class families.  They double down, in fact, on the harsh, harmful cuts that I’ve outlined.  They slash Medicare and investments that create good, middle-class jobs.  And so far at least what they’ve expressed is a preference where they’d rather have these cuts go into effect than close a single tax loophole for the wealthiest Americans.  Not one.

So a 2% cut will cause irreparable damage to the US economy, kill people and put people out of work.

I do not believe that this is true. I tend to agree with this by Chris Stirewait of Fox Business:

Today, president Obama is certainly suggesting that they would. He is appearing with firefighters and other first responders to renew his call for tax hikes on top earners to offset part of automatic spending cuts set to kick in two weeks hence.

Obama’s argument is that Janet Napolitano and her team at the Department of Homeland Security will have no choice but to cut off subsidies for local fire departments once the cuts take effect, forcing layoffs at firehouses.

Now, Napolitano presumably could cut other parts of her agency, ammunition orders, for instance. But it wouldn’t be so dramatic for the president to pose with a case of shotgun shells as it would to appear with people who run into burning buildings for a living.

Taxes went up for every American worker this year, and Obama won a special targeted tax rate hike on high-income households. The size of the targeted tax hike that Obama spent most of post-election political capital on was about the same size as what will be vacuumed out of federal spending this year: about $85 billion.

While Obama argued that the economy was strong enough to weather the tax hikes, he says that it cannot endure spending reductions of the same size. In fact, he says more taxes would be preferable to any reduction in federal outlays. The president, after all, would like to see yet more taxes to finance yet more spending.

Rush Limbaugh has a similar reaction:

I have to tell you, folks, I’m getting profoundly confused here as I listen to everybody talk about the sequester.  Of course, we’re one day closer now.  Every day takes us one day closer.  It’s a quirk of the calendar.  Every day we get closer to it.  And I’m gonna tell you, I don’t know what’s gonna kill more people now — assault weapons, global warming, or the sequester.  If you listen to Obama and his minions in the news media, they’re all running neck and neck.  Maybe we need to start exploring some kind of sequester control, because it’s out of control.

This whole sequester business totally out of control.  We might need universal sequester registration in order to deal with it.  In fact, I’m starting to think that the sequester might even cause more trouble in the world than man-made global warming.  And global warming, man-made global warming, even causes asteroids.  God knows what the sequester’s gonna cause.

I think the better question is that if only a 2% “cut” in government can do this much damage, maybe we should consider if government is too big of a share of the economy. Isn’t that what the monopoly busters of the 20’s and 30’s said of big corporations? Isn’t that what we have just said about the big banks?

If people can be hurt by government spending cuts, maybe this is a signal that government dependence has reached an unsustainable level.

But that won’t be asked because Obama is pulling the old and tired “Wimpy” act. In the old Popeye cartoons, Wimpy was eternally begging that he would gladly pay Popeye on Tuesday for a hamburger today. Obama wants immediate tax increases today for reductions in spending rates (not actual cuts) over the next 10 years. The politics indicate that this isn’t about cuts, it is about raising taxes again.

I’m not buying it…but there will be many who will.

8 thoughts on “The Politics Behind The Sequestration Panic

  1. FDR did tell us that, if it happens in politics, we can take it to the bank that it was planned that way (it’s just that this applies to BOTH sides and we don’t like to think about that).

    Good post, harry man. Say, if you ever spy Kells tramping through your neck of the woods with a larg vat of wax, you might want to run — run like hell 😉

    • His name is Harry? Men are wimps. I’ve waxed three men who all teared up……pitiful. How is it that I can get a Brazilian and not so much as wince?

      Harry, I enjoyed your post. The thing that disturbs me the most of the sequestration is the military cuts. The Liar-in-Chief will always blame someone else; that’s his MO.

  2. what is so disturbing about cutting the military? we have had huge military spending, and where has it gotten us? fighting terrorism isn’t to be done by military, but by the fbi and other LAW-ENFORCEMENT agencies. militaries are meant to defend and occupy, not to hunt down and root out terrorist, that is for law enforcement. the USA is n no danger of a foreign invasion, there is no need for such a huge military, unless you support lining Boeing and Northrop Grumman’s pockets at the expense of the tax-payer,

    • “Providing for common defense” is in the Costitution. Therefore, I feel it is unconstitutional to cut military spending. I’m more of the opinion that the purpose of the military is to defend; I do not believe in this Occupy business.

      Tax-payer dollars to Boeing and Northop Grumman? Don’t know how many tax-payer dollars went to them, but at least their productive and keep people working. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have spent a crapload of tax-payer dollars on these extremely successful green energy companies……. 🙄

      • people were working at the solar panel factories. Cutting defense is absolutely constitutional, especially when the defense budget is mostly foreign wars and bases. I thought you right-wingers were against a standing army, just like Jefferson.

        • And how did that work out for them? Better question: How the hello did it work out for the taxpayers?

          The boys and I differ on this. That said, I should like to see troops here securing and defending our borders. In other words, I do not believe it is wise to cut defense.

      • Anyone & everyone;

        Notice how Marx thinks the federal govt should act Illegally and give money to their friends and supporters for BUSINESS ventures that will go bankrupt.

        Yet, for constitutionally mandated issues, oh just cut them. They aren’t important.

        Thieves. Thieves of working Americans savings through devaluing of our currency by printing paper money, taxes, and purposeful giving away of dollars to their friends fir ventures we all know and understand will fail.

        Reaching for the moon was a better risk than anything the Marxists have suggested.

  3. karl;
    “people were working at the solar panel factories”

    Are you referring to those pictures of them smashing all those exspensive glass tubes MADE IN GERMANY, and PAID FOR WITH U.S. TAX DOLLARS?
    Since the only other work done there was by the bankruptcy lawers!

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