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!
Republicans should be embracing the sequester. Yes, it would be better for policymakers to make thoughtful trade-offs, killing really stupid programs while protecting genuinely essential outlays. But Congress won’t do that. And outlays have to be cut somehow.
George Will points out the silliness of the claims of doom and gloom being peddled by the Prez and his allies:
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!”
It is worth noting that the same arguments apply to military outlays, which also have raced upward over the last decade. The Pentagon appears to be playing the same game as the Prez. Notes Will:
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.
Spending needs to be cut across-the-board. There can be no sacred cows when outlays continue to race upwards for virtually all programs under both parties. If Congress can’t be trusted to craft a better set of cuts, so be it. Viva la Sequester!