Feb 17, 2013

There Are No Spending “Cuts” In Sequestration

Source: ConservativeHQ

President Barack Obama and his big spending allies, including some Republicans (such as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon), have launched an all-out attack on the reductions in spending set to take place March 1 through the “sequestration” agreed to in the 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling.
As writer for U.S. News and World Report Anneke E. Green noted in a recent article, “In a speech last week, Mr. Obama talked about the ‘the economically damaging effects of the sequester' with a straight face. Nowhere in his remarks did he acknowledge that the impending spending cuts package was his idea from the start.”

What’s more, all of their gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over sequestration’s allegedly “draconian cuts” in spending are completely phony.

The March 1 “sequestration” doesn’t actually “cut” spending -- at least as normal Americans outside the Beltway are inclined to think of “cutting” spending.

As Senator Rand Paul pointed out in his Tea Party sponsored rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union message, “Few people understand that the sequester doesn’t even cut any spending. It just slows the rate of growth. Even with the sequester, government will grow over $7 trillion over the next decade.

Only in Washington could an increase of $7 trillion in spending over a decade be called a cut.”

The Club for Growth’s Chris Chocola took a slightly more sanguine view of sequestration, telling Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV that, “We’ve been assured by several members of the House in leadership positions that sequestration will happen. I won’t believe it until I see it, but we think it’s a good thing… We think it starts to at least stall the road to suffocating in debt. It actually does reduce spending, it actually does reduce what they call the base lines. Future spending would be lower. All Republicans have to do is sit there and let it happen.’’

Anneke E. Greene’s article was a good reminder, generally ignored by the rest of the establishment media, that a triumphant Obama was the one to announce the deal both sides had agreed to for avoiding a default on U.S. debt in July 2011. A White House fact sheet at the time praised the deal as "a win for the economy and budget discipline."

Back in 2011, Obama termed sequester as a mere enforcement mechanism that equally hit priorities of both parties. Obama stressed that the deal didn't impact middleclass families. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement were exempt from cuts.

"The political calculation was that such draconian defense cuts would drive the GOP to offer concessions," notes Charles Krauthammer. "It backfired. The Republicans have offered no concessions. Obama's bluff is being called and he's the desperate party."

The good news is that, at least if Chocola’s prediction of Republican resolve proves true and sequestration holds, slowing spending is better than increasing spending. The bad news is that voters may think Congress has actually done something about the unsustainable growth of the federal budget and take the heat off their elected officials to enact real reductions in the federal government’s spending, deficit and debt.

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