Get Ready for Stories About How Cutting $1.2 Trillion in Future Spending is Responsible for Today's Government Failures

Now that the White House has released its massive sequestration report detailing the $1.2 trillion in possible cuts to future spending over the next 10 years, expect to read more headlines like the following from Buzzfeed:

Mandatory Defense Cuts Would Slash Funding To Security At Embassies, Report Says

You got that implication, kemo sabe?

Possible future trims in spending have something to do with what's going in the Middle East right now. Not that embassies are under attack now because of American foreign policy or world events or rotten security or whatever. Or that we can't defend our citizens and diplomatic corps right now despite record-high levels of spending on defense and military operations for most of the 21st century.

No, the real bad news is coming if and when the United States stops its 12-year long spending spree that has all but killed any chance of recovery and piled on the debt like Dagwood Bumstead loading cold cuts onto a sandwich roll.

Here's Buzzfeed's description of sequestration, or the automatic cuts that will kick in on January 1, 2013, if lawmakers can't get their act together to slice virtually nothing from the next 10 years' worth of anticipated spending:

Sequestration, which is scheduled to take effect at the end of the year and would cut roughly $1.2 trillion in spending, was approved by default after a Congressional "super committee" failed to reach an agreement to cut spending and reduce the federal deficit. Nondefense discretionary spending, which includes embassy security, will be cut by 8.2 percent, according to a senior administration official.

Politico quotes from the report thus:

“No amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction,” the Office of Management and Budget wrote. “”The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions.”

This much is true: The planned cuts are across- the-board to particular programs including everything from defense to Medicare to education to you name it (that was the point, to share the costs).

And this much is complete bullshit: "sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions."

In fact, the cuts for 2013 amount to maybe a whopping $120 billion in an annual budget that is likely to run about $3.8 trillion. Out of the $120 billion, about $50 billion will come out of military budget that will be well north of $650 billion, including war funding.

Let's leave aside the mad rush by every part of the government to link its current failures to a future spending cut and instead point out the obvious: Sequestration in no way threatens any basic governmental function. Period.

Federal spending has ballooned since George W. Bush first darkened the door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and was then succeeded by Barack Obama, who continues to max out the credit cards (both had the help of Congress). Over the next decade, the GOP's budget envisions spending around $40 trillion (in current dollars) and the president estimates spending around $48 trillion (in current dollars).

To pretend that shaving $1.2 trillion off either those totals means any government program anywhere is going to go begging is the biggest con in a long, long time. If we can't cut spending - or even hold it steady for a few years in a row, fer chrissakes - shouldn't we just give up now?

We are broke as a nation, having for way too long spent beyond our means. But we are not yet broke when it comes to basic common sense. I hope, anyway.

Related: How to balance the budget in ten years without raising taxes. Seriously.

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  • rts||

    piled on the debt like Dagwood Bumstead loading cold cuts onto a sandwich roll.

    Oooh, the gloves are off.

  • The Hammer||

    For answers about the turmoil in the Middle East, Huffington Post turns to the undeniable experience and wisdom of.....Deepak Chopra. Seriously. And look, he's got a new book!

    http://live.huffingtonpost.com.....468e000138

  • Brutus||

    I dig his pan flute CDs

  • ||

    If we can't cut spending - or even hold it steady for a few years in a row, fer chrissakes - shouldn't we just give up now?

    I'd like to, but I don't know how. Do you have a newsletter detailing the process?

  • R C Dean||

    If we can't cut spending - or even hold it steady for a few years in a row, fer chrissakes - shouldn't we just give up now?

    I have. There is no way our current political class will do what needs to be done, and we don't have the time to turn them all out and replace them with fiscal adults (if that's even possible given our current population of takers v makers).

    No, the current fiscal situation will resolve itself only with a crisis. And crises of leverage tend to resolve themselves very abruptly and even violently.

  • Invisible Finger||

    How can we expect to hold government spending steady when the Fed is decreasing the government's purchasing power???

  • R C Dean||

    In fact, the cuts for 2013 amount to maybe a whopping $120 billion in an annual budget that is likely to run about $3.8 trillion.

    There's a lotta zeros, so I may be off, but isn't $120BB about 3% of 3.8TT?

    $50 billion will come out of military budget that will be well north of $650 billion, including war funding.

    So, we're looking at defense cuts of 7.6%?

  • ||

    Well, it's hard to say, since the pre-"cut" amount is almost certainly more than the current FY's amount. So it could be a fraction of 7.6%, anywhere from most of it to almost none, or a net increase.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You can almost understand how tyrants rise. "Fuck, I'm going to have to fucking do it myself. What a fucking load of fucking fucks. Fuck!"

    And then things get out of control.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Maybe if DoD hadn't given all that extra ordinance to police departments they'd be able to defend the embassies.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I also wonder if some of these broke-ass towns will be willing to sell some of their unneeded military equipment to cover pension shortfalls?

    I can see Stockton CA selling a tank to al qaeda because they offered cash rather than the DoD's 30-years-same-as-cash financing idea.

  • Brutus||

    The insane thing is that the same people who predict blood in the streets over these cuts are the same people who wax nostalgic over the last couple of years of the Clinton administration. What they don't understand is that to get to the levels of spending that brought about that surplus and era of prosperity, we'd have to cut about $1.2 trillion from the budget...this year.

  • Calidissident||

    Just like they're the same people who bitch about how Republicans want to take the country back to the 1950's, and then wax nostalgically over 50's economic policy (ignoring, of course, that there was almost no federal welfare spending besides SS in those days)

  • LTC(ret) John||

    If these DRASTIC CUTS occur, they'll have to close the Washington Monumnet!!1!1! Wait...what?

  • TMLutas||

    The solution is easy and starts with a change in behavior on our part. We simply have to start expecting that people are going to do the right thing by cutting the bottom priorities and not the top ones. Are we going to cut embassy security? Ok, what's the bottom 8.5% spent on embassy security? Can we afford to spend that 8.5%?

    These jokers, these people are attacking my children's future and yours. We need to start dealing with them as if that's the case, because it is.

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