What Scares Sequester Opponents the Most? That Spending Reductions Won’t Hurt At All

© Tim Martin | Dreamstime.com© Tim Martin | Dreamstime.comSequester opponents, including the White House, congressional Democrats, and a slew of industry lobbying groups who stand to lose from the reductions, have issued all manner of hyperbolic warnings about the doom that will surely afflict us all should the spending reductions go into effect March 2: It will hurt small businesses run by women, slowdown meat production (sorry, paleo-dieters), cause the Air Force to fly less, and, according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu “could”—could!—“weaken efforts to become more energy independent.” 

The display of spending-cut scare tactics offer a window in the worldview of those who seem to believe that government spending is the fuel on which the economy runs, and to undertake any kind of federal spending reduction at all is to start a journey to an apocalyptic hellscape. One can only imagine what they’d say about a package that, unlike the sequester, actually cut spending over the next decade, or even just held it flat at current levels.

If you want a clue as to what some sequester opponents fear the most, though, check out what health care lobbyist Emily Holubowich, who represents 3,000 nonprofits opposed to the sequester, told The Washington Post on Saturday: “The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” she said. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”

That’s the real fear here: not that sequestration will result in terrible things happening, but that it won’t result in very much at all, that few will notice or be deeply upset by its effects, and that people will learn to live with a government that spends very slightly less than it was planning to over the next ten years (though still far more than it did for the vast majority of the last decade).

It’s worth remembering, too, that sequester opponents are mostly fretting about a small share of the sequester—the $85 billion in reductions to this year’s budget, only about $44 billion of which would actually go into effect this year. But smaller-scale reductions have to be fought as much, maybe even more, as the big cuts, because it’s the smaller reductions that pose the biggest threat to the endless expansion of federal spending: Not only are smaller reductions the most likely to happen, they’re also the most likely to reveal that the world goes on, and the economy doesn’t collapse, even if Washington decides not to spend a buck or two of your money.  

In his radio address this weekend, President Obama practically pleaded with Congress to kill sequestration's "abitrary" cuts. "Here’s the thing," he said. And the thing turned out to be that, "These cuts don’t have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime." All Congress has to do is compromise. Obama then treated listeners to a litany of potential sequestration terribles: delayed deployment of an aircraft carrier group, parents having to find childcare for their children, cutbacks to airport security. (Should we take that as a threat that the Transportation Security Administration will be even worse? Is that even possible?)

The White House and its allies have spent a lot of energy issuing warnings about all the awful, miserable, no-good things that might happen if sequestration kicks in. But are they really interested in easing the supposed pain sequestration will inflict?

Despite calls for compromise and complaints that the cuts are blunt and not well targeted, the Obama administration has indicated that it is uninterested in a floated GOP proposal that would allow federal agency heads and managers more flexibility to implement the sequester reductions as they see fit, focusing the budget restrictions on programs and expenditures they deem less critical. So is the real worry that the sequester will be bad? Or that it won't be bad enough? 

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  • wareagle||

    can we stop giving these people any credence by refusing to refer to the sequester as "spending cuts" or "reductions" or anything that hints less will be spent this year than last? Getting caught up in false semantics does not help.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    THIS, THIS, THIS!

  • GILMORE||

    geez, aren't you the stickler.

    Soon you'll be complaining we never had an actual "consulate" in Benghazi. Once the media runs with a soundbyte - deal with it! What does it matter at this point anyway

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The news-man will make it his business to tell you the "spending cuts" are hurting you a great deal.

  • CE||

    How did we ever survive ten years ago, when federal spending was half what it is now?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Let's try a little spending reduction. Then a little more, then a little more.

    It's true, no one talks about slowly turning down the temperature of the frog's pot of water.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Cold frog soup? Bleah!

    /GS-15

  • Aresen||

    "I haven't heard from any of the other Muppets since Kermit's funeral. Jacuzzi accident. Heating coil malfunctioned, slowly raised the temperature. He boiled before he realized what was happening. The funeral was...awkward. To say the least."

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    I heard that if these devastating cuts go through that Obama might only be able to drone kill like one-third of the Pakistani children on his list this year. That's unacceptable!

  • GILMORE||

    I AM BECOME SEQUESTER

    DESTROYER OF WORLDS

  • LTC(ret) John||

    OK, that is damned funny, that is. Plus 100 monocles to you, and a tip o' the top hat.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    My name is Sequester, king of kings:
    Look on my cuts, ye Mighty, and despair!

  • ||

    "Spending" has become a religion for the left. Why do they fear some spending cuts? Why? Because they just do. Because the other TEAM has made some noises about wanting them. Do they have any logical reasons? None whatsoever, but that doesn't matter. The TEAM BLUE marching orders are spend, spend, spend, and never, ever cut anything. And that's all that matters. And of course the media is right there saying the same thing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I vividly remember joe and others like him talking about the Democrats' opposition to deficits and relative fiscal responsibility during the Bush years. My, how things have changed.

    For once, I think it's correct to blame Bush. Whatever vestiges were left of the GOP's dance in the 1990s with limited government and fiscal responsibility totally disappeared with his socialist conservatism crap.

  • ||

    Actually, I blame you.

    Nothing has changed. joe and his fellow scumbag partisans are just doing what they always do: trying to get more power for their TEAM.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It was in the 90s, I think, that the Big Lie really became prevalent in U.S. politics. We'd always been lied to, but it was the time when getting caught lying seemed to begin to have no consequences. And no, I'm not blaming all of this on Clinton.

  • Tony||

    Countercyclical economic policy means you cut deficits in an upswing and spend more in a downturn. It's entirely consistent with mainstream economy theory to have been opposed to Bush's profligacy and Republicans' current love of austerity.

    Beyond Republicans' total inability to apply consistent or sensible economic policy is the irrationality of even their stated policy goals. They developed their policy priorities during Carter and Reagan during a completely different set of economic problems. It makes no sense for the exact same policies to be warranted for the era following the 2008 crisis.

  • Paul.||

    Countercyclical economic policy means you cut deficits in an upswing and spend more in a downturn.

    And the best Democratic theories that I can grok (oh shit) is this:

    During the upswing, raise taxes to cut the deficit.

    During the downturn, raise taxes to fuel an increase of stimulus spending.

    Then during the upswing, raise taxes to cut the deficit.

    Then during the downturn, raise taxes to ful an increase of stimulus spending.

    Then during the upswing, rai...

    Wait, everyone's dead.

  • Tony||

    No, you shouldn't raise taxes in a downturn, you should deficit spend. If Democrats were in total control of government, they wouldn't be focused on cutting the deficit (at least beyond rhetoric), so they wouldn't need to raise anyone's taxes.

    It's Republicans' insistence that we cut the deficit at the wrong time that necessitates raising taxes.

    But let's keep pretending that both they and you aren't engaged in the most transparent duplicity in the universe. It's not about balancing the budget, it's about cutting programs you don't like, and that's a pretty plausible excuse.

  • ||

    No, you shouldn't raise taxes in a downturn

    Then why is Obama raising taxes now?

  • ||

    Ok.
    During the upswing, raise taxes to cut the deficit.

    During the down swing, borrow money, spend more, and expand the size of government.

    During the upwing, raise taxes to cut the deficit.

    During the downswing, borrow more money, spend more, and expand the size of government.

    ....

  • ||

    it's about cutting programs you don't like

    You are confused as to who you are talking to. Yes we libertarians want to cut all the programs.

    When have we ever been secretive about that?

  • Tony||

    No, so there's really no need for you to hitch your wagon to Grover Norquist. So are libertarians going to stop claiming we *need* to cut spending and taxes and start saying they merely *want* to?

  • KPres||

    No, we need to if we don't want 1.5% growth from he on out.

  • Paul.||

    . It's not about balancing the budget, it's about cutting programs you don't like, and that's a pretty plausible excuse.

    Well, yeah, you're half right. It's about balancing the budget by cutting programs I don't like we don't need or are fully unconstitutional because they don't fall under the enumerated powers.

    Then after that it's about trimming programs we do need to their minimum requisite size.

  • Tony||

    That's good enough for me. May you forever lack the ability to put your hands on the levers of government. Amen.

  • Paul.||

    That's good enough for me. May you forever lack the ability to put your hands on the levers of government. Amen.

    Funny that, I believe in having the fewest levers as possible upon which hands can be placed. What cracks me up about you Tony, is you literally cannot conceive of a situation where Obama won't be in charge any more.

  • Tony||

    I'm fully prepared for President Hillary considering I supported her over Obama in the first place.

  • Contrarian P||

    Because your ilk have done such a great job with those levers. Yes, one can see why forcing the government to obey its own founding document and to spend only the money it has on hand would be a calamity. Instead, let's go the banana republic route and have a government that ignores the law when convenient, continually spends money, loots the middle class by embezzling trust funds and inflating the currency, etc.

  • KPres||

    "Countercyclical economic policy means you cut deficits in an upswing and spend more in a downturn."

    Yeah, asshole, and if you do it that way it will have no effect, because people will know their taxes are going up/services going down and will save to compensate.

    It only works if you surprise people.

    It's entirely consistent with mainstream economy theory to have been opposed to Bush's profligacy

    Bush's deficits came as a result of a recession. The CBO rated his budgets as more-or-less balanced. Funny how you call it profligacy when Bush does it even thought Obama's doing the exact same fucking thing.

  • robc||

    And it doesnt work anyway.

    And, wait, I thought we have been in an upturn since about 2010, right?

    So why the fuck arent we running surpluses if we are going to be countercyclical?

  • robc||

    From 3rd quarter of 2009 to 3rd quarter of 2012, we had 13 straight quarters of GDP growth. During the start of that, the House, Senate and Prez were controlled by Dems, who are supposedly strong Keynesians. So where the fuck was the surpluses? Were were the countercyclical spending cuts?

  • robc||

    Of course, to quote Keynes, wrt a FDR cabinet meeting:

    "I was the only non-Keynesian in the room."

  • Tony||

    The point of spending cuts in boom times (not merely periods of GDP growth) is to rein it in. The question is do we want to decrease or increase demand in the economy in order to keep it on a relatively even keel. Clearly right now we still need to increase it, hence spend more.

  • Jordan||

    You know what artificially increased demand is called? A bubble. Prosperity through debt!

  • Tony||

    A bubble is when a product or asset is being traded at inflated values. If government is spending on stuff at their non-inflated market value then it's not contributing to a bubble, it's just buying stuff like any other market participant. The demand isn't artificial at all.

    Otherwise the constant existence of the government and such programs as the armed forces would mean we were constantly having mutlti-sector bubbles.

  • KPres||

    "A bubble is when a product or asset is being traded at inflated values."

    Both medical care and education are currently in a bubble, and government spends tons on those.

  • Jordan||

    A bubble is when a product or asset is being traded at inflated values.

    What happens to prices when demand is artificially inflated? Fail.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 2.25.13 @ 5:10PM |#
    "A bubble is when a product or asset is being traded at inflated values"

    Such as when the government holds interest at near zero and inflates real estate prices, right, shithead?

  • Calidissident||

    Tony, let's be real, when push came to shove during the boom you and other progressives (and throw in most conservatives too) would never agree to spending cuts of any significance.

  • Tony||

    If we were heavily spending on stimulus programs, then they wouldn't be necessary if strong growth started and there'd be every reason in the world to reduce the spending--and lots of progressives including me are in favor of large Defense cuts, and that's one of the biggest chunks of government spending there is.

    No I wouldn't want to cut things like the safety net and a bunch of programs I like and think should exist in perpetuity. Am I not allowed that?

  • Calidissident||

    So when do you cut off the stimulus spending? Is there going to be any agreement among liberals with that?

    And to simply fund the permanent programs you want would require massively raising taxes on everybody, including the middle class and the poor

  • Tony||

    Considering we stopped appropriating stimulus money a long time ago, I don't know what you're bitching about. Of course I think there should have been more so as to avoid the stagnation we're currently in. But you have to compromise with Republicans who think leprechauns turning gears is how the economy works.

  • KPres||

    Notice how the housing bubble was so much worse in Blue states? That's because they're full of zombies like Tony that buy into all this blind bullshit. Whatever flavor of the month theory they need to push, his kind just lap it right up.

  • Tony||

    The housing bubble was worse in blue states because that's where people wanted to fucking move to.

  • KPres||

    So it's you position that the housing bubble was the consequence of people moving across state borders? You realize how fucking stupid that is?

  • Tony||

    No. The housing bubble had complex causes. It was worse in states like California and Florida because that's where people were building houses. There was less of a boom in flyover states, and thus less of a crash.

  • KPres||

    It was worse in states like California and Florida because that's where people were building houses.

    Bullshit. It was terrible in Nevada and mild in Texas. The correlation is with BLUE, not population growth.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The housing bubble was worse in blue states because that's where people wanted to fucking move to.

    Like Michigan?

  • Irish||

    Wait, did Tony really argue that the housing bubble was bad in Blue states because people want to move there? You do realize that red states have had higher population growth for years, right moron? And that blue states have been LOSING population relative to red states?

    If anything, people are doing all they can to leave blue states. You really do just live in an alternate universe, don't you Tony?

  • KPres||

    You want demand? Lower prices. That's what every retailer who's ever run a sale gets. And what does the market do all on its own during a recession? Oh, yeah. Lower prices. This is bullshit. Everybody knows that fiscal stimulus doesn't work. It's just that politicians want to use recessions to fund their favorite pet projects.

  • Tony||

    Everyone where? Inside the plastic information bubble you guys never venture from?

  • KPres||

    No. Everybody everywhere. Counter-cyclical fiscal policy has been dying since the 50s. It just pops back up every once in a while when the politicians needs to fleece some yokels like yourself.

  • buddhastalin||

    Tony, believing that government will cut spending in boom times is pure fantasy. Here in California, as we were going through the first internet bubble, Gov. Davis helped to enact the largest pension increase for government employees in state history. The bubble burst along with the sustainability of the projected pension benefits, but the obligations remain with us and will for a very long time. Now, as California is doing better, the pi... I mean, public employees have all scurried back to the trough, squealing to have cuts to their work week and pet programs restored. Government spending is a one-way ratchet that at best only has its rate of growth slowed, but never reversed.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Clearly right now we still need to increase it, hence spend more.

    Or regulate less.

  • Contrarian P||

    To rein what in exactly? The boom? What evidence is there that cutting government spending reins in a boom? Where has that happened? And more importantly, when did that happen?

    I'm still very confused as how government spending creates demand in the economy. I realize that's the gospel according to Keynes believers, but where is the proof that happens? And is lack of demand really the problem?

  • Tony||

    Anyone increasing spending is by definition an increase in demand. The government is simply the only entity large enough and with enough flexibility to make up for large decreases in demand economy-wide.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    They developed their policy priorities during Carter and Reagan during a completely different set of economic problems. It makes no sense for the exact same policies to be warranted for the era following the 2008 crisis.

    Oh look! Special pleading!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Countercyclical economic policy means you cut deficits in an upswing and spend more in a downturn.

    Actually it means you RUN SURPLUSES in an upswing, but close enough Tony. We've had a federal budget deficit every year since 1957, during boom bust and plateau. Maybe you need to get on your side of the aisle about that.

  • CE||

    Counter-cyclical economic policy means you cut deficits in an upswing and spend more in a downturn.

    The good news for big spenders then is that we are now in a permanent downturn as a result of their policies, so they can keep overspending.

  • Contrarian P||

    That's the genius of this crap. If we're in a downturn, spend, spend, spend. If the economy recovers, for God's sake don't cut spending, because it could put us into recession! It's the perfect storm of stupidity.

  • Paul.||

    For once, I think it's correct to blame Bush

    Only once?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I blame him a lot. But sometimes people see the beam in Bush's eye but not the mote in their own.

  • Paul.||

    Damn, all poetical 'n shit.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.

    Emily Holubowich, you are what's wrong with this country. You specifically. Your fault. Yours.

    Bad PR would be worse than 100 billion people losing their jobs. Not that I believe that the so-called "cuts" would have that effect anyway.

  • Paul.||

    Well that's embarassing. I should refresh more often, I guess.

  • Paul.||

    So yeah, we're reading Copernicus and we're not going back to church!

  • Tony||

    At one point everyone agreed that this was deliberately bad policy, as in something whose sole purpose was to force politicians to avoid it.

    The fact that you guys and some Republicans are now defending policy that was invented to be a bad idea is... odd. But clearly the arbitrariness doesn't matter to people who don't have any policy ideas more complex than "fuck you, cut spending."

    If on the other hand there are any negative economic consequences (and they don't even have to be directly related if you think about it), Obama can blame Republicans and win yet another round in public perception about the correct economic policy. Seems like there's just as much risk to the credibility of austerity promoters.

  • Paul.||

    But clearly the arbitrariness doesn't matter to people who don't have any policy ideas more complex than "fuck you, cut spending."

    It's because the proper policy isn't more complicated than that.

    Every time I hear someone say, "I'll hand you the budget, what would you cut?" with that 'eyebrows raised' I dare you kind of look... I could probably cut damn near $1 trillion in the first five minutes.

    Would the economy suffer? Yeah, probably, but the benefits down the road would be not only beneficial to America, but beneficial to ugly little brown people in foreign lands trying to scratch a living out of the dirt---literally-- farmers trying to sell their goods at low cost to places like America, but for all of our agricultural subsidies.

    Did you know, Tony, that the United States makes direct payments to foreign government simply because we refuse to end our farm subsidies and we lose those cases in international courts? And because there's NO... FUCKING.... WAY we'd ever cut a goddamned farm subsidy, we simply write mammoth checks to foreign countries as go-away money?

    Imagine the cascading benefits of cutting the ag subsidy racket?

  • db||

    At one point everyone agreed that this was deliberately bad policy,

    This, right here, is pretty much the definition of "begging the question."

  • DrAwkward||

    "fuck you, raise taxes" appears to be the only play in the Dem's playbook. Inter-generational theft is cool.

  • Tony||

    I don't agree with raising taxes right now since we're not on the right side of the business cycle to be raising taxes.

    They offer raising taxes ONLY because they are giving in to (insane) Republican demands that we shrink the deficit right now, and raising taxes is obviously a necessary part of doing that.

    They shouldn't even be cutting the deficit right now but the ones who are being nuts are those who call for cutting the deficit that was largely caused by tax cuts but refusing any tax hikes to do it.

  • KPres||

    I don't agree with raising taxes right now since we're not on the right side of the business cycle to be raising taxes.

    I never heard you once say that leading up to Obama's tax hikes. You're a lying sack of shit.

  • Tony||

    I'm sorry if you misunderstood that any time I advocated for a tax hike it was in the context of (the bad policy of) cutting the deficit. It's beyond obvious that, if you insist on cutting the deficit, some taxes will have to go up.

    If Republicans want to argue for cutting Medicare or other programs, they should argue for the cuts directly instead of pretending that we have no other choice. Because we do have a choice. End the Bush tax cuts, practically eliminate any possible budget deficit "crisis."

    But I am on record as being for real economic policy and not Republican bullshit, so I'm fine with nobody's taxes going up for the moment.

  • KPres||

    INOW...

    Baaaaaaah!

  • Contrarian P||

    Everybody's taxes did go up. Maybe you should examine your tax forms.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    They shouldn't even be cutting the deficit right now but the ones who are being nuts are those who call for cutting the deficit that was largely caused by tax cuts

    Simpsons Bush did it!

    Pay no mind to the decades of deficit spending that preceded him, nor the successor who seems intent to outdo him.

  • Tony||

    Stop electing Republicans if you don't want profligate deficit spending. That's all I can say. I mean it's a pretty sweet deal for them that every time they get in charge and shovel trillions of dollars into a sinkhole for no good reason, they get to transfer at least half the blame to Democrats (who are big spenders as everyone knows).

    And (Congress under) Obama should be deficit spending right now. Do you see a booming economy anywhere?

  • KPres||

    "Stop electing Republicans if you don't want profligate deficit spending."

    Uh, no Republican has ever run deficits except as a consequence of a recession...Reagan in the early 80s and Bush in the 00s. Which was bad when they did it but OK now.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Stop electing Republicans if you don't want profligate deficit spending.

    When did I lay claim to voting for Republicans, chucklenuts?

    That's all I can say.

    That's all you have to say and it's pretty damn tiresome.

    I mean it's a pretty sweet deal for them that every time they get in charge and shovel trillions of dollars into a sinkhole for no good reason, they get to transfer at least half the blame to Democrats (who are big spenders as everyone knows).

    It's almost as if there is no functional difference between TEAM Red and TEAM Blue on the national level. But what am I saying? TEAM Blue is on the side of the angels and TEAM Red are the servants of the Devil/Emmanuel Goldstein/Dick Cheney/Koch Brothers.

    And (Congress under) Obama should be deficit spending right now.

    Bare assertion is bare.

    Do you see a booming economy anywhere?

    Yes. Washington D.C., but not all of us can belong to the Parasite Caste.

  • KPres||

    Tony isn't even aware of hypocrisy anymore. So when you call him on it he thinks you're pimping Republicans.

  • ||

    Tony, do you seriously believe that the ONLY reason Obama wants to raise taxes is because those dastardly Republicans are so focused on the budget deficit?

    Do you REALLY, HONESTLY believe that if it weren't for that, he would have made all of the Bush tax cuts permanents?

    Really?

  • Tony||

    I don't think he wanted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent under any scenario. They obviously had to go up at some point, since they were never offset by spending cuts and there isn't enough to cut and maintain his and like 90% of the country's governing priorities.

    But since the economy is still weak, yes, the only reason tax hikes are on the table is because of the context of discussions of deficit reduction. Obama has seen it as politically necessary to agree that such is necessary, but doesn't want to endanger the recovery--which means not cutting programs that are helping the economy and raising revenues from people who can afford to pay, again without hurting the economy.

    Or maybe Obama just hates rich people and loves to spend government money for no reason other than pure hedonistic pleasure.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    If on the other hand there are any negative economic consequences (and they don't even have to be directly related if you think about it), Obama can blame Republicans and win yet another round in public perception about the correct economic policy.

    Tony w/o spaces, I'm glad you admit that both you and Barry are unscrupulous fucks who will gleefully capitalize on misunderstanding or misinformation for the sake of political advantage.

  • John||

    The only reason they had to revert to this "bad policy" is because Harry Reid refuses to allow the Senate to pass a budget. This entire thing is a crises Obama manufactured in the hope of getting some political benefit.

    Obama cares about one thing, political advantage. He couldn't care less about the welfare of the country. This entire episode proves that. And it will be further proven as Obama does his best to ensure that sequestration is done so that it maximizes the damage to the country. As this point out, their biggest fear is nothing happens. So it is Obama's job to ensure something really bad happens. Yes, we now have a President who is deliberately trying to harm the country for political benefit. Amazing.

  • Tony||

    Obama's reelection really sent you deep into the rightwing echo chamber, didn't it? I swear I hear something come from John Boehner's mouth and it pretty quickly comes out of Rush Limbaugh's and FOX bobbleheads and then you, pretty much verbatim. Get rightwingers if you ever want to do well in a game of Chinese whispers.

  • Anonymous Coward||

  • Contrarian P||

    What does a right wing echo chamber have to do with a budget never coming to a vote in the senate the entire time Obama has been in office, including when his party controlled all houses of Congress? And don't give me that "they really didn't have a filibuster-proof majority" crap. They managed to pass continuing resolutions, so they should have been able to pass a budget.

  • Tony||

    It's the mindless obsession with passing a budget--something that actually appropriates no money--that is evidence of his existence inside the Bubble. It's partly a political calculation yes, but it's hardly the worst. Republicans blocking everything just to see Obama fail is arguably much more condemnable a political move.

  • GILMORE||

    i.e. "All Tony gives a shit about is political WIN"

    If on the other hand there are any negative economic consequences, Obama can blame Republicans

    Uh. For the policy put in place by the Bi-Partisan commission he specifically endorsed. 'Working across the aisle' and all that? Vague memories? Derp - BLAME THE OTHERS!!!

  • Tony||

    The people are not on Republicans' side at the moment.

    And I don't just give a shit about political wins, though that's an important part of getting what you want. It also happens to be the subject of the fucking article.

  • GILMORE||

    Tony| 2.25.13 @ 4:51PM |#

    The people are not on Republicans' side at the moment.

    If 'the people' had their way we'd all be riding magic ponies through bankruptopia to our Government-provided Greek villas.

    'The people', no matter what happens, are still going to end up paying for the shitty government we have. You'd think they might care how much they actually pay for it.

  • ||

    Never mind all of your bullshit, the President was for these "cuts" before he was against them.

    Are all of the TEAM BE RULED people as disingenuous as you?

  • Tony||

    Nobody was "for" them. The policy was meant to create an incentive for Congress to get work done to avoid it. Yeah it's an incredibly dumb way of governing, and yes that's Republicans' fault.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Tony's above quote is sublime in its stupid. It's actually beautiful.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Actually, he fit a lot of stupid into the line about demand not being artificial and not causing a bubble earlier.

  • KPres||

    He's turned insincerity into an art form.

  • ||

    So proposing something means you're against it?

    God you're stupid.

  • KPres||

    Are all of the TEAM BE RULED people as disingenuous as you?

    No, most of them are just stupid. Tony's been around here long enough to have all the holes in their bullshit exposed, so he has to lie to himself rather than admit he's been wrong all of this time.

  • ||

    I look forward to the day that you admit that we're in a boom and advocate cutting government spending to rein it in.

  • Tony||

    Well the point is to avoid strong swings in either direction. That means government spending can be focused on day-to-day governing priorities. There should be automatic countercyclical policies in place, such as progressive taxation, which buttresses demand during downturns and reduces it during booms.

  • DrAwkward||

    We need progressive taxation? What exactly do you think we have now?

  • Tony||

    Effective taxation that is almost flat. We can do much better.

  • Contrarian P||

    Please tell me when this sort of policy has worked. It's the wet dream of all central planners. It just doesn't seem to happen when applied to real life. Remember in 2009 when your party took office and they made all sorts of promises about what unemployment and the economy in general would look like if we adopted their policies. Remember how all of those proved to be wrong?

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 2.25.13 @ 5:23PM |#
    ..."There should be automatic countercyclical policies in place, such as progressive taxation, which buttresses demand during downturns and reduces it during booms."

    Yeah, shithead, since gov't managed economies have done so well, right?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Do you remember what the point of the sequester was?

    To FORCE the president and Congress to come up with spending cuts. I don't see BO coming up with spending cuts, do you?

  • Tony||

    Yes.

  • CE||

    A forced 2 percent cut in planned spending wasn't a bad idea, it was a small step in the right direction. Too bad it wasn't 10 percent.

  • Rich||

    "You can have your meat inspectors back at the end of the sequester."

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Remember when Ragnarok was about to descend on America during the "fiscal cliff crisis"? Remember all of the hand-wringing, doomsaying, and the clever, slick countdown graphics produced by the various corporate media outlets?

    Most importantly, remember when the sky failed to fall at the appointed time?

  • Paul.||

    Remember the government shut down of the 90s? Yeah... the only thing the press could come up with was a concessionaire who ran a hay-ride in Yellowstone who might not be able to send his daughter to college because he wasn't able to work...

  • Sevo||

    Paul.| 2.25.13 @ 4:28PM |#
    "Remember the government shut down of the 90s?"

    Bill and Monica do!

  • Aresen||

    According to astronomers, the sky is rising.

    At 186,000 mps+

  • Murgatroyd||

    Given the last minute deals at the original deadline, I don't think we really have any idea at this point about whether or not the sequester will go through.

    I would not be surprised if the sequester gets postponed again and ends up being a recurring budget issue like the Doc Fix...Team RED/BLUE might still be playing this game of chicken 5 or 10 years from now.

    ...assuming that the whole system doesn't fall apart before then.

  • ||

    Didn't you notice we just went into a recession last quarter?

    The system just fell apart.

  • Spoonman.||

    The sad thing is that everybody's going to go along with the temper tantrum the executive branch is throwing by acting like funding was cut for meat inspectors specifically - and how dare they?

  • ||

    This really exposes the beneficiaries of government largess as self-interested actors. What worries them isn't that the public will be hurt by the lack of the services they provide. What worries them is that the public won't be hurt and their paychecks will be cut.

    This should really be a QED moment.
    How can you claim to be acting in the public interest if your primary concern is that the public doesn't really need what your selling?

  • ||

    delayed deployment of an aircraft carrier group, parents having to find childcare for their children, cutbacks to airport security.

    Remind anyone of anything?
    Oh nos! What will we do without crossing guards? What will we do without safety officers at skate parks?

  • ||

    What is little noticed is that last quarter's GDP was negative.

    Funny how everyone ignored it.

    My guess is we are in a recession and everyone knows it and the sequester will be blamed for it...even though the recession began over 4 to 5 months ago.

    Sort of like how everyone blames Bush for Obama's 800 billion dollar stimulus package.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I think it's time for another recession. How long can we pretend it isn't one this time? Not that we actually had a recovery in any real sense since the last one.

  • Paul.||

    Just thinking about the sequester four months ago made the recession true. That's how powerful the sequestration cuts are. They can actually ruin the economy in the past.

  • Contrarian P||

    I'm pretty sure the sequester travels in a DeLorean.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    We've been in a recession since 2007. Government spending growth is all that kept GDP growing during the past couple of years.

  • ||

    Shhh, you'll spoil shrike's and Tony's dream.

  • John Marson||

    i do not know if there are significant cuts. i do know that there will be STUPID ones, as it is Barack Hussein Obama who will be making them. He will do this with complete disregard for the country, which he HATES anyway, and with sole regard to political mileage he may exploit them for.
    His only mission is to win the House in 2014 so that he can have a free hand to destroy America.
    http://www.carbonated.tv/news

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