Get Ready for Lots of Talk About Just How Awful Sequestration Has Really Been

Now that Republicans and Democrats are jawing about a resolution to the government shutdown and impending deadline for the issuance of new government debt, get ready for lots of talk about just how awful the sequestration cuts in the 2011 Budget Control Act have been. And how they must not be allowed to form a new baseline for future government spending because they are killing the hopes and dreams of future generations. Stuff like this:

If Democrats disliked the 2011 Budget Control Act, they disliked its bastard stepchild, the sequester, even more. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama calls the sequester cuts: “harsh” and “arbitrary” and warned that they would “devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research” and “cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”...

The promise of the Obama presidency was not merely that he’d bring Democrats back to power. It was that he’d usher in the first era of truly progressive public policy in decades. But the survival of Obamacare notwithstanding, Obama’s impending “victory” in the current standoff moves us further away from, not closer to, that goal.

It’s not just that Obama looks likely to accept the sequester cuts as the basis for future budget negotiations. It’s that while he’s been trying to reopen the government and prevent a debt default, his chances of passing any significant progressive legislation have receded. 

As it happens, the deal supposedly being hatched in the Senate will fund government through January 15, 2014, just before $19 billion in a second round of sequestration cuts kick in. The idea is that this timing will give Democrats time to try and reverse the terrifying specter of spending just $967 billion rather than $986 billion or $1.058 trillion in discretionary dollars. Take a peek at the chart to the upper right, which tracks the impact of sequestration over a 10 year window. The tiny difference should make most people sleep soundly at night. Unless you actually care about the government actually living anywhere close to reality:

Remember, kids, that anytime future increases in government spending are restrained even slightly, a kitten dies. Because despite five straight years of record-high levels of government spending (the feds spent about $3.5 trillion in 2013, which isn't charted above), there just isn't enough money being spent to accomplish truly progressive goals. Pity.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Does Reason give out ribbons for being first?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sequestersaurus was the greatest weapon in the GOP arsenal. It's also the law of the land, as Rand Paul reminds us, and therefore should be unassailable, untouchable, sacred. Just like we've been told Obamacare is.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    It was also The Obama's idea in the first place - and so blessed by the HIGHEST authority: God-Emperor.

    Any who speak against must be burned.

  • JW||

    Fiscal Darwinism!

  • Doctor Whom||

    We are one dime in the budget away from becoming Somalia. I feel it in my heart, so actual statistics don't matter.

  • wareagle||

    It was that he’d usher in the first era of truly progressive public policy in decades.

    because the previous decades of progressive policy had not fucked things up badly enough. Seriously, if you showed a non-American the war on poverty and what it created, odds are better than good that the person would believe that program to have been the work of the most evil racist imaginable rather than that of a president. Though, admitedly, racist and that particular president could be redundant.

  • some guy||

    Same with the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. What other Wars am I leaving out?

  • OneOut||

    The War on Women

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    War on Vice

  • Irish||

    Seriously, if you showed a non-American the war on poverty and what it created, odds are better than good that the person would believe that program to have been the work of the most evil racist imaginable rather than that of a president.

    You mean it wasn't?

    "I'll have those niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years." - Lyndon Johnson

  • wareagle||

    the borg will pretend that this was never said, nor will it see the actual effects as opposed to the stated intentions.

  • JWatts||

    The Left just routinely denies that the quote was ever said.

  • Rich||

    The idea is that this timing will give Democrats time to try and reverse the terrifying specter of spending just $967 billion rather than $986 billion or $1.058 trillion in discretionary dollars.

    There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.

    Fuck these people.

  • some guy||

    OT:

    Roger Simon of Politico says that America would be better off if Boehner and Cruz drowned

    Now, I'm not saying I disagree with him exactly, but apparently he didn't get the memo about eliminationist rhetoric...

    Also... RACISM!

  • Metazoan||

    Damn Republicans need to learn some civility.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Provided, of course, that the same event drowned the rest of the city of DC while a joint session of congress was meeting the president and had not yet gotten past the blather phase, there might be some truth to that.

  • Rich||

    Displaying the Confederate flag in front of a home [the White House] occupied by a black family was meant to send a particular, and particularly repellent, message.

    And what, exactly, would that message be, Roger, you so smart?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    What about the message the other thousands of people not carrying confederate flags meant to send? Funny how Roger doesn't care about that. We must focus on the one guy in thousands whose message might be construed to possibly be racist!

  • JW||

    Well, DC is one of the lowest points in the area, former swampland, so maybe he's onto something. He's just thinking small.

  • creech||

    Even a $1,000 cut in federal spending is going to "take food out of the mouth of a child" somewhere. It will take a pol with real balls to say "tough shit."

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    And the $3000 in taxes it took to raise that $1000 for that baby came from another family and out of their baby's mouth. But, of course, babies on welfare are more important than those being raised by their parents. Because babies belong to all of us, not just the parents!

  • CE||

    It's not babies on welfare who are being denied. It's the babies of government workers, who will have to settle for a little less this Christmas.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Why does Nick Gillespie hate kittens?

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    He's racist against kittens! You can bet that he wouldn't take food away from a white fluffy kitty!

  • eyeroller||

    Take a peek at the chart to the upper right, which tracks the impact of sequestration over a 10 year window.

    I had to turn up my monitor resolution, but now I understand why Republicans are livid about the devastating military cuts.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    while he’s been trying to reopen the government

    Aside from the ostentatious petulance of the Park Service, would somebody please point me to some evidence of a federal government shutdown?

  • Eitan||

    Isn't the evidence of all your (or maybe just my) progressive friends complaining about the shutdown enough?

  • blcartwright||

    I needed data from the FAA website for my work. Someone was paid to take down parts of the website and put up notices that it was shutdown. Google got me to parts of it that they missed before being sent home. If they would have just walked away the website would still be running.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    Hmm, I wonder if the park services will be the first to get privatized when Republicans win in 2016?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And the $3000 in taxes it took to raise that $1000

    This cannot be repeated often enough.

  • Wizard4169||

    I heard a really great quote just a day or two ago on NPR, or all places. They talked about sequestration as, and I quote, "The recent increases in federal spending". I'm pretty sure that was a typo, but it was true. The sequester was only a cut in the Newspeak of DC; it wasn't a reduction, but only a smaller increase. If demanding a 10% increase and only getting a 5% increase is a "cut", nay a "slash", I really wish the DC mandarins would come and "slash" my paycheck. Who's with me here?

  • gaoxiaen||

    ...killing the hopes and dreams of future generations of parasites and rent-seekers.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    AKA the sponge, leech and parasite class.

    The natural constituency of liberal Democrats everywhere.

  • williamdgarcia||

    Chase. true that Luis`s c0mment is unimaginable... I just bought a brand new Mini Cooper since getting a cheque for $4588 this-past/four weeks and more than 10-k lass month. without a doubt it is the nicest work I have ever had. I actually started 7-months ago and pretty much straight away startad bringin home at least $76... per-hour. weblink ....................... www.BAM21.CoM

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement