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Two Questions for Obama, Before the Sequester Hits

“The “sequester” is the Washington word for the $85 billion in 2013 spending cuts set to hit starting March 1″ – FOX News

“It’s a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies…” – CNN

“It’s a package of automatic spending cuts that’s part of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011.” – Washington Post

“…That would set off a chain reaction of automatic spending cuts” – Reuters

 

Every one of those news blurbs is incorrect.
The spending cuts are nonexistent.
In fact, spending will increase over time, whether or not the sequester happens.

Allow me to explain.

Should the sequester go into effect, spending will still increase, just not by as much as it would have WITHOUT the sequester.  In other words, the sequester involves cuts – not to the number of dollars that we will spend next year – but to projected budget increases.

I dare anyone to find me the “spending cut” in this graph.  But what about all the people who are predicted to lose their jobs if and when the sequester hits?  If we’re really going to lay off hundreds of thousands of government workers (perhaps not a terrible idea, depending on who they are and what they do), it’s not necessarily because the folks in charge have less money to work with.And even if budgets really were shrinking (as they should, in order to cut the debt) – good managers are able to do more with less.  If none of our managers are even slightly capable of this, the workplace culture is wrong and we probably ought to fire the CEO!The sequester shrinks our budget projections – not our actual budget –  by about 2% over 10 years. Does that sound “catastrophic” to you?  Does it look like it will “force” hundreds of thousands out of their jobs?  Does it sound like the Obama administration had no other choice but to release “waves” of illegal immigrants out into the general population?  Does it look like we’re flat out of money for safety services like air traffic control?  No?  Well, that’s fearmongering for ya.  And speaking of baseless fearmongering, here’s some more:

According to Forbes: “[President Obama has said that] the sequester would represent “a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.” Obama’s White House has also referred to the sequester as “devastating,” saying its cuts would “imperil our economy, our national security (and) vital programs that middle class families depend on.”NewAngelaMorabitoIcon

This begs two crucial questions:Why is the middle class depending on government programs?  That’s not how freedom is supposed to work!

Every American worker just took a 2% cut to their paycheck on January 1st of this year.  Does he seriously mean to tell us that the government can’t deal with the exact same thing the American people have JUST been through? We can take it, why can’t the people who are supposed to be working on our behalf do the same?

Please answer these, President Obama.  Manufacturing crises is not a leadership strategy.  In fact, it’s deceitful.  We’re all waiting for truthful answers, for a change.

Angela Morabito | Georgetown University | @_AngelaMorabito

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10 Responses

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  1. Christopher Rushlau
    Feb 27, 2013 - 05:33 PM

    Having read your essay, and the comment from the “jail the illegals” man–11 million of them?–I think the question now becomes, who is this one percent that is running this lynch mob? You have have read “The Oxbox Incident” in a sociology class. It’s claim is that a lynch mob needs a coalescing force, which in the novel is a retired army colonel who legitimizes the western frontier lynch mob, calling itself vigilantes, that strings up the wrong three guys for cattle rustling. This colonel was a new-comer, well-meaning in the worst sense of the word: in a word or two, damn ignorant. Arrogant. Speaking too soon.
    There is another sin of speech. Not speaking until too late.
    I think the clock has run out on lynch mob justice. Globalism has turned the outer darkness in which the lynch mob operates into a brightly lit shopping mall.

    Reply
  2. Ceecee
    Feb 27, 2013 - 05:29 PM

    Ok, I’m going to explain this as simply as possible.
    First, in Washington DC speak, when spending stays the same or rises less than the rate of inflation from one year to the next that is called a “spending cut.” Thus, explaining the spending chart you sight in your article.

    Second, when you furlough federal workers, be they DOD civilians, Air Traffic controllers or Federal Meat Inspectors etc., you cut income for these workers. This lower income will cause these families to spend less. Less spending on articles like food, clothing and gasoline will start a cascade that will reverberate down through the economy. For instance, did you know that without a federal meat inspector on duty, a meat packing house cannot open for business? What happens to these workers who are unable to work? Do you think these workers families will be spending money on buying “extras” or dining out? Highly doubtful wouldn’t you say? Contrary to the popular conservative belief, the economy is driven from the bottom up, not the top down.

    Third, Democrats did not manufacture this economic mess. The REPUBLICAN congress under George Bush manufactured this crisis by taking a projected surplus under the Clinton Administration and turning it into a multi-trillion deficit. George W Bush was the great stealth spender. G.W. played a shell game by never incorporating the cost of either the Afghan or Iraq wars, or Medicare part D in his budgets (not to mention TARP). Under G.W. and the REPUBLICAN controlled Congress, both the Afghan and Iraq wars were paid for by congressional emergency appropriations (in other words BORROWED MONEY). The REPUBLICAN congress raised the national debt limit 7 times without complaint (doubling the national debt) while deregulating the financial markets and cutting taxes for the top 2 percent of earners. All with the goal of dismantling all of the social safety programs that the poor, elderly and disabled depend on. When President Obama came into office, he incorporated the price of both the Iraq and Afghan wars in his budgets. Thus, the budget increase that conservatives complain about. In reality President Obama has actually spent billions if not trillions LESS than the Bush Administration.

    As for the sequester, 174 House Republicans voted in favor of the Budget Control Act on August 1, 2011 (that included sequestration). Seems to me that Republicans OWN the sequester as much if not more than the President. Now Republicans are trying to prevent Defense cuts by proposing massive cuts to social programs like Medicare, Social Security, SNAP, WIC and TANF. All in keeping with the Republican long term goal of ridding America of all social programs.

    Lastly, middle class families are NOT dependent on government programs! Middle class families are dependent on their JOBS. Congressional Republicans and their wealthy donors (like the Kock brothers) are hell bent on stifling the economic recovering thus keeping unemployment high and wages low for working Americans. Fact, wages for American workers have remained flat for the last 30. Meanwhile, the top 1% percent has reaped the benefits of the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.
    Wake-up girl, stop listen to and reading propaganda in the conservative eco-chamber.

    Reply
    • Ceecee
      Feb 27, 2013 - 06:08 PM

      oops should be;

      Congressional Republicans and their wealthy donors (like the Kock brothers) are hell bent on stifling the economic RECOVERY thus keeping unemployment high and wages for working Americans low. Lower and middle class wages have remained flat for the last 30 YEARS. Meanwhile, the top 1% percent has reaped the benefits of the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.

      Reply
    • gearjam
      Mar 06, 2013 - 11:12 AM

      Clinton Surpluses: Problem is that there were no surpluses. According to the Treasury department’s website that lists the deficits by year, the government never took in more money than they spent. Actually, the last time the government produced a surplus was during the Eisenhower administration and the Coolidge administration produced surpluses for their entire term. To claim somehow that with base line budgeting that a cut in new increases is a cut of money is absurd. Do not allow ideology and loyalty to party to dictate common sense!

      Reply
      • Ceecee
        Mar 12, 2013 - 11:45 AM

        “Do not allow ideology and loyalty to party to dictate common sense!” I could say the same to you. I am not one for party loyality. If the Clinton surpluses were non-existent, then the Bush administration spent us even deeper into the hole. The amount of waste, fraud and abuse by the Bush administration is absolutely mind-boggling. Nine (9) BILLION dollars “missing” in Iraq with no accountable. It’s obscene.

  3. Christopher Rushlau
    Feb 27, 2013 - 05:25 PM

    99%

    Reply
  4. Christopher Rushlau
    Feb 27, 2013 - 05:24 PM

    Let me do a Johnny Carson bit and answer the question before hearing it. I read the title of your essay. Here’s my answer. A cliff-edge rescue will occur, and the public will once again be distracted from Israel’s being at a dead end and needing to establish equality and justice as its foundation, replacing Jewish supremacy, but the real story is the US racist establishment that uses Israel as a disposable shovel to dig a big hole in the side of Asia. That establishment commands broad loyalty in the US: Gallup says 99& of us think an Iranian nuclear program is a threat to the US. That’s not the US of laws and reason, but the US of lynch mobs.

    Reply
  5. Jack Penland
    Feb 27, 2013 - 11:27 AM

    Bravo, Ms. Morabito! Though this may sound counterproductive, I have to say that even without a degree in Economics, it’s easy to see through the lies. As a former restauraunt manager and co-owner of a small business, I can offer several suggestions to the problems facing the gentleman I like to refer to as our “Comrade-in-Chief.” First, I am outraged by the release of criminals in Arizona in anticipation of budget cuts. I have an alternative: Given the Obama’s apparently insatiable appetite for vacations on the taxpayer dime, (to the tune of more than $20,000,000 so far), how about the First Family of Thieves dials back their little version of “Camelot Revisited?” They are, after all, multi-millionaires in their own right, and the Presidential salary is not affected by the sequestration cuts. (Big surprise there, huh)?
    Let us not forget that the “free cell phone” scam, which while laudable in it’s intent, is so rife with corruption that an estimated forty percent of the beneficiaries are ineligible. There is a savings of nearly a billion dollars, given the still unplundered budget of this boondoggle. That would keep a good many illegals in jail. (That last statement was something of a redundancy). I’m not worried about the threatened cutbacks of Border Patrol personnel, since this Administration lets ‘em out faster than the Patrol can put ‘em in.
    One last misconception that I would like to put to bed, that of this country being a “Constitutional Republic.” It has not been one of those since 1913. As for a proper term for what we have at present, I’m torn between “Oligarchy,” and “Plutocracy.” It’s kind of hard to have the one without the other, sort of a chicken and egg type thing; One is a small group holding the reins of power, the other a small group controlling the money. Logically, if you have the power you have the money, and if you have the money you have the power. Like I said, chicken and egg. But while I digress, I did manage to get in a free plug for another of my pet gripes.
    Once again Angela, well written post. Perhaps some of your less informed (and more gullible) contemporaries will read this and wake up. Perhaps not, if you are like me and find the company of idiots an exercise in forbearance, which I’m not very good at even with people I like.
    Thank You, RSVP if you wish.
    Jack Penland

    Reply
    • Ceecee
      Feb 27, 2013 - 05:54 PM

      Obama’s vacations are chicken feed compared to those of George W. Bush’s. It is estimated that GWB 20 Million taxpayer dollars for flights on Air Force One back and forth to Crawford. GWB spent 490 days at his ranch in Crawford and 487 days at Camp David about 4 months of vacation a year. By contrast, from January 2009 to October 2012 President Obama spent 72 day on vacation. That’s about 10 weeks in 3 ½ years. So your argument falls kind of flat Jack.

      Reply

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