Sequester Shenanigans

As surprising as it may be, we’re now standing on the precipice of yet another budgetary showdown over the exact same thing. Well, at least the cable networks are happy...

Back in January after the whole “Fiscal Cliff” debacle in Washington, I wrote about how we’d face the exact same man-made problems later in the year, unless Congress found a way to resolve its ideological issues relating to cooperation and work on reducing the deficit. Well, it didn’t happen. As surprising as it may be, we’re now standing on the precipice of yet another budgetary showdown over the exact same thing. Well, at least the cable networks are happy.

The Sequester is a bipartisan agreement entered into last year to force both sides to the table in the Budget Control Act of 2011 if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach a compromise. It was comprised of a series of cuts that would be so broad and encompassing that Republicans and Democrats would have to negotiate lest their respective gold geese end up on the chopping block. It was designed to be unpalatable, unforgiving, and to make sure that lawmakers found a way to fund our commitments to our defense and social obligations while reducing the deficit. These cuts didn’t just spring up overnight, but have been years in the making after the failure of the super committee. This means Congress now has to work together with the President to find a solution.

Now, it may seem obvious that the best way to do this would be moderate revenue increases coupled with trimming parts of the budget, but that would make too much sense. Instead of going the moderate route (something our Congressional Republican Caucus is rarely accused of) it is back to the “no new tax” song and dance that’s become so commonplace. Of course, if you’re unwilling to raise taxes, you have to be willing to cut programs. If you’re unwilling to cut defense programs… Well, then you’ve kind of run out of options.

Republicans in Congress are out of options. That is why they’ve kicked the can down the road twice now and will likely do it again. At this point, there is very little left to cut that isn’t defense spending or critical obligations and programs. The “pork” that the Right is quick to demonize is an extremely small amount of the budget and is almost statistically irrelevant in the face of these cuts. That’s not to say that there isn’t pork spending programs which couldn’t be done away with. I’m sure there are and I’m sure we’ve got programs in Gwinnett County that don’t seem like “pork” but ask people in Alabama or California and they might disagree.

We need to find a solution this week. There has to be a compromise which balances both new sources of revenue with spending cuts. President Obama has been forced into a constant campaign cycle, much like Ronald Reagan, because Republicans refuse to work with him on a plan and criticize any plan he puts forward. Republicans have refused to look at anything but social programs. Nothing will be acceptable to them but President Obama adopting their plan. Until they decide to start governing by looking at corporate tax loopholes and the need to invest in our population (smart growth in education, transportation and, gasp, defense) it’ll be what it is.

Act childish if you want but if Congress chooses to balk and let the Sequester go through, expect the repercussions to come down on your heads. Contributing to this monthly man-made crisis cycle that we’re growing accustomed to isn’t going to win you an election in 2014.

Reprinted from 5th District State Sen. Curt Thompson's (D-Tuckerblog. Thompson represents parts of unincorporated Duluth, Norcross, Tucker, and Lawrenceville. Also, check the Senator out on Facebook and Twitter.

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Good Grief Y'all February 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Taxes didn't increase on the rest of us. Congress just refused to extend the temporary payroll tax holiday. Holding the middle class hostage again. It's the only thing Congress does well.
Robbi McCaig February 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Because the President has forgotten he’s already been elected and he’s been campaigning across the country to defeat his own idea, there are too many sources to quote regarding the dire consequences President Obama sees if the sequester, or Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), isn’t averted. So without individual attribution here are some of the services we will lose. Local first responders–fire, police, EMS. Teachers. Military “readiness” and “preparedness.” Airport security and TSA. Homeland Security. Border Patrol. FEMA, FDA, NASA. (Wait a minute, wasn’t NASA killed last year? Here’s one that’s for sure going to save money: the National Drug Intelligence Center, still slated for a $2 million cut to a $20 million dollar budget. Buy it was closed on 6/15/2012. Why does it need a budget?) FBI, NRC, the federal prison system, SEC. Sounds awful, until we notice that these “cuts” come out of a budget that’s already scheduled to increase more than the cuts amount to. And that Republicans have offered to give the President emergency authority to allocate these cuts in ways that are “least harmful.”
Good Grief Y'all February 27, 2013 at 02:26 PM
He's taking this to the people because the people send representatives to Congress. Congress already knows what needs to be done, just won't do it. Maybe some of the people will pay attention. President Obama was roundly criticized for not adequately explaining ACA. Now he's accused of campaigning as he's getting the message to the people. This should have been resolved last Fall. It's not like they didn't know it was coming. NASA's not dead. It's just not burning any more money to send manned spacecraft up and out.
Robbi McCaig February 27, 2013 at 08:30 PM
The "cuts" are less than 2%--probably less than if the average household cut desserts out of their monthly budgets. But to Obama, EVERYTHING has to be a scare tactic. Now he's saying he knew nothing about all the ILLEGALS that Sebelius released today which was another scare tactic hitting on the securityangle. Of course, he wouldn't sign the House offer to let him prioritize where the cuts should be because he wants NO cuts, only MORE spending.
Bluedobee February 27, 2013 at 09:34 PM
If the people in the White House, were really concerned about the people of this country, they wouldn't be using scare tactics to threaten us about the effect of the cuts. Instead they would be reassuring us that they would do everything to make sure the cuts didn't hit services that effect the people. If the people in the White House, were really concerned about the people of this country, they would look at this as an opportunity to get the administration in order by eliminating waste, streamlining processes, improving procedures and eliminating unnecessary (no value) spending. If the people in the White House, were really concerned about the people of this country, we wouldn't be in this mess......


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