It shocks us to the core to say this, but it appears as though politicians in Washington D.C. are actually going to let “the sequester” take place after all – albeit belatedly.
What is “the sequester?” For those of you who care about how your money is being spent, it represents $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts spread over nine months beginning in March of this year (or roughly $25 billion less than lawmakers originally pledged to cut in FY 2013). Half of these cuts would come from our bloated Pentagon budget, the other half from discretionary spending.
Part of the 2011 “debt dereliction deal” – which permitted our government to blow through $2.1 trillion in new deficit spending in just seventeen months – the sequester option was first proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama as a fallback in the event a “bipartisan” commission couldn’t agree to targeted cuts. The deal was simple: Congress was supposed to offset its $2.1 trillion debt ceiling hike with dollar-for-dollar cuts including $1.2 trillion in “sequestered funds” over a ten-year period from 2013-2022 and another $900 billion from 2019-2021.
Of course when we say “cuts” we really mean reductions in government’s deficit-driven excess …
Does Obama still believe the sequester is a good idea? Of course not. In fact he continues to bemoan its “massive automatic cuts” as he urges Congress to once again take a pass on exercising even a modicum of fiscal discipline.
Is Obama’s hysteria over the impact of these reductions justified?
Not even remotely.
According to The Wall Street Journal, during Obama’s first two years in office “federal domestic discretionary spending soared by 84 (percent) with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets.”
Like we said … “reductions in excess.”
And while spending has tapered off slightly with “Republicans” controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, we’re still looking at discretionary spending growth of more than 30 percent over the last six years – of which the “sequester” will scale back only one out of every six dollars. And while this modest reduction in excess is a far cry from the draconian cuts our government really ought to be making – it is a very, very, VERY small step in the direction of fiscal sanity.
So here’s a “golf clap” for the sequester … assuming our government actually follows through with it.