By now, even the most politically oblivious has heard the word “Sequester” and rumblings that these “spending cuts” could be the worst thing ever since ever.
To prove the point, ICE released hundreds of illegal immigrants, the Pentagon is canceling the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, and thousands of federal workers may be furloughed, etc., etc., doom and gloom.
But is it really that big of a deal?
And then there’s this visual representation of the sequester and other relevant fiscal issues.
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If the sequester cuts hurt, it’s not because they are massive, but because politicians and government employees suck at fiscal responsibility. We have not had a budget in four years. Congress has few actual Constitutional duties: ratify treaties, declare war, advise and consent to the President’s appointees, and pass a damn budget. The iPad didn’t exist last time Congress passed a budget (or rather the Senate passed a budget; the House has passed budgets–plural.) Are there better ways to cut spending than the sequester? Absolutely. Are those in charge of making those decisions capable of them? Nothing in our experience would lead any rational person to that conclusion.
I’ll note the sequester is very real to my family and me. My husband works at an agency that says furloughs will take place if they can’t find the required cuts elsewhere. We face a not insignificant paycut through October. We are making decisions and plans to account for that. (Like that lovely amazon search box in the sidebar. Support my kid’s education, search through my site.) It’s not nothing for us.
But this isn’t nothing either: We have a national debt (how much we’ve borrowed and have to pay back, with interest) of $16,611,000,000, give or take. This year, the government will take in about $2.5 trillion in taxes and spends about $3.6 trillion. so we’ll add that $1.1 trillion deficit to that debt. It is obscene the amount of debt we are racking up and leaving to our children.
Moreover the sequester is not cuts as you or I understand “cuts”, it’s a reduction in the rate of the growth of spending. Meaning the government will still spend more this year than last, and more the year after that than the next year, they will still be running deficits and still be adding to the debt our children and grandchildren will have to pay. And this is before factoring in the tsunami of entitlement spending as more and more Boomers are eligible for Social Security and Medicare and as Obamacare kicks in.
So when I see stories about how the sequester means no more military flyovers at sporting events, or how Congress is going to have to fly commercial like the common folk (you can bet your hind quarters it won’t be coach), then I start seeing red. We’ve endebted our children and our unborn grandchildren, and we’re whining about this piddly stuff? When we’re in this bad of financial shape, with record number of people on food stamps and ridiculous levels of unemployment, not to mention underemployment, it shouldn’t take a legislative stunt like the sequester to cut flyovers and fancy trips for legislators.
So what do we call the “drastic and severe cuts” of the Sequester? A start.