Apocalypse-Now.jpg

Sequester Apocalypse Now

Just so everyone is prepared, you should know that the world is going to end on March 1, when the sequester cuts will kick in (assuming, as seems increasingly likely, that there’s no deal in the interim).

A quick scan of recent headlines and you’ll see that enacting the cuts will make the U.S. a second-rate military power, keep you from seeing part of the Grand Canyon, poison your food and leave you sitting on an airport tarmac for an hour and a half. Also, someone from the federal government will come into your home, kick your dog, take you off the do-not-call list, and borrow your car without filling it back up.

Of course, if you’ve paid attention to these fights before, you know that is a classic case of Washington Monument Syndrome. Threaten to cut government budgets and it always turns out that the amount you want to reduce spending by is precisely the amount that was needed to pay police, firefighters, and teachers. We  probably won’t be able to afford to immunize crippled orphans against rabies either, so you heartless Republicans are just going to have to live with the knowledge that you were responsible for the wolves rising to power in the inner cities.

As Byron York notes, the Pentagon isn’t above the scarecrow tactic:

Over many decades of defense budget battles, the Pentagon has often used a tactic known as a “gold watch.” It means to answer a budget cut proposal by selecting for elimination a program so important and valued — a gold watch — that Pentagon chiefs know political leaders will restore funding rather than go through with the cut.

So now, with sequestration approaching, the Pentagon has announced that the possibility of budget cuts has forced the Navy to delay deployment of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf. With tensions with Iran as high as they’ve ever been, that would leave the U.S. with just one carrier, instead of the preferred two, in that deeply troubled region.

“Already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf,” Obama said at a White House appearance on Tuesday, in case anyone missed the news.

Some military analysts were immediately suspicious. “A total gold watch,” said one retired general officer who asked not to be named. Military commentator and retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters called the Navy’s move “ostentatious,” comparing it to “Donald Trump claiming he can’t afford a cab.”

The situation isn’t much different stateside. As Jennifer Rubin points out today, the upshot of the sequester would be domestic discretionary spending at a level 10 percent higher than when President Obama took office.

If you can’t pull off the basic functions of government at that funding level, it’s fair to ask whether the real problem is legislative irresponsibility or executive incompetence.

  1. BlueAnt

    Aircraft carriers?  How very 1940′s.  Real men fight wars with drones and executive kill lists.  

    Or so I’ve been told, anyway, over the last few years.  I would hate to think the press was lying about its value!

  2. Roberto
    Troy Senik, Ed. Threaten to cut government budgets and it always turns out that the amount you want to reduce spending by is precisely the amount that was needed to pay police, firefighters, and teachers.

    Now some might think this would be a ruthlessly clever tactic but sitting here in California I just have to chuckle, amateurs. Now this is how the pros bilk the taxpayer:

    Say you run the California Department of Parks and Recreation, now if anyone even hints at touching your budget you go ahead and shut down 70 parks to achieve the “necessary state budget savings”. This is despite the fact that 20 years of budget surpluses has left you with upwards of $54 million dollars in your hidden slush fund that no one knows about.

    When the proles start to get uppity sometimes you just have to send a message.

    Forgot the best part. Gov. Brown  campaigning all year for a tax increase, “The stark truth is that without new tax revenues, we will have no other choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts.” 

    It passed by 53.9%.

  3. Dave Carter
    C

    “Just so everyone is prepared, you should know that the world is going to end on March 1, when the sequester cuts will kick in (assuming, as seems increasingly likely, that there’s no deal in the interim).”

    This means no income taxes this year, right?  Or should I file an extension just to be safe?  

  4. KC Mulville

    If we don’t keep the funding up to top levels, they may have to cut back the Department of Education or the Department of Energy.

    And what a disaster that would be, right?

  5. Nick Stuart

    The $86,000,000,000 that is to be cut is about 2% of the Federal budget.

    Lest anyone forget, virtually every wage-earner took a 2% cut in wages starting the beginning of this year with the restoration of the FICA tax back to it’s earlier level.

    A kick in the shorts, but not the end of the world.

  6. flownover

    Bring it on. We need to sequester more often ,if it hurts it must be working !

  7. Tuck

    “…it’s fair to ask whether the real problem is legislative irresponsibility or executive incompetence.”

    I presume this is rhetorical, as it’s clear that both have been the case for many, many years…

  8. Troy Senik, Ed.
    Tuck: “…it’s fair to ask whether the real problem is legislative irresponsibility or executive incompetence.”

    I presume this is rhetorical, as it’s clear that both have been the case for many, many years… · 0 minutes ago

    Well, yes, but I was referring to this specific case, with “legislative irresponsibility” referring to letting the sequester go through and “executive incompetence” referring to the idea that you couldn’t effectively run the federal government at the post-sequester funding levels.

  9. The King Prawn

    Funny how part of the “solution” is to cut me back to 64 hours per pay period when I’ll be finishing a 111 hour pay period tomorrow. No, we can’t just not show up one day a week and still get everything done.

  10. Tuck

    Given the circumstances, I think letting the sequester go through is very responsible of Congress.  I hope they carry it through.

    We’ve been listening to Chicken Little haranguing from DC about cutting spending for long enough.  Let’s see what really happens.

  11. Nathaniel Wright

    As Nick wrote, “Lest anyone forget, virtually every wage-earner took a 2% cut in wages starting the beginning of this year with the restoration of the FICA tax back to it’s earlier level.”

    Let me be clear, we need to have a BALANCED APPROACH. The average American Taxpayer had their taxes increased by 2% with the end of the Payroll Tax Holiday. We need government to cut 2% from its budget.

    Balanced.

  12. mask

    If the sequester goes through the government budget will only be 10% larger than in 2009.  This years budget would still be larger than last years budget.  Clearly this is untenable.

    /sarc

  13. mask

    So if the federal budget is cut from 3.7 trillion to ~3.7 trillion society will nearly collapse.  Maybe this is a sign that the federal government shouldn’t be involved this much in society.

  14. Jim Chase

    Party like it’s Y2K, all.  Society collapses 12:00am March 1st.  Film at 11.

  15. Nick Stuart
    Jim Chase: Party like it’s Y2K, all.  Society collapses 12:00am March 1st.  Film at 11. · 23 minutes ago

    Don’t forget to tip the barista.

  16. Last Outpost on the Right

    If it weren’t for the hype from Fox News, CNN and the rest of the MSM, I’m not sure anyone would care either way. Of course they’re going to do that because it drives ratings. But why is anyone (especially the conservatives) watching their garbage?

    It’s only a crisis if people react irrationally. They only react irrationally if they believe the hype.
  17. Larry3435

    “Of course, if you’ve paid attention to these fights before, you know that is a classic case ofWashington Monument Syndrome. Threaten to cut government budgets and it always turns out that the amount you want to reduce spending by is precisely the amount that was needed to pay police, firefighters, and teachers.”

    And Big Bird.  Don’t forget Big Bird.

  18. Fred Cole

    I’ve found it extremely heartening to see people on the Right seeing through the Gold Watch thing.  Or rather, seeing it for what it is.

  19. Steve C.

    Let’s see what happens. Maybe the desperate bleating from the administration is because they fear the result. Suppose they gave a sequester and nobody noticed!

  20. dash

    apocalypse-brando2.jpg

    The horror…the horror…

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