And when the Republicans opened the seventh seal of the sequester, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black and the stars fell unto the Earth; and our nation's ability to forecast severe weather, such as drought events, hurricanes and tornados, was seriously undermined. Lo, and the children were not vaccinated, and all the beasts starved in the zoos, and the planes were grounded.
—Editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal
A friend of mine who works in government says that his agency will not be affected by the sequester—not even people who work on contract will be hit.
But this is a largely invisible agency—one that does a job that is for the most part unnecessary, too, by the way. Even my friend admits that. But he knows why his agency is safe: the president is determined to make the (minuscule!) cuts that the sequester will require as harmful as possible.
Former senator Phil Gram has a piece on “Obama and the Sequester Scare” in today’s Wall Street Journal:
President Obama's message could not be clearer: Life as we know it in America will change dramatically on March 1, when automatic cuts are imposed to achieve $85 billion in government-spending reductions. Furloughed government employees, flight delays and criminals set free are among the dire consequences the president has predicted. If the Washington Monument weren't already closed for repairs, no doubt it too would be shut down.
Scare tactics such as these are similar to the ones that were made when I co-authored the first sequester legislation in 1985, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. The 1986 sequester was triggered anyway, but the predicted disaster never came. The nation survived then. It will now.
The president's response to the sequester demonstrates how out of touch he is with the real world of working families. Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year, and 30% more than it spent in 2007. Government spending on nondefense discretionary programs will be 19.2% higher and spending on defense will be 13.8% higher than it was in 2007.
For a typical American family that earns less than it did in the year President Obama was elected, the anguished cries and dark predictions coming out of the White House should elicit not sympathy but revulsion.
The only question about the sequester is whether President Obama will make it as painful for the American people as possible to make a point. The point is the same point—the only point—he ever makes: we need to raise taxes on rich people. Doing so may be bad for the economy, but the president wants to scratch his ideological itch.
The administration has already made some dramatic and harmful (and unnecessary) moves that it chalks up to sequestration.
How low can he go?