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The Sequester’s Impact And Future

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

The first workweek under sequester begins. We’re touching down around the country, and in Washington for the impact and where this goes.

Following a closed-door party caucus, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, and GOP leaders meet with reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26 2013, to challenge President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts that take effect in four day. (AP)

Following a closed-door party caucus, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, and GOP leaders meet with reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26 2013, to challenge President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts that take effect in four day. (AP)

The sequester is here. It was meant to be the doomsday option, a set of cuts so grim that just the threat of it would spur lawmakers to compromise. But that’s not how it worked out.

Now, we’re in the sequester’s first workweek, and the new fiscal reality is taking shape. Most furlough notices, out today. We’ve heard warnings of snarled airports, jobs lost, food plants shuttered for lack of inspectors. Is it hype, or a new reality? How hard will these cuts hit? And is there any hope of a new plan from Washington?

This hour, On Point: the sequester’s impact and future.

Guests

Ben Mutzabaugh, covers air travel and the airline industry for USA Today. (@todayinthesky)

Chris Imbach, president and CEO of CTI Resource Management — a defense contractor that has laid off 39 employees since learning two weeks ago that their largest Navy contract would be scaled back.

George Safferans, CEO of Rogers Poultry, their plant near downtown LA processes 30,000 to 40,000 chickens a day.

Chuck Babington, covers Congress for the Associated Press. (@cbabington)

Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner. (@byronyork)

From the Reading List

The New York Times “President Obama and Congressional leaders emerged from a White House meeting on Friday without resolution to the budget impasse, meaning that the across-the-board spending cuts that take effect Friday could remain in place for weeks if not months.”

CNBC “A House agriculture subcommittee chairman acknowledged Wednesday that there’s “a possibility” some meat plants could be idled if there’s a mass layoff of USDA food inspectors under sequester cuts, although the lawmaker suggested a better solution would be rolling furloughs of some of the 8,500 meat inspectors.”

The Washington Post “In the war of words over the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, the administration has portrayed a grim picture of long lines at airports and closed airport towers if the required reductions at the Federal Aviation Administration are allowed to proceed.”

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    BOTH sides (Democrats and Republicans) had months to reach an compromise agreement and showed themselves irresponsible and lacking the leadership that they spend so much money winning elections with by not doing so.  Perhaps we should put the nation’s governors in charge.  It seems that most of the states (Illinois being an exception), regardless of the political party actually occupying the governor’s mansion and the capitol building, are able to come to agreements because they are not allowed to deficit spend and kick the can down the road as occurs at the national level.  Rather than simply blame the other party, states seem generally able to come to resolution.  Many states still are irresponsible in terms of future obligations (pensions) because of being able to operate on a cash rather than an actuarial basis where money must be set aside for future pensions based on earned obligations rather than when the pension actually will be paid.  But just about anything has to be better than what we currently have.

  • Fredlinskip

    After yelling at top of vocal capacity, “don’t worry about silly 2008 crash, don’t worry about bailing auto industry, don’t worry that every GOP admin between 1960 and ’08 increased debt to GDP (while every Dem admin decreased it), don’t worry that W increased the debt very nearly as much as all previous administrations put together (a claim they somehow tried to pin on Obama?), WE“VE GOTTA CUT SPENDING”. 
    “SPENDING, SPENDING, SPENDING” cuts will cure all ills.
    In House, “sequester” (Budget Control Act )passed with 218 Republicans votes- No Dems voted for it.

      Now we are forced to enact those cuts and, GOP are saying, “who me?- we don’t want that stinkin’ sequester”.
     “Obama’s idea, Obama’s idea- any pain inflicted to economy or individuals is his fault.”
    PLEASE!
     
    Will the day come when GOP elects an adult???

  • StilllHere

    Fact:  The sequester was born in the administration.
    Fact:  A majority of Democrats in Congress voted for it.
    Fact:  More Republicans in the Senate voted against it than Democrats.
    Fact:  The president signed it.
    Fact:  The Democrats rejected a proposal to give the president more flexibility in making the necessary cuts.

    While Democrats can play politics and ignore the facts, the chose this path and they deserve the majority of the blame for the consequences.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Thank goodness The Republicans would never “play politics and ignore the facts”. They continue to choose hanging the majority out to dry while rewarding the most lecherous parasites among us as their “path” and will NEVER accept responsibly for ANYTHING.

      Still Smears…

      • Gregg Smith

        You have to admit Drew, the feckless Republicans clinging to the one chamber of one branch are pretty awesome to thwart everything. Add to that the genius of GWM and his ability to still at this day be crashing the economy and you have to give props.

        • JobExperience

           If they tighten the tourniquet too much more their eyeballs gonna pop out.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          You’re still saying that after the most obstructionist  Senate in history, and the Teabaggers in the house passed the fewest bills ever?

          Not to mention the customary crack about how “jobs is job N+1″ to John Boehner and his Transvaginal Warriors.

          • nj_v2

            The Transvaginal Warriors…Their second album in the early 90s was their best.

        • StilllHere

          Doesn’t it make you wonder if Democrats know how to lead/govern?

    • hennorama

      StilllRecyclingHere -

      FACT: 202 (59%) of the 343 total votes for the Budget Control Act were cast by Republicans.

      The House passed the BCA on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269–161. 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted for it, while 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against it.

      The Senate passed the BCA on August 2, 2011 by a vote of 74–26. 28 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 1 Independent voted for it; 19 Republicans, 6 Democrats and 1 Independent voted against it.

      http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll690.xmlhttp://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00123

      Not that any of this truly matters.  Sequestration is a wrongheaded policy, regardless of who voted for or against it.  The sequester requires that cuts are made by the same percentage to every non-exempt area.  Efficient programs will be hacked up along with wasteful, bloated or duplicative ones.

      As another poster said recently, in part “… what this country needs is a good surgeon to cut the waste.”  The sequester is like handing the surgeon a hatchet instead of a scalpel, then requiring the surgeon to cut away regardless.

      • nj_v2

        In a way, it’s too bad, really.

        Most of what i criticize Obama about usually is about 180º opposite what the reactionary right wingers criticize him about. 

        Every so often, though, the angle narrow a bit, as it does with this sequester business.

        Obama’s guys floated this thing, yes. So now it’s more than hypocritical to hear Obama bloviate about how gawd awful things are going to be as a result of a policy he was responsible for putting into play.

        But the House Cons went along, and became partners in the national Budget Chicken game in which there will be no winners.

        So there’s really some basis for common ground with some of the self-professed “conservatives.” But when i’m faced with the mindless partisanism of hacks like StillNotAllHere, who think the Recons are preferable, any bit of optimism i might feel evaporates in the breeze.

    • Don_B1

      1) The idea of “across-the-board” spending cuts, which the “sequester” is a method of implementing, originally used by the 1980s act, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, originated with Tea/Republicans in the House of Representatives.

      2) Republicans in the House voted for it, 174 to 66, while Democrats split 95 to 95. Republicans in the Senate voted for it 28 to 19 while Democrats in the Senate voted for it 45 to 6, the two Independents splitting 1 to 1. The way you spun the data shows your are trying to distort people’s perceptions of how this went down.

      3) The President HAD to sign it in order to prevent a sovereign default by the United States.

      4) Your characterization of “flexibility” is in the eye of the beholder. The flexibility provided in Toomey-Inhofe was to allow cut amounts imposed on Defense to be moved to additional cuts on other discretionary spending (e.g., education, aviation, F.B.I., etc.) and specifically prohibits any tax increases. This includes elimination or reduction of tax loopholes, a poison pill for any Democratic Party support. Tax loopholes, government spending by giving special advantage to some tax payers over others, are usually spending on the wealthiest while direct government spending is the place where the middle and lower income people get a part of spending.

      The Republicans are “playing politics” to a much greater extent than the Democrats are.

      In other words, your diatribe is a false characterization of what is going on.

      • StilllHere

        Presentation of facts, none of which you can dispute, is not a diatribe.  I’m sorry if the facts disturb you.

        • nj_v2

          ^ Thinks citing cherry-picked factoids demonstrates something other than mindless partisanism

          • StilllHere

            ^Thinks anybody cares what he thinks.

        • Don_B1

          I explained how you misinterpreted the “facts” you presented to mean something those “facts” did NOT mean.

          “Facts,” taken without/out of context and totally misinterpreted, is a DIATRIBE ! ! !

          • StilllHere

            Facts don’t need to be interpreted, they stand on their own.  You can try to run from them, but to no avail.

  • hennorama

    Imagine what would have happened during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 (and 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) if John “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” McCain had been elected President in 2008.  It seems highly unlikely that we would be talking about “the sequester” at all.  Rather, we might be talking about ways to get out of the Second Great Depression and wondering how to keep people from starving.

    The sequester is flat out wrong-headed policy.  Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame, not necessarily in equal shares, but both sides share the blame.  Remember that we are having this discussion about “the sequester” because neither side has really negotiated in any serious way since the BCA was signed into law in August 2011.

    But remember too that we are LUCKY to be talking about “the sequester” rather than the Second Great Depression.  For all the doom and gloomers out there, all one needs to do is look at this chart, which shows U.S. Real GDP in chained 2005 dollars.

    Despite everything, the US economy continues its upward climb. 

    Part of the fuel for this climb is Federal Spending.  If one imagines the economy as a vehicle climbing a hill, the sequester is like lifting one’s foot off the gas pedal, or pulling the emergency brake. 
    Neither one is an effective technique for climbing a hill.

    • Gregg Smith

      John McCain suspended his campaign to go deal with TARP. He voted for it. The fact that we are still talking about what should have been a blip is sad. 

      Sequester has nothing to do with anything but the inability to lead and the subsequent kicking of the can. Threats and intimidation are the only tactics Obama knows. That and a irrational aversion to take blame is what has gotten us here. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        “The inability of Obama to lead” (his political opponents)…

        Green Lantern Theory alert.

      • Don_B1

        The sequester has nothing to do with anything BUT the absolute refusal of Tea/Republicans in the House of Representatives to consider ANY increase in tax revenue, particularly from the wealthy.

        1) President Obama campaigned and won two elections on keeping the Bush tax cuts for those earning LESS than $250,000 but increasing marginal tax rates to Clinton-era rates on income over that amount. That would affect about 2% of the wealthiest in the country.

        2) The “fiscal cliff” imbroglio was “resolved” with the Bush tax cuts preserved for those earning less than $450,000. This affects about 0.7% of the wealthiest in the country.

        3) Simpson-Bowles (original) called for revenue INCREASES of $2.2 TRILLION. After giving $1.2 TRILLION in spending cuts in the Budget Control Act of August 2011 to get the debt limit raised by up to $800 billion, in his opening call for resolution of the “fiscal cliff” President Obama called for $1.6 trillion in revenue increases and at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

        4) President Obama has consistently called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction, but Republicans have an extra agenda which they put at the top of their list: NO additional tax revenue, at least from the wealthy; many of their proposals WOULD effectively raise taxes on middle and lower income workers.

        It is REPUBLICANS who have the aversion to taking blame, but while it is extremely dishonest, I can’t exactly say it is irrational. What IS irrational is the Republicans’ drive to make deficit reduction the prime STATED goal, while they really only care about taxes on the wealthy and will pass further tax cuts for the wealthy as soon as they have the opportunity, no matter how much it INCREASES the deficit.

        • Gregg Smith

          That’s nuts. No one has advocated tax cuts. We don’t have an extra trillion a year laying around.

    • OnPointComments

      I don’t have the time to think about your imaginary Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 caused by John “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” McCain, because I am living the real President Barack “The private sector is doing fine” Obama’s quest for governmental control of every aspect of life.

      • hennorama

        Please come back to reality OPC. I never said McCain caused anything. I implied that he was clueless on economic matters, which is demonstrably true, using McCain’s own words.

        McCain was clearly clueless on Sept, 15, 2008 when he said “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” the very same day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Before that, back in December 2007, McCain said, “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

        He was definitely right on that count, and certainly wasn’t qualified to handle the Great Recession.

        McCain’s stimulus ideas were limited to cutting the corporate tax rate, allowing 100% expensing of business purchases of equipment and technology, and adding a tax credit of 10% of R&D wages.

        That was it. Seriously.

        He had also proposed buying up bad mortgages and other loans to sell at a profit “when the market improves” Pretty sure we’d still be waiting for that.

        • OnPointComments

          I like my reality better than the one created with the rose-colored glasses with which you view everything President Obama has done.  Was Candidate Obama clueless when he promised he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term?

          • Gregg Smith

            That is a great question. IMO the answer is no. He knew he was lying and had no intention to cut the deficit. He had no choice but to quadruple Bush’s spending because of …. I forget what. 

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY for your response.

            Whether candidate Obama was clueless or not, his stated goal was virtually impossible.

            As I’ve said before, it was obvious to even a casual observer that Federal Spending was definitely going to be high for an extended period of time given that the Great Recession was a “balance sheet recession.” It was clear from the outset that recovery would be both gradual and long in duration. I’ve called this the BBQ Recovery – low and slow.

            But I doubt very much that anyone could have gotten elected in 2008 if they had told this very uncomfortable truth – “It’s going to be a long, slow grind recovering from this mess.”

            The Great Recession was a “balance sheet” recession and completely unlike the typical “boom/bust” recessions with relatively rapid recoveries. Almost no one alive has experienced anything like the GR.

            This makes the “Why isn’t it better already?” argument effective even though it is an invalid argument.

            Much of the very difficult work of filling in the very deep hole left from the GR has already been done. The reason things haven’t “snapped back” is that most businesses and individuals have been busy paying down debt and adding to savings rather than borrowing and spending. This lack of spending has kept growth low and unemployment relatively high. It still feels a lot like a recession.

            But we see very encouraging signs that this is about to change – household debt is now lower than it was before the Great Recession; housing is showing very positive signs; the unemployment rate is staying below 8%, etc.

            The real ultimate solution is threefold – jobs, jobs and jobs.

            Regardless, we are poised for growth. We shouldn’t threaten this unfortunately low and slow growth, especially in such an indiscriminate manner via the sequester.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Why are the Republicans risking an economic setback to protect the wealthy? They insist on compromise yet they refuse to discuss tax increases on the wealthy or closing loopholes on the most powerful and profitable corporations in the world.

    Wealthy individuals got a huge tax cut with the capital gains rate under Bush going from 30% to 15%… Supposedly this was great for the economy yet it was a period of great prosperity on Walls Street, but not Main Street. Without any sound economic basis that proves these tax rates helped our economy, but with plenty of data to show how it added to our deficit and increased inequality in America, what are the Republicans thinking of except their personal interests and those of their Billionaire and Corporate donors?

    And then there is fact that the majority of the American people who are for ending this welfare for the wealthy.

    The GOP has gone mad.

    This cleptocracy has to end!

    • Gregg Smith

      Yea, if the rich would just pay a little more, we’d be fine.

      • JobExperience

         And the corporations and banks too, plenty more.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        I am not saying we’d be fine with that alone, but please tell me why are the wealthy, who have prospered, paying lower tax rates than you or I? Why are millionaires and billionaires entitled to pay extremely low taxes?  Why should those who are strong and growing stronger not participate in strengthening this country’s economy?

        And then there are the corporations with record profits paying Cypher, Zero, Ziltch in taxes? And the loopholes that have promoted shipping jobs overseas? How is that American?

        Under higher tax rates, this country prospered. Under Dubya’s extremely low tax rates, the middle class has shrunk, debt skyrocketed and we nearly had a complete economic collapse.

        Why should sacrifice only trickle down upon the middle and lower classes?

        • Gregg Smith

          Millionaires and billionaires pay millions and billions in taxes. They pay way more for infrastructure and everything else than anyone. 

          • Don_B1

            When their INCOME has nearly TRIPLED over less than 30 years while the income of the 98% has gone up a measly 20% (and that of the lowest 20% has actually DECLINED, the fact that those with multiple $millions and $billions in INCOME should be paying more than 20% of their income in taxes.

            Their INCOME is more dependent on that infrastructure than the income of lower-income workers, also.

          • Gregg Smith

            You say tripled like it’s a bad thing, like they took it from the poor. 

  • jimino

    Doesn’t the sequester do exactly what the Republican base has been calling for, and really on a pretty small scale relative to what I hear all the time?

    So why aren’t Republicans in Congress celebrating this as a victory?

    • Gregg Smith

      They are.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        You’re right. Those two little words “They are” demonstrate everything detestable about the current collection of nutjobs that call themselves Republican. They act like a bunch of five year old children that pitch a tantrum every time they don’t get their way and then celebrate gleefully when they obstruct progress. Those who put their personal agenda (Get HIM OUT!!!) before the best interests of the country are not Patriots, they are traitors.

        • Gregg Smith

          The best thing for America would have been if Obama lost and was not our President. Even Hillary would have been better. He should be stopped at every turn.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Thanks for reinforcing my point. You don’t give a damn about your fellow American. You don’t give a damn about people unnecessarily becoming homeless or starving. You don’t give a damn about crimes against others because they aren’t UhMerUhCan.

            What do you give a damn about? Your personal agenda, your personal beliefs, and your unjustifiable hatred of one man. It’s childish.

            Now go ahead and whine about me putting words in your mouth. Go ahead and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about after your reply clearly demonstrated my initial point.

          • Gregg Smith

            Actually I think you just proved my point above.

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/03/04/sequester#comment-818837748

            As to your current claim, I’ll just repeat what I wrote to Fredlinskip on another board: “You’re right. I don’t give a $hit about the planet, Slavery was justified, women should have no rights. You pegged me.” 

          • JobExperience

             Confession is good for the soul.

          • Gregg Smith

            I know, right?

            Since Drew didn’t make those specific charges, I should add that I don’t care a wit about my fellow man, crime or starving people.

          • JobExperience

             So “starving the Beast” applies only to Black presidents. I could diss Hillary  some more (with good cause) , but that was how our elections got bought up: “dissin’ with the brain missin’.”

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s sick.

    • hennorama

      jimino -  I only see one group enjoying the sequester, at least in public.  You’ve pointed them out in general, although one might further reduce the public celebrants to some TEA shindiggers.  They’re having a “party” aren’t they?

      BTW – celebrating and getting pleasure from inflicting pain on others or on oneself is the very definition of sadomasochism.  This has been pointed out by others.  Even Ali Velshi on CNN’s Your Money called the sequester “a sadistic and perverse experiment” on this weekend’s show.

      See:http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2013/03/02/ym-ali-velshi-forced-spending-cuts-law.cnn

  • Jeff Kew

    With taxes at all time lows, these demands for spending cuts instead of a slight increase to what would still be very low tax rates, historically speaking, seem ridiculous to me.

    • Gregg Smith

      Taxes are not at all time lows and the rich are paying a higher percentage of the overall bill than ever before.

      • NewtonWhale

        “the fact is that federal tax rates had fallen to the lowest in 30 years when President Barack Obama took office — and fell again in his first year in office.”

        http://www.factcheck.org/2012/07/tax-facts-lowest-rates-in-30-years/

        Check out the graphs, Gregg.

        If the rich are paying more of the overall bill it’s because they have realized almost all of the gains in the last 30 years.

        Corporate taxes are way down, and we are now running the federal government as much on the payroll tax as on the income tax.

        The payroll tax is the most regressive.

        • Gregg Smith

          What I wrote is true, where am I wrong?

          All of your graphs are from before Obama.

          • NewtonWhale

            No, Gregg, they’re not.
            Look again.

          • Gregg Smith

            The last 2 end at 2007 as does one of the 2 of the second. The first ends in 2009. What is the relevance? 

            Again, what I wrote is true.

          • NewtonWhale

            You said “All of your graphs are from before Obama.” That’s not true.
            You misread the chart labeled “Share of Federal Tax Revenue”. It does not end at 2007, it goes to 2010. Which means 3 of the 5 are from AFTER Obama’s term began.

            As for the income inequality charts that stop in 2007, even you cannot seriously believe the situation has improved since then.

            If you really are ignorant of that fact, this article should help you out:

            “Income inequality was on the rise in 2011, as the only group to experience a statistically significant increase in their total share of income were the top 20% of households. That group saw their share of all income climb by 1.6%. The top 5% of households saw their total share of income increase by 5% and the top 1% by 6%.”

            http://pennbpc.org/census-data-number-americans-without-health-insurance-falls-amid-middle-class-struggles

          • JobExperience

            He’s looking in drawers for his upsidedown glasses. Everyone who can read should know that Eisenhower era rates on the wealthiest exceeded 90%.
            “And we liked it!”

          • Gregg Smith

            Eisenhower’s rates brought in less revenue that GWB’s.

          • JobExperience

            It was enough to pay off WWII and Korea. Inflation… duh!

          • Gregg Smith

            … as a percentage of GDP. Sorry, should have been clearer.

          • jefe68

            The population of the US in the 1950′s was about 150,700,000.
            In 2000 the it was 281,421,906.

            There were more people paying taxes during Bush’s presidency than Eisenhower’s.

            There is a Forrset Gump quote in here somewhere… 

          • Gregg Smith

            And the GDP was higher too. The simple explanation is higher rates don’t bring higher revenue.

          • nj_v2

            There’s no arguing with stupid.

            “Never argue with a fool. They’ll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

          • nj_v2

            At one point, FDR proposed a 100% (yes, 100, that’s not a typo) on income over $25,000 (equivalent to about $350k now).

            The compromise was 94% and remained in the low 90s. through the 50s and part of the 60s. You know, the period of greatest economic expansion in the country’s history.

      • adks12020

        It’s not about the percentage of the overall bill.  It’s about percentage of overall income and the rich pay significantly lower percentage of their incomes than they have throughout the past century. http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-tax-rates

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t see why that matters. Are you suggesting the rich got rich at the expense of the poor?

          • Don_B1

            Exactly! ! !

        • OnPointComments

          You are wrong.  The rich do not pay a significantly lower percentage of their income than they have throughout the past century.  See the article referenced in my comment above.
           
          The graph in your link is for tax brackets, not the average tax rate that was paid on a person’s income.  First, the top tax bracket in 1944 was only on income greater than $200,000, which today is equal to about $2.5 million.  When you count the effect of lower brackets and income exclusions, the average tax rate in 1944 of the richest U.S. taxpayers was close to 40 percent.

    • OnPointComments

      “Taxes On The Rich Near 30-Year High: Tax Policy Center”
       
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/03/taxes-on-the-rich_n_2801206.html 
       
      Excerpt:
       
      “Tax bills for high-income families rarely have been higher since the Congressional Budget Office began tracking the data in 1979. Middle- and low-income families aren’t paying as much as they used to.  Those tax rates, which include income, payroll, corporate and estate taxes, are among the highest since 1979.
       
      The average family in the bottom 20 percent of households won’t pay any federal taxes. Instead, many families in this group will get payments from the federal government by claiming more in credits than they owe in taxes, including payroll taxes. That will give them a negative tax rate.”

    • S_Mangion

       Jeff
      a belated note:
      In Mass we have the option to pay State income taxes at a higher rate that the stated rate.  A miniscule number of people pay the higher rate.
      To me that seems something about the people’s willingness to pay more taxes when they are given the option. . . .
      (And – any comments about the Hollywood tax breaks that were part of the “fiscal cliff” deal.  Breaks that the Administration wanted . . . )

  • Gregg Smith

    From what I’m reading I see a few emerging excuses. There is the ol’ standby: “Policies of the past” (Bush) got us here. Others are laughably trying to make the argument the spending is not really that bad and on par with other administrations. The notion seems to be we can just raise taxes and be fine. It’s the greedy Republicans stopping it. There is also the, “this is what they want” argument as if any cut is a good cut. No one said that.

    But why no talk of jobs? That is the answer. This administration is hostile to business. The idea that we can cut enough spending or raise taxes enough to do squat is as insane as the notion this sequester is even a cut. 

    If this blog is an indicator (thankfully it’s not) then the American public is wholly and dangerously ignorant about the state of the economy. We have a growing entitlement class and a growing dependency class. Our collective work ethic is disappearing but we can’t talk about it because that means you don’t care for your fellow man. We have blacks killing each other at alarming rates and 70% of black families don’t have present fathers but we can’t talk about it or you’re a racist. We have unsustainable entitlements but it’s not in our face right now so any talk must be demonized as evil to the elderly. We have Obama care and regulations out the wazoo decimating job growth but bring it up and the libs say lack of regulation caused the banking crisis. We have some crazies actually saying slowing the rate of growth (sequester) is hurting GDP. It’s insane. 

    This sequester is nothing and the fact that Democrats have the country so worked up about a non-solution makes any attempt at a real solution impossible.

    • JobExperience

       When your parents’ SS and Medicare shrink, are you gonna pay the freight, or call for DNR? The “past” is more than a budget problem when you invent it daily.

      • Gregg Smith

        “Shrink”? They will disappear if not reformed.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Your hyperbole about them rightthisveryminute, and the right’s dedication to destroying them via “reforming” them, are of concern.

          • Gregg Smith

            Do you believe they are sustainable as is?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Until you demonstrate you’re not one of the righties who wants to destroy SocSec and Medicare, I almost don’t care what you think.

            You seem very comfortable with buying into the hyperbole about these programs. There are people in the middle and on the right dedicated to destroying them, and they all use words like “strengthen” and “reform” and “preserve”.

            It’s not “as is”. There’s always a little adjusting to be done for long-term security. But there were great fights about a decade ago (edit: concerning marginal tax rates, I believe) with non-lefties of all sorts taking seriously the idea that numbers created by changing Tax Rate X by a few Percentage points in 2001 would have predictable, bank-on-it results thirty or forty years in the future.

            The press reported this in the same certain tones you or I would if we were at a cash tag sale with $30 in the wallet after haggling a bowling ball down to $25 and also a coat rack down to $20. ( The economic illiteracy was stunning. I simply don’t want a repeat of that now.)

            To paraphrase the Jay-Z song, this government has a number of problems to address soon, but SocSec and Medicare aren’t two.

          • Gregg Smith

            I’ll take that as a “no”.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Whatever. I’ll take your priorities the way I seem ‘em.

          • Prairie_W

            The money that goes into the “entitlement” programs is ours.  The way it works is that we are supposed to get — in return — specific services.  SocSec and Medicare/Aid will be around as long as we want them around, and on our terms. 

            As long as Americans allow the gov to decide for us, it will decide — a decision too often made by lobbyists and often badly. 

            The part of “government” that is composed of Republicans in the House, for example, is way out of sync with the taxpayer.  Polls show — over and over again — that a truly vast majority want entitlements to be left alone.  We pay for ‘em; we should get ‘em. 

            “Sustainability”?  Just the same as environmental sustainability.  Depends on us.  What I don’t want is some d… some darn corporate-supported politician telling me that I should want a “free market solution.”  For a start, “free”+”market” has (unfortunately) become a contradiction in terms.

    • Prairie_W

      Policies of the past don’t exclude Bush, but they go straight back to WWII.  Oh yeah, and beyond!  I think we’re historically uneasy with democracy.  Now the right would like to ditch it altogether.

      To quote you with a correction:  “The sequester is nothing but show. The Republicans, who have built this mess on one fake crisis after another, have the country so worked up about a non-solution that it makes any attempt at a real solution impossible.”

    • StilllHere

      When did Obama’s job’s panel last meet? 

  • Shag_Wevera

    This series of cliffs, waterfalls, and armaggedons seems like scripted theatre to me.  I feel like they know what’s going on and I haven’t a clue.  All I can do is try to minimize and live simply.  Evil, greedy people control our society and I believe my best strategy is to stay under their radar. 

    • JobExperience

       It just seems that way when the population is like gerbils in a Habitrail. Meet you at the wheel cage.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      So true – look at the horror of the impending fiscal cliff, with intractable sides unwilling to give an inch. Averted at the last minute with some of the most bipartisan votes we’ve seen in a very long time. We’re being played.

  • JobExperience

    On Point and DRShow appear to be two halves of the same brain. (Topics in tandem) Those neuron bundles may be located halfway between DC and Baltimore just off 295. Too bad Homeland Security never really feels the cuts. Maybe Dr. Ben Carson could excise the storming tissue and end the frenzy. Nope, he ain’t that smart.
     

  • JGC

    Tax Dodges of the Rich and They-Really-Prefer-Not-to-be-at-all-Famous:

    “Last year, about $450-million belonging to top executives at billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson’s New York firm made a quick round trip to Bermuda.  In April the executives sent the money to a reinsurance company called  PaCRe they’d set up on the island.  By June, PaCRe had sent all the cash back to New York, to be invested in Paulson&Co. funds.  By recycling the funds through Bermuda, which doesn’t levy a corporate income tax, the Paulson executives are positioned to exploit a little-known loophole, reducing their personal income taxes and delaying paying the bill for years.

    At a time when the Obama administration and congressional leaders are calling for a corporate tax overhaul that would eliminate some loopholes, the tax dodge of using reinsurers  - which provide coverage for other insurers rather than the general public-  is gaining popularity among hedge funds…a tax lawyer says the law should be changed. “These types of reinsurance companies are permitting U.S. taxpayers to defer -indefinitely- U.S. tax.” – from Bloomberg Businessweek, A Hedge Fund Tax Dodge Uses Bermuda Reinsurers, by Zachary R. Mider, 21 Feb 2013.

    Bottom line: Prominent U.S. hedge fund managers have moved billions through reinsurers in Bermuda since 2011, reaping big potential savings on taxes.

    So much for all the taxes being raised by increasing taxes on “the rich”. The super-duper plutocrat rich (not your garden variety $200,000 per year income “chump change” rich) are extremely clever at generating loopholes to protect their ever-increasing income gap between them and the Little People. They are washing their billions through the New Bermuda Triangle, letting the money grow tax-free;  In the meantime, they and their lobbyists are trying to figure out a new tax-avoiding loophole to extract their money at a later date.

    CLOSE THE LOOPHOLES. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I know it’s different than what the National Review guy said on Friday (imagine that) but Beltway observer Ezra Klein, who often seems to be auditioning to be The Next David Broder, says:

    “Republicans won’t agree to further tax increases and so there’s no deal to be had. This is not a controversial perspective in D.C.: It’s what Hill Republicans have told me, it’s what the White House has told me, it what Hill Democrats have told me…they all agree that that’s the key fact holding up a compromise to replace the sequester.”

    But it’s unpopular for Republicans to simply say they won’t agree to any compromise and there’s no deal to be had — particularly since taxing the wealthy is more popular than cutting entitlements, and so their position is less popular than Obama’s. That’s made it important for Republicans to prove that it’s the president who is somehow holding up a deal.

    This had led to a lot of Republicans fanning out to explain what the president should be offering if he was serious about making a deal. Then, when it turns out that the president did offer those items, there’s more furious hand-waving about how no, actually, this is what the president needs to offer to make a deal. Then, when it turns out he’s offered most of that, too, the hand-waving stops and the truth comes out:

    Republicans won’t make a deal that includes further taxes, they just want to get the White House to implement their agenda in return for nothing. Luckily for them, most of the time, the conversation doesn’t get that far, and the initial comments that the president needs to “get serious” on entitlements is met with sage nods.

    So there we are: The two sides of CW on the sequester are “Both sides need to be exhorted to compromise (because the press corps can’t say “Republicans don’t want to compromise now” in public)” and “Obama needs to get serious on entitlements”.

    Yay liberal media!

    • Don_B1

      The beginning of the source article is almost as important as the bottom line section you quote. From Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/02/this-is-why-obama-cant-make-a-deal-with-republicans/

      the reader sees just how Republicans keep making demands, then, at least when talking to a knowledgeable and conscientious reporter (few and far between these days) is informed that President Obama already has met that demand, “clarifies” his demand with further demands, only to find that that demand has also been met, and on and on.

      In other words, Republicans never fail to fail to get to a “deal” because they do not want a deal.

      What other group does that remind you of?

  • Gregg Smith

    Wouldn’t Simpson/Bowles have been better?. 

    • J__o__h__n

      If Obama pushed for it the Republicans would move to the right and call this plan “socialist” like they did when he passed national Romneycare. 

    • Shag_Wevera

      Smokin bowles would’ve been better, for sure.

    • Don_B1

      Name ONE, just ONE, Tea/Republican who would vote for S-B (or BS, your choice).

      Actually, Obama has offered spending cuts at near S-B levels and only asked for 75% of S-B revenue increases.

  • AC

    i’ve been wondering if this is going to ruin the republican party so badly, they will not recover for several decades. who on earth is advising them?
    this is going to be a painful lesson, but one i think is probably needed, the cliche ‘you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ comes to mind….

    • Gregg Smith

      That is exactly what you are supposed to think. 

      • StilllHere

        The media does Democrats bidding.  Republicans are fighting a two front battle.

        • DeJay79

          Media does common sense and logic. But yes the republicans are fighting on two sides.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Does “media” include talk radio across the country and Fox News?

        • northeaster17

          I’d like to refer to this very show as far as who is being served. Where is a voice from the left?  The press is big money corporate. Been that way for a while now. Are you guys even listening? I think not.

        • AC

          i like it when i hear the main stream media say this about the main stream media. i’m like ‘am i really the only one noticing this & giggling’ ?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The sequester is nothing but the latest front in the ongoing class war. Under the camouflage of deep concern about “the deficit”, which is just a concept that doesn’t impact the real world, the right is pursuing the destruction of the progress made since 1929 and the redistribution of more wealth to the top. I’m afraid the outcome is clear. Our Rockefeller republican president will offer “entitlement reform” (aka cuts to essential programs) in exchange for some chump change or imaginary tax revenue, and the pols will pat themselves on the back for the “grand bargain”. I watched  the sunday talk shows and every participant agreed that “entitlement reform” is a must. In the DC beltway echo chamber and the corporate media, you can’t say that cutting SS and medicare is class warfare, and that offering the kids less than what we have is generational warfare. Anyone want Ryan groupons instead of real medicare?

    A big part of the propaganda is to hide how far we’ve departed from middle class America. They lie about how the “makers” are struggling under such tax burdens that asking them to pay a fair share wd kill the economy. Here are the essential facts that should begin every discussion:In 1967, when the middle class was riding high, the top 1% got 9% of the total income and paid a top marginal tax of 78%, and an effective rate of 54%. Now, after 33 years of voodoo econ, the 1% get over 20% of the total income and pay a marginal rate of 39% and an effective rate of 23%. If you’re a romney type financial con man, under 13%.

    If we simply taxes the plutocrats at 1960s rates and instituted national health care, the big bad deficit wd melt away without any screwing of the middle class.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    If we can’t cut such a relatively small amount without projected disaster, they are going to need to admit we’re past the point of no return and we’re on a unwavering course of ever increasing debt until we crash.

    Or that it’s mostly all hype.  One or the other.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Why cut anything in a struggling economy? This is the time to spend more.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        Tell that to Greece – or UK – or Spain

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Do you really want to compare the world’s largest economy, controlling the world’s reserve currency, enjoying record low borrowing costs, to greece and spain? That’s ridiculous! Sounds like a case of righty talking point poisoning.

          In the UK they are slowly catching on that austerity kills growth to the point that cuts don’t even appease the big bad deficit god.

        • Don_B1

          To compare the U.S. economy to Europe’s problems indicates you have a profound ignorance of economics.

          1) Greece did effectively run two sets of books to hide spending so as to over-borrow in a currency it does not control. It is “the exception that proves the rule.”

          2) The U.K. was recovering nicely from the 2007-2009 Great Recession until the Cameron-Osbourne Tory (conservative) government adopted austerity policies, cutting the government spending that was critical for spurring the recovering economy. The U.K. economy dipped into negative growth for the third time (second since the Great Recession and during Tory control) due to Chancellor Osbourne’s profoundly ignorant ideological austerity policies. A rebel Tory group is building to force those policies to change.

          3) PRIVATE banks in Spain borrowed heavily from PRIVATE banks in Germany and France to finance real estate overdevelopment bubble, which crashed with the financial crash in the fall of 2008. The Spanish government was running a SURPLUS before then, but the bubble popping led to a big drop in tax revenue and a jump in safety net (unemployment, etc.) spending. But with construction wages high because of the previous over-demand, Spain needs to deflate relative to other European countries but cannot because it has the SAME currency, which is also why those German and French banks lent all that money to Spain’s banks in the first place.

          So drop this big canard out of your repertory of arguments from ignorance. Maintaining/defending Tea/Republican economic ignorance will get you nowhere.

    • Bruce94

       The real driver of debt is escalating health care costs, which the sequester does little or nothing to contain.  The sequester is less about addressing our national debt than it is about protecting tax loopholes benefiting the wealthy.  It’s more about the debt of gratitude owed by Congressional conservatives to their wealthy, corporate benefactors than it is about creating or maintaining job opportunities for their less well-off constituents. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Funny they still don’t call it austerity.

  • jefe68

    Of course the people with least will suffer the most from the dysfunction that is rampant in Washington.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/us/politics/poor-face-most-pain-as-automatic-budget-cuts-take-effect.html?hp

    On the up side for corporations, which are now people too, the recovery is giving them record profits. Not much in job growth. 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/business/economy/corporate-profits-soar-as-worker-income-limps.html?hp

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

    • Gregg Smith

      They can’t hire or expand, they’re too busy gearing up for Obamacare and looking for friendlier business environments overseas.

      • jefe68

        That’s sick….
        In all seriousness your day in and day out Republican memes are tiring and it does not matter what one says as you will post some version of the right wing talking points you seem to be so ingest with vigor.

      • adks12020

        Many corporations CAN hire AND expand but they won’t. They learned to do with less during the recession and now that they are making huge profits they don’t want to cut into those profits. There is a big difference between CAN’T and WON’T.

        • Don_B1

          The “learning” was largely that they could extract more work from their employees in longer hours and no more or lower pay.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Is it disfunction, or class warfare functioning very well?

      • jefe68

        Well I’m inclined to think that it’s about special interest coupled with a dysfunctional Congress that is what brought us to this mess.

        I sometimes wonder if we are witnessing functional government. That maybe our experiment with democracy has failed. We would not be having these problems if we had a parliamentary system.   

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Follow the money. This will end with “entitlement reform”.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Or if we had an Actual Democracy. Time for the Democratic Republic System to go the way of the GOP. No District gerrymandering, no Voter Disenfranchisement, no Electoral Hoo-Hah…Sounds great to me!

          One Citizen, One Vote.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Vanity.Glamour.Cosmetics Patrick Boltinghouse

    The Sequester is nothing more than a fear tactic … Sadly I would suggest that people stop fearing the loss of a few funds and realize even the homeless in America still have a better quality of life than most common welth in 3rd worlds! http://youtu.be/4Z9WVZddH9w I would suggest moving forward, and taxing those that have the power to give … Possibly the World Bank might think about a WVATax (World Value Added Tax) … as Markets are free, and the butterfly effect is real. Money is nothing but an exchange of energy, and the common welth has alot of energy to give weather it is volunteered of taxed!

  • J__o__h__n

    Why cut back at the busy airports?  Cut service to rural airports which are usually in red states that support cuts.  Be somewhat bipartisan and close John Murtha’s airport. 

    • Gregg Smith

      Privatize airport security the way they do in San Francisco. It’s safer, more efficient and cheaper.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Privitization is a panacea.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          (Do you mean placebo?)

        • northeaster17

          Prioritization has become a goal in and of itself. Results are not part of the equation.

      • nj_v2

        Greggg puts on his FreeMarketeer Cape to post more simple-minded nonsense.

        Yep, no problems with making the safety of the commons subject to market pressures. No chance that the need to make profits would create pressure to cut corners. Nope.

        http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/08/staff-cuts-have-gouged-major-holes-security-airport-screeners-claim

        Staff cuts have gouged major holes in security, airport screeners claim

        Airline passengers may hate paying for checked bags, but screeners for the company that runs security at San Francisco International Airport say that if airlines hadn’t happened to change their fee structures, behind-the-scenes baggage inspections would have become impossible long ago.

        Approximately 50,000 bags traverse SFO each day, but company whistle-blowers allege that Covenant Aviation Security employs far too few screeners to inspect them properly. Two weeks ago, following a year of inquiries by The San Francisco Examiner, federal officials allegedly began investigating SFO’s baggage screening operation.

        Six Covenant screeners allege that dozens to hundreds of bags identified as bomb threats are loaded onto planes leaving SFO each day without human inspection. The breaches are largely due to staff size, screeners say.

        “We’re here for one reason — to inspect suspicious bags — but we can’t do our job,” said one longtime screener. “People burn out working downstairs because there’s not enough help.”(snipped)

        • Gregg Smith

          They do better than most.

    • OnPointComments

      I’ve wondered how much federal spending would decrease if it was illegal to name anything built with tax dollars after anyone who has held elected office.  We might not even have a John Murtha airport.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.newton.3956 Peter Newton

    First work week?! That is the REAL problem: Whose working? The REAL crisis in this country is JOBS, and that includes the fooles in DC concerned with ONLY keeping their own donored up.  If we can’t folks BACK to work, they might not need the assistance spending that many of us were ONCE getting, but have been cut off because we can not donate to campaigns. And, IF we were working, we’d be PAYING more taxes, generating MORE revenue. And then, there are ALL the kids who have graduated into no job who should be working and contributing to revenue. Instead, they are sitting at home worried about their student debt they can’t pay on mowing lawns. And last, we need to make sure those jobs pay near what they used to, then the taxes will balance out to what they were in 2007 in General Revenue and FICA taxes. Instead, we live a perpetual funeral scene in the movie MASH. EVERYONE in the White House and in Congress should be unemployed, but they are running it like a Wall Street business: It’s ALL about them.

  • toc1234

    “Flying will be less safe?”  Really Jane?

    • StilllHere

      That’s not fear-mongering ; )

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The supposed impact is incredible – but in terms of total spending it’s such a small amount. To get the government’s house in order they would have do things magnitudes larger than the sequester. The sequester would have to be a tiny little start of something so much bigger. But they supposedly can’t even handle this.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    This show is pathetic.  Didn’t onpoint get the memo?  The scare mongering didn’t work for Obama last week.

    btw -  the industry pays for inspections so cutting USDA inspection wouldn’t save any government spending and is therefore purely for show.

    • jefe68

      And yet they could be furloughed. 
      You don’t know what is going to happen.
      That you think this is a good thing speaks more to your ideology and less to how to get a balanced deal.

      Cutting everything will not balance the budget and over the long term the US government will not be able to function. Is this what you ultimately want?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         If they end up being furloughed it is 100% on Obama.  He had 18 months to lead on finding $84B in spending cuts that don’t cut essential services.  IF the executive branch is doing their job they will find the savings.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          “He had 18 months to lead (his opponents)”.

          More Green Lantern Theory?

        • jefe68

          No ti’s not. They made cuts, more than they raised taxes. The GOP say no to everything. That was their agenda since Obama became president. They will not say yes to anything. They want government to fail, that’s clear to me.

        • Don_B1

          Asking President Obama to “lead the House Republicans” is like asking anyone to “lead a dead mule.”

          The Republicans do NOT want a deal:

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/02/this-is-why-obama-cant-make-a-deal-with-republicans/

          The Republican complaint about leadership is a deceptive feint in their war on the 99%.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    I hate seeing cuts on social security processing or other entitlement service. 

    However, I am quite happy to end any military spending in my state. Politicians and people who run this country just do not realize we are approaching foreign policy in an obsolete way. We cannot effectively influence other countries by military mean anymore… that is English style… 

    In today’s world… the way to do it is economic mean. that is what china is doing. until we change our ways of doing things… we will keep enriching the military contractors in this country. we can certainly use this military funding and divert it to other needs, especially job training, science, and innovation.

  • JGC

    The quantitative research being done by Dr. Martin Gilens, professor of politics at Princeton University, helps explain the frustration we feel at our ineffective government, how even as we loudly demand change to reflect our diminishing economic status, we feel we are not being heard at the national level. And no, we are not imaging it at all:

    ‘Dr. Gilens, who focused on the divide between the top 10 percent and everyone else, found a high degree of what he calls political inequality.  “I looked at lots of survey data that indicated what people at different income levels wanted the government to do, and than I looked at what the government did,” Dr. Gilens explained. “For people at the top 10 percent, you could predict what the government would do based on their preferences. But when the preferences of people at lower income levels diverged form the affluent, that had no impact at all on the policies that were adopted. That was true not only for the poor but for the middle class as well.”

    This gap in policy preferences…is the explanation for one of the most puzzling and worrying consequences of rising income inequality – its correlation with falling social mobility…The catch comes when there is a choice between personal self-interest (deficit reduction, the minimum wage, free trade, regulation, progressive taxation where the affluent are more conservative than everyone else) and the expensive institutions of greater social mobility. And that is when the supercitizens opt to pull up the opportunity ladder behind them.’  - from an article by Chrystia Freeland of Reuters, 28 Feb 2013 

  • Human898

    I find it amazing that less than a week after the beginning of the sequester, people are talking about how there is no impact and how the White House was wrong.

    In addition, if Republicans are now saying defense cuts are meaningless and actually needed, how does that play with decades of Republican calls for a need, not to cut defense spending, but to increase it?

    It’s incredulous that some seem to believe no one sees this!

    This is why I became a former Republican.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why is Obama engaging in false equivalence?  He isn’t in the media.  Both sides aren’t to blame.  Didn’t he learn that over the past four years?

    • DeJay79

       He is taking the higher road.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    So the discussion is between a reporter and Byron York? Can’t we have a real lefty for balance?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       memo to TF, Byron York is a reporter.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        How familiar are you with his water-carrying on Fox? “Reporter” can cover anyone, by your use of it.

        Hey, and while we’re on the subject of who is a reporter, so was Jeff Gannon.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           I’ve never heard of Jeff Gannon so your point is lost on me.

          You appear to have the ‘kill the messenger’ syndrome.  Just because Byron reports on a painful subject (ie, Washington politics) you attack him.  As I recall, he spent much of the last year covering the GOP primary.

          Do you recall where his reporting has been off base?  Regarding Fox, he was usually a guest on Greta’s show on a panel with other reporters (from ABC, WaPO and other outlets).

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Try this about how loosely the rules for right-wing hacks / reporters are observed inside the Beltway.

            And I don’t want to get carpal tunnel pointing out how much crap Byron York has shoveled.

            Fox News is what a journalism-ignorant person’s idea of journalism is.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             I still haven’t heard of Jeff Gannon but thanks for the link  (I think :) ).

            You do understand that FoxNews is segmented into both hard news and opinion shows?  You come across as an ignorant rube when you denigrate the entire network because you don’t agree with a few of the opinion shows.

          • Ray in VT

            Jeff Gannon was the “reporter” from Talon News Service who got a White House press pass.  It turns out that Talon was, I think, just the creation of some right wing guy, and Gannon was not a reporter, but he had been an escort.  If I recall correctly, he asked former President Bush some pretty friendly questions.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            The “Fox news is segmented into hard news and opinion shows” riff is a stale riposte.

            The tissue-thin “wall” separating them grows weaker by the month. Fox is in business to do one thing, and journalism ain’t it.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sounds like you are describing the NYTimes on most days (at least during election years).

    • jefe68

      And to show you how far right some people who post here are they will keep going on about how left wing Tom and BUR are. Amazing. 

      They could have had Senator Bernie Sanders or Katrina vanden Heuvel on.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    “If it’s so bad (John Boehner) then why are you supporting it?”

    Ding, Ding, Ding!!! We have a winner folks!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      They all supported it. The “story” that they were going to go back and “fix it” is looking pretty thin at this point.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We all know this was a pre-designed way for the two parties to make fiscally necessary cuts, without either having to “take the blame” and put their name to any specific cuts.

    And we still celebrate our “two-party” system….

  • hennorama

    John Boehner is completely mendacious when he says “I don’t know whether it’s going to hurt the economy or not”.

    There’s a word for what came out of his mouth that’s a bit more profane than Boehner’s recent expetive deleted.  It rhyme’s with “full mitt”.

    • jefe68

      John Boehner and his party are all nuts, or at least they are doing a good job of proving that they are.

  • 65noname

    great!!!!  typical government radio “balance.  A middle of the road straight reporter and avright winger known for his extremist anti-people writings.

    • nj_v2

      Add in the bump-on-a-log acuity of Ms. Clayson (asked back after her fine job with the 9/11 “Conspiracy” program a while back…) and you have ample reason to tune out of this one.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Good point – if you want to look at who is not going to be affected by the sequester, look at Wall Street.

  • Human898

    Where are people going to put their money, except where they still have a chance to earn money?  It will all come crumbling down if people invest, but the things they invest in simply sit on the capital instead of using that money to invest in America, especially in employment of Americans. Without jobs, Americans have no money to in turn, be consumers, to buy goods and services or pay income taxes. That can’t go on indefinitely without eventually crashing even the upper levels since money at the top has to represent real value, meaning a someone actually producing or doing something aside from trading paper. Jobs and employees do not simply mean an expense for employers, but create consumers at the same time.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Where did the Tea Party go? There should be a voice out there saying the sequester is really nothing in the total scheme of things and they had wanted cuts that were much, much bigger.

  • Human898

    “Here we are” and there is no impact??????    Here we are March 4th only 3 days after the sequester began.   Is someone suggesting that is enough time for the chain reaction of cuts to have an effect?

    Here it appears the Republicans have already broken out the champagne in the same way they have measured curtains for the White House in the last several elections, only to find out they lost.

  • JGC

    I wasn’t sure how Congress itself will be directly affected by the sequestration.  From the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States:

    ‘Based on preliminary estimates from the OMB, the amount “sequestered” would be at least 8.2% of the annual FY 2013 appropriated level for all covered accounts, such as Member Representational Allowances and committee allowances.  By the time a sequester could be triggered, 3 months of FY2013 will have already passed…as a result, the effective rate of cut to each covered account for the remaining 9 months of FY 2013 could reach 11 percent.’

    More at cha.house.gov   Click on “Guidance on Automatic Sequestration – Committee Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions February 2013″

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Hey – let’s talk about balancing the budget! LOL

  • andreawilder

    There will be food hoarding as some inspectors vanish.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      You know where all that horse meat in Europe is headed…

      • andreawilder

        Ah….problem of getting through the airports.

        :)

    • hennorama

      Who needs to hoard?  There are about 300 million firearms in the US, so we can arm every able-bodied adult as a “hunter.”  Of course, gutting, skinning and butchering is much harder than squeezing a trigger.

      What’s in season?

      On second thought, maybe this comment is more appropriate for Hour 2 “Inside America’s Gun Culture.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “It’s legal things. The debt limit does get hit…”, per York.

    Okay, guest host: Ask this guy how many times he said “Debt limit” when GWB was running things.

  • http://twitter.com/biblioteq_tress la bibliotequetress

    Anyone who tries to blame the executive branch as that commenter just did is a fool or dishonest. Why this is was clearly drawn a few days ago by Ezra Klein. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/02/this-is-why-obama-cant-make-a-deal-with-republicans/

    • JGC

      Brilliant!

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Caller Ellen “Completely Disgusted” regarding Congressional Immunity to their own Insanity. I’m with you!

    • hennorama

      DrewIn Georgia – while I agree with the spirit of your post (“Congress should feel some pain too”) it’s not their fault that they can’t cut their own pay.

      Congress cannot change their own compensation (up or down) until another House election has taken place, due to the 27th Amendment, which reads:

      “No law, varying the compensation for the services of Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

      The idea of this Amendment, which took 203 years to be ratified, was to reduce the obvious potential conflicts involved if Congress was able to raise their own pay at any time.

    • JGC

      They can’t cut their own pay, but they will feel the sequester impact on their staffing. See below “I wasn’t sure how Congress itself will be directly affected…”

  • http://twitter.com/biblioteq_tress la bibliotequetress

     I was a federal employee for many years until a few weeks ago. The past three years, I have worked hundreds, maybe over a thousand, hours of unpaid overtime so I could assist our needy clientele and compensate for years of hiring freezes and staff reduction. “Fat cat federal employee” is a joke.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      These days “fat cat” means you’re working.

    • JGC

      Thank you for your service.

      By the way, here is what the Committee on House Administration has to say in response to the question, “If i furlough an employee, can he/she still come into work?”:

      ‘No, if you have decided an employee is furloughed, he/she cannot perform official duties (either at the office or at home).  According to the Anti-Deficiency Act and certain House rules, an employee cannot volunteer service.’

    • GrueneJim

      Congratulations for taking the first step toward change. It must be difficult to admit you spent so much time performing activities that did not contribute any value to the taxpayers who faithfully paid you.

      • Jeff in Connecticut

        I find this post quite offensive, directly attacking the poster, who provided free services to needy citizens.

  • Bruce94

    Recycled from Fri:  The sequester is less about “deficit reduction” and more about protecting tax loopholes and rates on unearned income exploited by the super rich and corporate America.  The Tea Party zealots and gutless GOP leadership’s refusal to put tax reform and new revenues on the table is just the latest example of Republican abdication in the service of individual wealthcare and corporate welfare.

    The last time sequester was attempted during the reign of Saint Ronald in 1985, we witnessed a quadrupling of the national debt.  Past experience may not be a guarantee of future performance, as they say, but the “we only have a spending problem” crowd ignores two realities:  it’s not nominal debt per se, but the debt-to-GDP ratio that counts AND indiscriminate budget cuts like the sequester can impose huge social costs when aggregate demand in the economy is weak and unemployment is high with stagnant wages as is the case at present.  Look at the effects of austerity in Europe for a possible scenario that we in the U.S. don’t want to replicate.

    The irony is that these cuts are likely to slow economic growth and increase unemployment while shrinking the safety-net available to our citizens during tough times.  Yes, the sequester is stupid, but also it could be politically and socially destabilizing while at the same time contributing to more uncertainty in the business community and financial markets–uncertainty which even most conservatives decried before the Tea Party zombies came back to life after they were badly beaten in the last election.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Absolutely. As i always say, follow the money. Sequester = class warfare, and it will end with “entitlement reform” = more class warfare.

  • Elizabeth_in_RI

    Finally – someone willing to state the real problem! We the People! We all want low taxes, but don’t you dare touch my Social Security, my Medicare, etc. And oh yeah make sure my highways are smooth, flights are on-time and safe, etc., etc. We need to address Entitlements (i.e. make cuts) AND raise revenue (let’s start with our insane tax system).

    We the People need to stop shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot by making unrealistic demands on Congress – and then hold them to account. Make them start working – for us and in general (I’d love a 3 day work week and a 5 day paycheck like Congress gets!) It’s time for “grown ups” to take charge…

    • OnPointComments

      I watch a lot of C-Span, and it doesn’t leave me with the impression that the members of Congress are a hard-working, intelligent group.  Can you imagine telling your boss, in the midst of a crisis, “I think I’ll take a month off now,” as Congress routinely does?   In the comments below, la bibliotequetress says the term “Fat cat federal employee” is a joke; she’s wrong — members of Congress are the quintessential fat cat federal employees.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      There is no need to cut essential retirement programs (aka “entitlement reform”) and pass on a crippled version to our kids. No no no. That is the DC beltway echo chamber.

      • Elizabeth_in_RI

         Assuming you are blasting the idea of “entitlement reform” consider this. When Social Security was created, the average life span was significantly less, and people tended to live in extended family homes (i.e. less expensive life styles). Now we have people retiring at 62, and living for 10, 20 or 30 years on SS, after having likely been supported by their parents while they were growing up and going to school. That means that a fair number of people are taking out FAR more than they put in. Anyone familiar with a Ponzi scheme will realize that is not sustainable for too long (I FIRMLY BELIEVE IN SOCIAL SECURITY – so please no screaming!) We need to recognize the new realities, which unfortunately include the loss of private pension plans, little personal savings, and falling wages for many workers as the global economy reaches deeper into our pockets (I keep wondering where the tipping point will be before workers can’t afford these products and services and there really is a middle class revolt) and figure out a way to make it work over the next generation or two – rather than just for the next 5 or 10 years.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Sorry Elizabeth, I don’t mean to be rude, but those are all the righty talking points. Fact is the trust fund is good for 15-25 years with no cuts and worse case scenario after that doing nothing is a 25% cut. Why so vague as 15-25? Because it’s impossible to predict economic performance that far out! Nobody has a clue of what things will be like in 10 yrs.

          The right likes to talk about all the demographics you cite as if we just discovered it, and throw “ponzi” around. No, unlike the economy, it’s easy to make long term demographic projections. In the 80s the boomer retirements and longer lifespans were easy to see coming, and SS was adjusted accordingly. It’s all included already!

          The reason SS even has a small long term problem is that, with 30 years of  redistribution of income to the top, more income is above the cap than was in the 80s projections. So, the obvious solution is to raise the cap, not to cut (aka “reform”). SS could be fixed forever with the stroke of a pen.

          Have you heard a call to raise the cap coming out of DC lately?…..funny, neither have I. Wonder why? Could it be because it would ask the rich to pay more? There is no other program on earth as well funded as SS, and the fact that it pops to the front burner in a discussion of a short term economic crisis proves that the real agenda is class warfare.

          • Elizabeth_in_RI

             Unfortunately due to the decades of “kicking the can” the trust fund is largely a myth too part of the debt we owe ourselves (remember Gore’s Lock box was tossed out by the FL Secretary of State and the “Supremes”)…but that’s another problem. And quite frankly SS is not nearly the growing problem that Medicare is. Especially since Congress hand cuffed Medicare by not allowing it to negotiate drug prices. In addition the complete lack of transparency (and insanity) in medical pricing means that even if Americans wanted to be good healthcare consumers, there is no way they can do it. With the current trend of “a pill for whatever ails you”, the absolutely horrible diet the industrial food complex has convinced us is our only option (laced with addictive fats, sugars and salts), and aging population, Medicare costs (one of the Entitlement programs) will lead us down the rabbit hole. We need to include the Defense budget!!, revenues and entitlements if we really want to reduce our national debt. Until then, we’re just kicking the can, again….

        • GrueneJim

          The average Social Security recipient gets $1,100 a month. Maybe the real problem is the cost the bureacracy is imposing on all of us working people. Everyone gets old but that is not the problem.

          • Elizabeth_in_RI

            Hmm, and how much does the average worker pay into the system each month? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 probably. Who would pay the difference without those government workers paying into the system? Where should those people get jobs? And why is it that every one thinks that the “private sector” is so darned efficient anyway? Government shedding of jobs at all levels is part of what is driving our continued high unemployment levels – and the private sector isn’t replacing those jobs despite most corporations making record breaking profits!! Maybe when we stop demonizing government and lionizing the private sector we actually start dealing with the overall problems!

    • nj_v2

      This post is incoherent. The basic premise that “we the people” are making self-contradictory demands of Congress is nonsense and ignores the corruption of the system by powerful, monied interests.

      We absolutely do not neeed to cut social welfare programs. Fraud and mismanagement certainly needs to be rooted out, but basic, foundational services should not be cut, as they are minimal as it is. Relatively minor tweaks (such as altering the Social Security cap) can solve the problems in those programs.

  • StilllHere

    Taxes were increased by an estimated $200 billion starting in January and we can’t even get $40 billion of spending cuts for the balance of the year. It’s incredible.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    We’re going through chaos and damaging a struggling economy in the name of a non existent problem. Unbelievable! The class warriors are really in control.

  • JGC

    Read this and weep, my fellow Americans.  This is how the conservative government of Canada is approaching their 2013 budget, due to come out at the end of March:

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s job to cut the (Canadian) federal deficit just got a whole lot harder. With the latest economic numbers showing Canada facing a tough climb to reach any meaningful growth this year, after slipping to recession-level output in the last half of 2012, Ottawa knows it has its hands full to balance the budget…Flaherty said his upcoming budget may close more tax loopholes and possibly reduce program spending.

    “We start from the premise that we’re going to balance the budget by 2015.  And it may need some more sacrifice in budgeting among various ministries of the government.  What we do is we not only look at the revenue side, but we look at tax loopholes.  We will look at program spending.  We will not reduce transfers to individuals or the provinces for healthcare, education and social services.”

    This is from an article in the Financial Post by Gordon Isfeld, Slow GDP could mean spending cuts: Flaherty, 2 March 2013

    • hennorama

      JGC – Wow.  A government that has both eyes open and wants to address a problem by “not only look[ing] at the revenue side, but … look[ing] at tax loopholes.  [And] … look[ing] at program spending … [without] reduc[ing] transfers to individuals or the provinces for healthcare, education and social services.”?

      This is clearly some sort of a joke, right?  Are you sure this isn’t a very well-disguised Borowitz Report?

      • JGC

        This is not a joke. I repeat: This is NOT a joke. I’ll have to come back at the end of the month to report back what actually does make it into the Canadian budget.

    • jefe68

      This is what rational and sensible government looks like.
      If we had a parliamentary system as Canada does the GOP would be back benchers.

    • Blue_To_Shoe

      Thank you…

    • Gregg Smith

      “We start from the premise that we’re going to balance the budget by 2015″

      Can you imagine such a statement in America? We’re a far cry from being able to even freeze overall spending.

      • JGC

        Finance Minister Flaherty’s statement just make so much sense, from start to finish. The provinces will be responsible for how they handle the allotment of funds to address the social service side of the equation. Note that Flaherty did not say transfers will be increased, just that he is holding the line on them. Any inflationary erosion will not be met by the federal government, so there are still funding choices that have to made by each province.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Federal government revenues have now been restored to 2007 levels.  Why can’t we return to 2007 levels of spending?  2007 spending was about $1T less AND were fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq in 2007.

    As it stands now they are having difficulty agreeing to cut a mere $84B out of that $1T in increased spending.

    • Ray in VT

      The most recent figure that I saw showed that we were almost there, unless there have been some just released 2012 figures that I have seen.

      I don’t think that your solution, though, is practical.  Would you be talking about the total, or by function or sub function of the budget.  The increase in Social Security from 2007 to 2012 is 200 billion.  Transportation is up by 30 billion; Medicare is up by 100 billion; Veterans benefits and services are up by 50 billion.

      Of course, in some of these areas that is why we need to address entitlement spending, but some of these things have been a long time coming.  We have an aging population, so there is Social Security and Medicare, and at least a chunk of the VA benefits increase is likely to be tied to the long term consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        You bring up some valid points but by your own accounting government outlays (other than entitlements) have increased by $600B and no one is talking about it.  They are treating it as the new normal.

        We need entitlement reform but that has nothing to do with this sequester mess.

        • Ray in VT

          I definitely think that an honest, open and forthright conversation regarding both our taxing and our spending priorities needs to be had.  Unfortunately, though, it often seems to devolve into a lot of partisan rhetoric and entrenched positions.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Well said.

          • Ray in VT

            Like with so many things, though, it is much easier said than done.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Why can’t we return to 1960s levels of taxing the rich and the corporations?

      Why can’t medicare negotiate drug prices with big pharma?

      Why do I never hear those questions in the righty corporate media? It’s crystal clear that the plutocrats, and their dupes, only propose what hurts average Americans and benefits the elites.

      The deficit is no big deal, but anyone who is in a tizzy over it should be screaming about financial manipulators who never made a product paying under 13%. 

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         In 1960 the total Federal tax receipts were only $99B and the government was running a surplus.  Also, the Federal debt was only $290B.

        Also, military spending was over 50% of total Federal government spending in 1960.  Today is is 24%.

    • Elizabeth_in_RI

      First, there are certainly places that can be cut, waste and fraud that can be dealt with (particularly in the Defense budget), and efficiencies that should be sought. But why do people think that the government’s budget should be getting smaller over time as the number of American’s keeps increasing? What about the basic costs of living? Why do people think that the higher cost of gas, electricity, etc aren’t going to impact the government, and thus the budget?
      In 2007 we were in the midst of an inflating real estate budget and many more people were working in good paying jobs, of course we weren’t having to pay out so much of our social welfare money – or having to prop up the economy.

    • hennorama

      WorriedfortheCountry – Four words – the world has changed.

      Word # 5 – inflation.

      The Composite Deflator, a proxy for inflation, for FY 2012 (1.1815) vs. FY 2007 (1.0638) is up 11.1%.

      Word # 6 – demographics.  Social Security and Medicare spending have increased significantly due to both Baby Boomers aging, and  to a significantly higher than normal percentage of people opting for “early” SS benefits.  Much of this is due to older persons losing their jobs and being unable to find gainful employment during and after the GR.

      Going back to 2007 would imply going back to 2007 GDP, too.  That  means giving up about 12% of economic output compared to 2012 GDP.  That’s $1.653 TRILLION less GDP, BTW.  Whose pockets will this come out of?

      • OnPointComments

        Pass those four words along to all of the commenters who say “If only we had the tax rates of the 1950s.”

        • hennorama

          OPC – TY for your response. OK will do.

          Hey! All commenters who say “If only we had the tax rates of the 1950s” – the world has changed.

          There ya go.

          • OnPointComments

            Thanks.  You’re a peach.

          • hennorama

            OPC – YW. I just couldn’t resist.

            But I hear ya as to your basic point. It’s a bit silly to say “let’s go back to those higher rates” for many reasons, one being “the world has changed”.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Why not use the CPI?  That is what ole Ben Bernacke uses.  However, I take your point about discounting for inflation.  Shouldn’t spending be down from 2009 because of all the jobs Obama claimed he created?  We are also now out of Iraq?  Therefore spending should be down.

        My point is there is tons of waste and inefficiency on government spending.  Without some sort of downward pressure it will NEVER be fixed.  It appears that THIS executive administration has zero interest in providing efficient government.

        • hennorama

          WorriedfortheCountry – Ty for your response. I appreciate your views.

          Let me answer your questions in order:

          1. CPI is fine as a measure of inflation

          2. No. First of all, you’re moving the timeframe from 2007 to 2009.

          Overall, about 8.7 million US jobs were lost between the start of the recession in December 2007 and early 2010. We’ve replaced about 5.5 million since then, about 5 of every 8 jobs lost during the Great recession.

          3. Yes, “We are also now out of Iraq” but we are still in Afghanistan and we have something in the neighborhood of 1000 bases around the world. We also have a huge number of veterans receiving VA services and pensions, which is part of the cost of the Iraq war and other conflicts.

          4. As to waste fraud and abuse – the trick is how to get rid of it. I brainstormed an idea about a Citizens Review Committee in the Week In The News thread here:

          http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/03/01/week-in-the-news-sequester-pope-out-aid-to-syrian-rebels#comment-818850573

          I hesitate to keep repeating this, but … a huge part of the added Federal Spending AND reduced Federal Revenue since FY 2007 is related to the Great Recession. Here are some cumulative numbers, compared to FY 2007 levels (the last pre-Great Recession FY).

          Federal Revenue (FR) has fallen a cumulative $1.2762 Trillion during FYs 2008 through 2012. The reduced Federal Revenue is highly associated with the Great Recession. Fewer people were working, business profits dropped, and significant tax credits, rebates, reductions, etc. were part of the initial 2009 stimulus and later fiscal stimuli.

          Net New Federal Spending (NNS) in the 5 year period was $3.7116 Trillion. 95% of the spending increase went to 5 broad Categories:

          4 of those 5 Federal Spending categories had significant increased spending due to the Great Recession’s effects and aftereffects. DEFENSE is the lone exception.

          1. DEFENSE added $888.5 Billion, 23.9% of NNS.

          We could have paid off the entire negative equity of all underwater US mortgages ($691 B) and have $197.5 Billion left over, enough to pay for all Federal Law Enforcement, Courts, Prisons, Transportation and General Government activities in 2012.

          2. WELFARE was up $854.0 Billion, 23.0% of NNS. This is the part of NNS most directly related to the Great Recession.

          This is Food and nutrition assistance, Unemployment comp, Retirement and disability insurance (excluding social security), Housing assistance, and Other income security. Unemployment ($382.0 B), Food and nutrition ($179.1 B), and Housing ($66.7 B) together accounted for about three quarters of the increase.

          3. HEALTH CARE added $751.8 Billion, 20.3% of NNS. About half of this was Medicare and therefore a result of demographics and higher costs for health care. The other half was to the states for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, Nearly all of this portion is related to the Great Recession.

          4. PENSIONS increased $593.6 Billion, 16.0% of NNS. 99% of this is from Social Security. This is principally due to demographics, with Baby Boomers starting to retire en masse. However, part of this increase is due to a significantly higher than normal percentage of people opting for “early” SS benefits. Much of this is due to older persons losing their jobs and being unable to find gainful employment during and after the GR.

          5. OTHER SPENDING added $447.0 Billion, 12.0% of NNS. A large part of this is Stimulus-related, and the net increase accounts for repayment of some Stimulus items. This highly variable Category ranged from $71 B in FY 2007 to $377.1 B in FY 2009, at the peak of the Stimulus.

          For sources and more, see my previous comprehensive post on this topic:

          http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/04/week-in-the-news-cliff-deal-sandy-relief-hillarys-health#comment-757928646

  • StilllHere

    When have transfer payments consumed as much of annual federal government spending. They were 27% in the 60s, 50% in 1994 and 67% currently. 

    What does demographics mean for the future of these outlays when you consider # of workers ratio to # of transfer payments recipients?

    • hennorama

      An excellent argument for immigration reform where we would get an increased number of legal workers.  Well done.

      • GrueneJim

        Illegal immigration is a crime against our economic recovery.

    • jimino

      And anticipating this due to the aging of the baby boomers was the reason Social Security withholding was increased in the 1980′s.  ALL such benefits have been prepaid by the expected increased number of intended recipients of Social Security.

      Social Security has not and, by law, can not, add one cent to the deficit.

      • StilllHere

        In the analysis I heard, demographics were not the factor for the increase; in fact, the warning was that demographics get considerably worse. 

        • Mike_Card

          41% is interest on the national debt–or is that a transfer payment in your world?

          • StilllHere

            My world?  It’s math, gimme a break. And interest expense is not included in the analysis.

    • GrueneJim

      The solution to any concern about Social Security is to transfer all government pension funds (local, state, and federal) into the general Social Security fund. This would give all Americans an equal standing in the retirement hierarchy. One retirement program for all and all for one!

  • JGC

    That photo above, with Rep. Boehner standing at a lectern with the banner gop.gov/sequester ?  I went on the site and as one of its 3 points, they say we must cut more government waste, giving two examples of government waste, one from the National Science Foundation and one from the IRS.  If you search the Fed Biz Opportunities, you see the one from the IRS is one of its 34 procurement requests, whereas the various Defense related procurement requests run into the thousands. Thousands and thousands and thousands (and thousands!) of procurement requests put up for bid by the military, and 34 for the IRS.

    As for the complaint about the National Science Foundation, this just highlights the GOP leadership continues its War on Science.

    If they wanted to make examples of government waste, they should have included one from the military. I’m sure Rand Paul could have found a few, if they would have asked him.

    • hennorama

      JGC – what in the H E Double hockey sticks is your deal?  Getting off your John Boehner expletive to check up on things and point out facts?  What is the world coming to?  ;-)

      Very well done.  (Again).

    • jimino

      I’ll be waiting for Republicans to start posing in front of places where decreased spending has had a discernible impact, maybe a closed facility, bragging about what they have done, kind of like they posed with the oversized stimulus checks (while criticizing the stimulus as worthless) for projects in their district.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722136046 Daniel Stoner

    Wow, a 2% slowdown in growth of spending… every lower and middle class family in America is contending with a 5-20% (or more) increase in their gasoline and food right now (over the last year)…. oh the humanity.. how oh how will the fedgov cope?  What a joke – the sequester is a good, but very tiny (too small) of a start.

  • swildernc

    Catch 22.  There are a number of services that only (by law) government can provide (food inspection, air traffic control, etc).  If reducing government spending means reducing these services, then provision should be made for the private sector to step in.

    • JGC

      ???

    • jefe68

      Yeah, that will work. Let the food industry inspect itself.
      Let the airlines do inspections on aircraft and air traffic control.

      • swildernc

         like I said….catch 22, or 22+

        • jefe68

          A Catch 22 is a paradoxical situation in which an individual cannot or is incapable of avoiding a problem because of contradictory constraints or rules.

          Letting the food industry inspect itself is not a catch 22, it’s a conflict of interest.

          • Mike_Card

            Too many people who never saw the movie or read the book use the phrase; much the same as ‘perfect storm.’

          • GrueneJim

            Letting government employees set their own budgets is a conflict of interest.

          • jefe68

            You mean Congress.

          • Gregg Smith

            No one advocates no government or says all government is bad. No one.

        • nj_v2

          ^ Unclear on the concept

      • Ray in VT

        But industries always do better when the regulate themselves, don’t they?

        • GrueneJim

          Government regulates itself and that has proven to be a remarkable failure.

          • Ray in VT

            Especially when parts of it fall into the hands of those whose ideology dictates that government can’t do anything right and generally shouldn’t do anything anyways.

            For whatever shortcomings there are with regulation, and certainly some regulations either aren’t good or effective, I would generally rather have a reliable public entity acting as a watchdog rather than leaving that task up to a private entity or industry.  For instance, whatever the shortcomings that exist in the system whereby food processing is regulated and inspected, I think that it is certainly better than leaving that process up to the packing houses, etc.

          • Gregg Smith

            Surely we can have the very best, safest meat and air travel for somewhere around 18% of GDP.

          • Ray in VT

            Possibly, but under current spending levels for defense, social security, medicare and VA benefits, that only leaves about 2.56% of GDP for everything else that the government does, and the government has not spent below 18% since FY 1966.

          • Gregg Smith

            True enough but it was 18.2% in 2001-2. You keep me on my toes. Do you think we can do it for 20?

    • GrueneJim

      The average American eats bologna sandwiches and can only afford to fly kites. There is no need for inspection of bologna factories or kite string. Sounds like the elite are worried about their personal safety again.

  • JGC

    Another year goes by, and yet again I just miss the cutoff for Forbes’ World Billionaires list…  :(

  • h2opaws

    These cuts don’t feel tiny to us. We are taking a 20%+ cut in salary. Our young men and women warfighters are also being impacted dangerously with “arbitrary” versus smart cuts. 
    We have always been frugal and lived within our means and will now do what our elected officials can’t seem to do….compromise and cut our personal spending. 

    I blame all political parties and both Congress and the President equally for not being adults and doing their job. It’s beyond reprehensible to me.Doubt if you would find anyone in defense that doesn’t agree cuts need to be made, but arbitrary cuts are worrisome when they impact the potential safety of our young men and women in the military serving our country by putting themselves in harm’s way.
    We need our elected leaders to step away from the media cameras and microphones, get back in the same room together, do their job and put our country first…this is no way to run a country.

  • Markus6

    I do not understand the nuttiness of the right on defense. A lot of cuts could be made, but they can’t be stupid cuts. 

    I work with government and private sector organizations on how they’re run. Capital and labor costs could easily be reduced by 30% over a couple years at the federal level. They’ve already done this in some Canadian ministries and US city and state agencies, when forced to to so. And services haven’t been reduced, at least by any measures they have. 
    Sequestration is a dumb way to make cuts. And I guarantee they’ll be made in a way that gets lots of press coverage and that hurts a broad range of voters. They won’t get at the internal inefficiencies because they want people to be inconvenienced enough to feel we can’t cut anymore.

    They feel we are schmucks who can’t count and that we think in binary terms (defense is good or bad, unions are good or bad). And I suspect they’re not all that wrong for the bulk of voters. 

    • OnPointComments

      You can criticize the right on defense, but the left is right there with them.  When Leon Panetta and military officers appeared before Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike were all saying “You’re not going to cut military spending in my district.”  Cutting defense is needed, but none of the members of the Congress wants the base closed in his district, or the fighter jet contract cancelled if it is manufactured in their district.

      • Markus6

        Good point. At the micro level, when it comes to individual cuts, the left is as bad as the right. And they’re that way because we reward them for being that way.

        At the broader level, the right seems worse in that they seem to be the ones today who are suggesting a more aggressive foreign policy that requires a big military. I remember Romney talking about China in this way. I don’t think he believed what he was saying, but I think he was forced to do so by the nuts in his party. 

        Don’t get me wrong. I think the left is nuttier than the right. 20 years ago, the left was a lot nuttier, but the nut gap seems to have shrunk. 

        • OnPointComments

          I’ve just about come to the conclusion that the only way to reign in spending, especially wasteful spending, is term limits.  The members of Congress have become addicted to using tax dollars to insure their own reelection.

  • Michele

    And round and round it goes.  Chalk a win in the Republican column: No food inspections,  less air-traffic controllers (an already understaffed area), longer lines at the airport, less if-any inspections for airplanes.  Yes quite a win.  Well done.

    • GrueneJim

      No one needs to fly. Its a luxury. Try using videoconferencing next time.

      • Michele

         I’m sure someone’s dying grandmother would be thrilled to video-conference…

  • LianeSperoni

    The reason why the tea party republicans do not fear defense cuts has to do with their view of the second amendment. why do think that is their #2 issue? they don’t really believe in standing armies, they think it is the job of the citizenry to be a well-regulated militia. They are isolationsists.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Yesterday, ole Mitt subjected himself to his first interview after the election.  Boy, he is a class act.

    • OnPointComments

      I agree.  Both Mitt and his wife Ann were totally a class act.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      “Subjected himself” to an interview? I thought it was on Fox.

      “Class act”? I thought he spent half the time blaming the refs.

      • OnPointComments

        It’s obvious you didn’t see the interview.  He placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders.
         
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/03/mitt-romney-election_n_2801129.html 
         
        “I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did.”

        • StilllHere

          That guy’s all shoot first, then shoot again.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I heard plenty of blaming the media. Lots of “but that 47% was said in private!”. Between him and Ann, I couldn’t tell (or couldn’t care) who did it.

  • davecm

    If Obama is incharge of who and what gets cut, I can almost predict that Red states will get hit the hardest.
    Obama has one thing in mind, putting all Americans on the Democratic plantation!
    History is repeating itself!!!

  • SteveStrom

    I was disappointed in many aspects of this program:
    (1) the absence of any discussion of the specific effects of the sequester on (a) the most disadvantaged among us; (b) investment in fundamental research (NSF; NIH; NASA; DOE); (c) critical government functions ranging from homeland security to the FBI. Other than food safety, the bulk of the discussion focussed on defense. The sequester affects real people and investments critical to the nation’s future.

    (2) the discussion failed to provide context for the sequester: a direct result of Republican hostage taking during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis that they chose to manufacture (for the first time in our history). They enthusiastically embraced the sequester in 2011, subverted the work of the Super Committee to achieve a balanced deal, and claim — wrongly — that the sequester requires only spending cuts. It does not. It calls for deficit reduction (and last time I looked, reduction in deficit could come from spending cuts, revenue enhancements or both). Rather, Babbington and York chose to start the clock in December, 2012, which allowed them to adopt the Republican talking point that “Obama got his tax increase” (actually he could have gotten far more had he allowed the Bush cuts to expire), and now “we get spending cuts” — conveniently forgetting $1.2T in cuts negotiated as part of the hostage taking deal in 2011.

    (3) perhaps most irritating was the repetition of the Washington meme that ‘both sides are at fault.” Last time I looked, the Democrats are offering a blend of spending cuts and closing of tax loopholes AND have expressed a willingness to reduce Social Security benefits and to restructure Medicare. The Republicans: only spending cuts. Who is at fault here? Being ‘fair and balanced’ is one thing, but bending over backward to avoid criticizing the real culprits: unforgivable (and dangerous to public discourse).

    (4) The choice of conservative Byron York and right-leaning, unctuous Charles Babington seemed a bit odd. A responsible host would have challenged them. Your host did not. 

    Again, very disappointing.

    • anamaria23

      Very fine presentation.  thank you.

    • Gregg Smith

      The hand was dealt early on when Obama put jobs on the back burner and rammed through Obamacare. He has never had a budget. He has never negotiated squat, he doesn’t know how. Unlike Clinton in ’94 Obama doubled down in 2010. This is no surprise and amounts to little.

      • JohanCorby

        “Rammed through Obamacare”

        You mean voted democratically? Then yes, he (the President, not the Congress of course) rammed it through. Totally nailed it.

        • Gregg Smith

          No, I mean rammed through without reading it, without including Republican input, on a totally partisan basis, with bribes like the Cornhusker kickback and the Louisiana purchase, with a meaningless signing statement to Stupek’s crew and the budgetary gimmick of reconciliation when it was not a budget. It had the mandate Obama excoriated Hillary’s plan for having, cost are going up not down as promised, you cannot keep your doctor as promised, The SCOTUS said it was a tax and Obama swore it wasn’t.

          • pete18

             It also didn’t have the necessary public support needed for such a large change to the economy and health care system as the majority of voters then and now don’t support it.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re right and that’s the biggest injustice of all.

          • 5Bill

            Some polls have shown that a majority of responders did not approve of the ACA. I think it was the Pew Poll, as I recall, that dug deeper and found that many who did not approve of the ACA did so because it didn’t go far enough (single payer, etc.). As I recall, the conclusion was that only about 40% wanted it repealed.

    • Bruce94

      An excellent post.  I found items (2) and (3) particularly compelling.  As the impacts of the sequester begin to be felt, it will be important to remind folks of who was primarily responsible for these harmful effects.  Just as in 2011 with the Tea Party-sponsored credit downgrade, the likely damage from the sequester (esp. slower growth & higher unemployment) could become another albatross for the GOP to bear if people have the information to help them resist the collective amnesia that the GOP is trying so painstakingly to cultivate.  Thank you for the historical context and perspective.

  • EricDC2

    I’m not normally engaged in political discussions, as it gets quite frustrating quickly. I am, however, involved in many segments of US industries. And the one thing that nearly every company has, is a measure of ‘performance’ – how efficient a company is at doing “X”. In it’s simplest form, the government is a service provider to tax payers, but there are no measures of how well the government spends my money. How much do we spend on education per public school attendee? How much does it cost to defend our country per resident?

    I’m not saying that we can find a perfect way to track this spending, but not tracking it at all is a horrible way to run a business (or a government)!

    With all the inefficiency in the government (which I think we can all agree exists to varying degrees), who knows… maybe we can reduce spending by 100′s of billions of dollars without any sacrifice to the service we receive.

    • Fredlinskip

      Sorta like Health Care Industry.

  • MrStang

    Shameful show. 
    Where’s the journalism? Where are the journalists? Byron York? 

    Shame.

  • MrStang

    A comparative view of stupid Austerity policies in Europe, Middle East and US:
    “Austerity and the threat to Democracy, in the US, Europe and the Middle EastPosted on 03/03/2013 by JuanThe “sequester” is actually, of course, the American form of austerity, or cut-backs in government spending during a recession. Austerity, or stingy government in Europe has kept employment extremely depressed compared to what it would have been with government stimulus, as Paul Krugman argues.” /snip
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/03/austerity-democracy-europe.html

  • MrStang

    “…Tea Party has forced the US into an artificial crisis with the ‘sequester,’ taking $100 bn. a year out of the economy for the next ten years, which will cut half a point of economic growth and harm workers, keeping unemployment high– not to mention the harm it likely will do to medical research, higher education, etc. That this austerity is being pursued by the GOP in part in hopes of disillusioning voters with President Obama in his second term is fairly obvious, but it is also in order to protect the 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, 80% of which have been retained. Sequester, as usual with these things in the US, is actually a tax on the middle classes to benefit the wealthy, since it preserves undeserved tax cuts for the latter by reducing government services for the former.”
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/03/austerity-democracy-europe.html

  • MrStang

    “…That austerity does not work economically should be clear. But that it creates populist discontents that are shaking southern Europe and could derail Middle East democratization is even more alarming. The world needs stimulus, not Scrooge government if it is to pull out of the crisis kicked off by corrupt bankers in 2008.”
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/03/austerity-democracy-europe.html

  • MrStang

    Social Security is not a main driver of the deficit. period.

  • MrStang

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus has proposed a solution:
    “The Balancing Act
    [...] 
    Cut Handouts, Not Jobs
    The Balancing Act eliminates the haphazard cuts in the sequester and ensures that we reduce our long-term deficit in a balanced way.  The bill equalizes budget cuts and revenue by closing loopholes for America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.  It also creates over 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, teachers, and putting money in consumers’ pockets, paid for by cutting wasteful Pentagon spending to achieve balance with non-defense cuts. 
    In 2011 and 2012, Congress and the President enacted $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction, slashing everything from loans for college students to funds needed to fix our crumbling roads and bridges.  The 2011 budget alone included $600 million in cuts to community health centers, $503 million in cuts to the Women and Infant Children nutrition program, $1.6 billion in cuts to environmental programs, $400 million in cuts to home energy assistance, $296 million in cuts to the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, and $150 million in cuts to the National Science Foundation.  Middle Class Americans shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for cuts like these while we maintain a bloated Pentagon budget and give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies.
    In January 2013, Congress and the President took the first step towards a more balanced approach to deficit reduction, enacting $737 billion in revenue and interest savings.  Yet to date, more than two-thirds of deficit reduction has come from cuts to critical programs.
    We cannot afford to make deeper cuts to vital investments and to lifelines for many working families, but the “sequester” enacted under the Budget Control Act would do just that.  The Balancing Act would repeal the sequester, which would save over 600,000 jobs in 2013 alone.  Instead, it achieves the same long-term deficit reduction by closing tax loopholes and by asking the wealthiest among us to contribute a little more.  
    In doing so, the Balancing Act rectifies the inequitable approach to deficit reduction taken so far.  By replacing the sequester with $960 billion in revenue, the Act achieves a 1:1 ratio of cuts to revenue.          The Balancing Act would close tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas, that pay billions of dollars annually to the highly profitable fossil fuel industry, and that allow tax breaks for yachts and corporate jets.  It would also limit deductions from the wealthiest tax payers, close loopholes for hedge fund managers, and close estate tax loopholes.    
    In 2011, US corporations paid an effective tax rate of just 12%, the lowest level in the last forty years.  Likewise, tax rates for the wealthiest families have plunged, with households earning more than $1 million a year paying only 23% of their income in tax in 2007 – down nearly 10 points from the mid-1990s.   
    In addition, the Balancing Act eliminates $278 billion in wasteful Pentagon spending – the amount needed to equalize cuts to the defense and non-defense side of the budget – and invests the savings in our number one economic priority – job creation.  By focusing our Pentagon budget on 21st century threats and making smart decisions about the weapons we need in the modern era, we can invest in a one-year tax credit of $800 for low- and middle-income families, prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, modernize 35,000 public schools, and make infrastructure investments that if sustained could protect 3.5 million jobs by 2020.   
    If enacted, the Balancing Act would result in more than $3.3 trillion in total deficit reduction since 2010, and would do so in a fair, balanced approach that protects working families who continue to work harder and harder for less and less.”
    http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/balancing-act/

    • 5Bill

      If Republicans don’t want to close corporate tax loop holes, the media (and concerned citizens) should ask Congress if they might pass laws that corporations be CHARGED FEES equal to the taxes not paid to cover the costs of the services provided by the government to those corporations?
      Alternatively, ask the Republicans if they don’t think corporations should pay their fair share of government services, then why shouldn’t such SERVICEs BE DENIED them, and the corporations provide the services themselves? Ask the same questions of such corporations.
      . Ask such corporations the same questions.. It’s appalling that such corporations, don’t feel a responsibility to pay some fair share for the benefits they receive

    • 5Bill

      How do Republicans think it’s fair that TAX PAYERS pay for government services enjoyed by some LARGE CORPORATIONS that pay little or no taxes? The media should ask the tax paying public if they think it’s fair. Don’t the Republicans think it’s time now in this fiscal crises to FIX THE TAX CODE distortions (caused largely by the moneyed special interest lobbyists)? The media should not buy into the story of tax increase- it’s really a matter of paying for what you get. These questions should also be asked of such large corporations. It’s appalling that such corporation don’t feel a responsibility to pay some fair share for the benefits they receive
      Some of the services the government provides and used by everyone (INCLUDING CORPORATIONS) include a legal and court system, infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, air traffic control, fire and police protection, garbage pickup, sewer system, water system, electrical grid, weather forecasting, GPS satellites, etc), research for new technologies, national defense, regulations that benefit everyone (clean water, air, financial system, etc.), etc, etc
      You’d think they’d be tickled pink to pay something for a government that passes laws that allow them to pay little or no taxes and increases their profits. I guess I’m just jealous that I don’t get a free lunch also. Then on top of it, taxpayers are expected to continue to pay for subsidies to many of those large corporations, that once made sense but no longer do.
      If any of this concerns you, contact your representatives

    • 5Bill

      Citizens (and the media) should be asking Republicans why they are not supporting tax reform when in the past they were very much for it- even until just a few weeks ago? What has changed that now it’s not on the table for discussion (per Boehner)? I wonder if the Koch brothers contacted him. Do the Republicans really think the tax code is OK the way it is? Don’t they think reforms are possible to increase revenue and reduce the deficit/debt? They used to think so. Why does the media let them get away with it without asking them? If any of this concerns you, contact your representatives

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        What makes you say the GOP doesn’t want tax reform?  It appears that Harry Reid and Obama are the only ones blocking tax reform.

        btw – eliminating a deduction here or there is not tax reform.  Tax reform must include a massive simplification of the 74,000 page tax code.

    • Bruce94

       Thank you for outlining what is clearly a more rational and equitable approach to deficit reduction than the Republican alternative.  Only in the Jabberwocky universe of a GOP dominated by the Tea Party does it make sense to avoid taxing the wealthy in favor of arbitrary budget cuts that hurt the working poor and middle-class families struggling in a weak economy.

      The lucid analysis and historical perspective that you and others below like Stevestrom bring to this discussion are deeply appreciated.

      Implicit in your presentation is the recognition that the most egregious form of govt. fraud, abuse and waste (a favorite target of the critics on the Right) can be found in the tax code laden as it is with various loopholes and deductions that benefit the super rich and corporate interests disproportionately.  Even someone like David  Stockman, former budget director in Reagan’s admin., has characterized the current rate on capital gains, for instance, as an outdated tax subsidy to the rich.  Maybe what we’ve been witnessing in Washington with the sequester are the Republicans devouring themselves. 

  • MrStang

    ROBERT REICH – “Republicans are pro-rich at the expense of everyone else”

    http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/robert-reich-republicans-are-pro-rich-people-at-the-expense-of-everyone-else/

    • pete18

       Why does Mr Reich’s fear-mongering and ad-hominem attacks on Republicans have any substantial relevance to this conversation?

      • jefe68

        Because he’s right.

        • pete18

           No, he’s wrong. Now where do we stand?

          • jefe68

            That you don’t agree with Robert Reich.

            I’m getting the impression that you have an over inflated sense of self.

          • pete18

            Yes, like a hot air balloon full of helium. I have a feeling that you, like Mr Reich find empty insults a worthy substitution for a coherent argument supporting your point of view.

            I think he’s wrong, you think he’s right and I’m the one with inflated sense of self. Yeah, that makes sense.

          • jefe68

            Funny, you accues Riech of an ad-hominem attack and then engage in one.

            You think he’s wrong.
            Good for you.
            But Robert Riech was making a very good argument for his view on this. That you don’t agree with him does not mean it’s an ad-hominem attack.

            I have three words that back up his comment: Trickle Down Economics.
            That’s a huge failure. Even the architect of TDE, David Stockman thinks it was a huge

  • pete18

    I posted this on the “Week in the News” thread but it seems more appropriate here:

    There’s only one way to reduce government spending…
    cut off the funds! That’s the only way. People always live up to their incomes and find a way to justify every expense
    as “necessary.” That’s just human nature. You could triple government revenues tomorrow and within two-years it would all be accounted for in a new budget of “essential” spending. Anyone that then suggested this new budget be cut back by a few percentage points would be accused of being a cruel
    troglodyte trying inflict pain on the most helpless citizens. This would go on ad-infinitum as there’s never enough.

    Governments (with some exceptions) are filled with humans and all their predictable weaknesses. This is why the analogy of the family budget is appropriate. If they are used to their budgets being raised every year beyond the rate of inflation, see the reductions in the amount that those budgets go UP (not reduced) as “cuts” and have the ability to take money
    from taxpayers as they see fit, there is no incentive for them to ever cut unnecessary programs, waste or fraud.

    Like the teenager who doesn’t learn to budget until the family funds stop rolling in, the government, ( both Republicans and Democrats) needs a wake-up call. I say sequester cuts for the next five-years, then a balanced budget amendment (with override provisions for emergencies).

    • jefe68

      If the US had a balanced budget amendment in 1941 we would not have been able to afford WW2 let alone spend on projects to get us out of the Great Deppression.

      Your entire comment is not dealing with the reality of how governments work. But then this idea comes from what seems to be a libertarian idea of making government so small that it’s ineffective on every level. 

      • pete18

         My override provisions would allow for World War II type adjustments and amendments.

        A 3.8 trillion dollar budget, cut down a few percentage points over five years, is only small in the Utopian fantasy land of big spending leftists.

        • jefe68

          Who said anything about utopian fantasies?

          Your plan is absurd and smacks of not even grasping with the idea of the function of government.

          • pete18

             Please, do tell. What function of government demands endless deficit and debt to support unneeded spending?

          • jefe68

            It’s obvious you have a very different take on the meaning and function of government than I do. I doubt there is much to discuss being that you do not seem to understand what a modern government does and how debt and deficits work in context to GDP. 

            If you can’t separate the long term from the short than there is a problem in how you view this. 

            Historically, the US public debt as a share of GDP increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. Debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 30 years.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Thanks Gerrymandering!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Maybe? No maybe at all. SocSec is run with less overhead than anything comparable.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Way to class up the joint.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Is it too late for someone to teach Worried about the NYT op-ed hacks like Brooks, Douthat and Friedman?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    There’s time for you to learn about the NYT’s op-ed hacks, such as Brooks, Friedman, Dowd and Douthat. Nobody’s stopping you.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      LOL.  They let TF out to play today.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Disqus suqs.

        Did you consider that Disqus took it on itself to put my replies all on top, rather than nesting them as the replies they were?

  • MrStang

    A Hilarious example of why the press is implicit in this fiscal stupidity:

    http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/john-fugelsang-and-tvs-frank-take#comments

  • 5Bill

    Someone (media, citizens) should ask the moderate and extreme Republicans why they don’t have the integrity and courage to exercise LEADERSHIP and convince their constituents that negotiation and compromise are the only rational way to govern. Why do they think “hostage taking” is acting responsibly in a civil society and is OK morally? They are ignoring the message from the vast majority of the country who wants Congress to do their job- by negotiation and compromise- not hostage taking. It’s up to the moderate Republicans to take back their party from the extremists

  • 5Bill

    The narrow-mindlessness of the extreme Republicans is demonstrated by their saying if sequestration results in more spending cuts and no tax increases, then the Tea Party wins? This link to a NY Times article states the case.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/us/politics/house-republicans-cheer-boehners-refusal-to-
    negotiate-on-cuts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    It’s pitiful that the extremists believe any means to the end is justified, even if it involves hostage taking and ignoring the cost to many innocent people and businesses who have no input to the process. They used to say sequestration was stupid and a very bad idea if it were to go into effect

  • 5Bill

    The sequester was supposed to be so bad that Congress and the President wouldn’t let it happen. Yet, it seems the pain is being inflicted on an untold number of people and businesses who have no control over the process, and OUTRAGEOUSLY by THEIR government who arbitrarily and intentionally imposed it on them.
    Where is the pain inflicted on the Congress and the President? Does the government think, as long as the law is in effect, that it’s fair the only pain inflicted seems to be on the many Federal employees whose income is going to be cut permanently by 20%, to all the agencies having to cut back on their programs that affect untold number of citizens, and the “ripple” effects throughout the country (including jobs being lost by non-federal employees), the potentially serious set-back to the economy, etc., etc., etc, etc.?
    Don’t they think they should voluntarily (or be forced to) share the pain in some way since they caused it? Ask the Congress and the President if they think it would be fair for them, as Federal “employees”, to take similar, permanent cuts to their TOTAL income (to be comparable to the effect imposed on the average citizen), as long as the sequestration continues.. Would they be willing to do that in the form of a tax penalty (20% of their total income) on their tax returns? If not, why not? It certainly would be less effect on them than it would be on a moderate or low income citizen

  • 5Bill

    Since the sequester has failed- the purpose was to create a bi-partisan agreement- the law should be REPEALED !!! It was never advertised as a way to cut spending. Yet, It looks now as if the Republicans are using the law to get their tax cuts with no negotiating on revenue (even from tax reform)- literally at any cost, in a stupid and non-planned, arbitrary way, and no pain to them. The only responsible way to go forward is to repeal the law, and negotiate and compromise to generate a budget that reflects the interests of both parties
    Citizens (and the media) should be asking Republicans why they are not supporting TAX REFORM when in the past they were very much for it- even until just a few weeks ago. Do they really think the tax code is OK the way it is? Apparently Republicans think it’s fair that TAX PAYERS pay for government services enjoyed by some LARGE CORPORATIONS (eg, GE) that pay little or no taxes. The media should not buy into the story that tax reform is just another tax increase- it’s really a matter of paying for what you get- their “free lunch”, including subsidies, should be over. The list of benefits and services everyone, including corporations, receive is almost endless (legal system, infrastructure, national defense, gov’t research, etc., etc.)- and everyone should pay their share. Maybe corporations should be charged fees to make up for the taxes they don’t pay.. I have more comments in reply to the post by MrStang on 3/4/13, about 10:00 PM (?)

  • Pingback: Why We Need Inflation | Cognoscenti

  • pete18

    More on the reality of those “devastating” sequester cuts:

    “Duncan’s claim, on one of the Sunday
    morning shows, that teachers were already getting pink slips because of
    the looming sequester was actually the second time he had made this
    assertion.

    ‘I was on a call yesterday, people are
    starting to give RIF [reduction in force] notes,’ Duncan said in a
    meeting with reporters Feb. 21, three days before his appearance on CBS.
    “Schools are already starting to give teachers notices.”

    Oddly, however, the Education Department
    for days was unable to cough up the name of a single school district
    where these notices had been delivered. Then, on Wednesday, Duncan
    appeared before the White House press corps and produced a name —
    Kanawha County in West Virginia — with a major league caveat. “Whether
    it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know,” he said.

    Duncan’s spokesman, Daren Briscoe, said in
    an e-mail that “the information shared on the call was that just over
    100 teachers and Head Start teachers had received layoff notices.”

    Unlike the dubious figure that “40,000
    teachers could lose their jobs” — more on that below — this at least was
    specific information. So let’s check it out.

    The first thing that was striking about
    this figure of 100 teachers is that it was higher than the estimate in
    the state-by-state impact of the sequester released by the White House
    over the weekend. For the entire state of West Virginia, the White House
    said, “around 80 teacher and aide jobs [were] at risk.” And yet here,
    according to Duncan, was a single county with 100 potential layoffs.
    (Update: the fact sheet also mentioned a reduction in funds for another
    40 “teachers, aides and staff” who help children with disabilities.)
    But as we dug into it, the story got even odder. There were no news
    reports of pending layoffs. The school board was facing a $4.5 million
    shortfall, but just last week had landed a big victory worth as much as
    $3 million when the state Supreme Court ruled it no longer had to help
    fund the county’s library. The big issue at the moment was a push by the
    schools superintendent to crack down on teacher absenteeism — not the
    pending layoffs that the education secretary had announced on national
    television.

    In fact, few in the county seemed to know
    what Duncan was talking about, including the education reporters who
    cover the school district for the Charleston, W.V., newspapers. “There’s
    very little sequestration-related panic, at least on the education side
    of things,” one reporter said.

    Our colleague Lyndsey Layton helped unravel the mystery.

    She discovered that these were not
    layoffs, but rather “transfer notices” sent to 104 Title I teachers for
    reasons unrelated to the sequestration cuts.”

    Aren’t Obama supporter the least bit upset or embarrassed about
    these false scare tactics?

     http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/06/the-administration-s-thin-complaints-about-the-sequester.html

    • Regular_Listener

       Interesting point -  the federal government doesn’t hire and fire teachers.  But they probably fund some programs that result in teachers being hired.

  • ExcellentNews

    I have the solution! We must PRAY. Yes! You see, we can do without food inspectors because we all know that disease is caused by evil spirits. All those theories about germs that need inspecting are a vast left-wing conspiracy to waste federal dollars on scientists (same as the global warming or evolution hoaxes). Likewise, pilots should pray when landing, and put their faith in the Lord for guidance. So, there is already tons of money saved this way. With all this spending eliminated, we CAN give a well-deserved tax cut to our job creator billionaires…

  • Regular_Listener

    I realize the right wingers must be feeling pretty full of themselves right now.  Once again they have derailed the political process and shown that they will not compromise or cooperate with the enemy.  But I suspect that pressure within the Republican Party will develop, between those who are big fans of and reliant upon military funding, and those who want to see as little taxation as possible.  And this pressure will grow as the funding for things vanishes, and jobs are lost, et cetera…

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Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

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Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

 
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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