“The president said we do not need a bigger government, but a smarter government, and I agree. But actions speak louder than words,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “For four years, we have seen record deficits and mountains of debt heaped on our children and grandchildren. And for four years we have seen little to no action from President Obama or his Democratic colleagues in the Senate to take our spending problem seriously,” Cantor added.
Really? If that were the case, one would expect to see bar charts, on one web page after another, exploding ever upward. But that’s absolutely NOT the case. In fact, the opposite is true. The Federal Budget Deficit is dropping!
Yes, I recognize there is a difference between “deficits” and “debt”. Yes, the deficits are declining, but because there is still a “deficit” … that means that debt is still rising. The federal budget deficit in 2013 is projected to be $845 billion, the first time the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has forecast a deficit below $1 trillion under President Obama.
That reduction in the budget deficit comes after Congress finally approved higher tax rates on households with annual income above $450,000.
Mr. Cantor would like you to believe that cuts in spending are the ONLY remedy our nation needs to bring down the deficit. He’s about to be proved absolutely and definitively WRONG. You see, the sequester is now hanging out there ready to cut the living bejesus out of government spendin. And, the Republicans want you to believe it’s Obama’s-quester —thus any bad effects are all his fault. But, that’s simply NOT the case. The GOP leadership in their stubborn stance failing to consider any form of compromise actually helped design the sequester’s inflexible and arbitrary across-the-board deep cuts. And, they were thrilled with that result.
Don’t believe me … then let’s go to tape … and listen to Boehner himself declare just how happy he was with the resultant agreement:
The GOP’s hands are not only stained with the sequester’s nastiness, but they voted en masse to ensure its passage—after all, they thought of it as a means to get their way. They should have been more mindful about what they wished for, because in 2 weeks, those draconian sequestration cuts are slated to take effect.
Apparently, they couldn’t care less. By their actions, they’ve communicated that they view this as nothing more than some big game of “bluff” and they intent to see who’s gonna blink first. Why else would they be recessing Congress and heading home like their job was done? They see absolutely nothing critical on the agenda — so they’re just gonna head home, put their feet up on the foot rest and swill down a few mint juleps during Marti Gras season.
These guys designed the sequester’s series of sudden, deep cuts in military and domestic spending to be so destabilizing and unthinkable that it would force Washington to work together on an alternative budget. That clearly has NOT been the case. And, the GOP’s disregard for the seriousness of our economic predicament is astounding.
Sequestration can only be avoided if Congress passes legislation that undoes the legal requirement in the Budget Control Act (BCA) and President Obama signs that legislation before March 1, 2013. So, what are they doing? They’re headed out on RECESS like a bunch of 6 year olds in grade school.
Based on the across-the-board draconian cuts they designed into the sequester, the American economy is poised to lose, at a minimum, 750,000 jobs, and that’s just this year alone. $44B in cuts to federal outlays are set to start on March 1. In simple terms, that’s an 8% cut for defense-spending and a 6% cut for non-entitlement, non-defense spending.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that, if no legislation originating from the deficit reduction committee was enacted, the automatic enforcement process (sequestration) specified in the BCA would mandate the following spending cuts between 2013 and 2021:
- Reductions ranging from 10.0 percent (in 2013) to 8.5 percent (in 2021) in the caps on new discretionary appropriations for defense programs, yielding total outlay savings of $454 billion.
- Reductions ranging from 7.8 percent (in 2013) to 5.5 percent (in 2021) in the caps on new discretionary appropriations for non-defense programs, resulting in outlay savings of $294 billion.
- Reductions ranging from 10.0 percent (in 2013) to 8.5 percent (in 2021) in mandatory budgetary resources for nonexempt defense programs, generating savings of about $0.1 billion.
- Reductions of 2.0 percent each year in most Medicare spending because of the application of a special rule that applies to that program, producing savings of $123 billion, and reductions ranging from 7.8 percent (in 2013) to 5.5 percent (in 2021) in mandatory budgetary resources for other nonexempt non-defense programs and activities, yielding savings of $47 billion. Thus, savings in non-defense mandatory spending would total $170 billion.
- About $31 billion in outlays stemming from the reductions in premiums for Part B of Medicare and other changes in spending that would result from the sequestration actions.
- An estimated reduction of $169 billion in debt-service costs.
Those deep spending cuts come at the expense of something. They’ll come at the expense of public employee jobs, jobs of those with whom our government has contracted to provide services, and those who make goods sold for those government contractors to consume in providing goods/services directly to the government. Thus, job losses will be incurred both directly and indirectly, as well publicly and privately, throughout our economy. And, because those cuts are going to affect both Defense and Non-Defense spending, that also means that folks like teachers, fire-fighters, healthcare workers, et.al., all across our nation, are going to be impacted as well.
Have you figured out where I’m going yet? You know how the GOP has been saying how they’re all about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS? Well, most Americans thought the GOP meant they were all about “job creation.” Surprise! Not so! Through their actions (and in-actions), it should now be ever more clear, the GOP is NOT about “job creation” … but they are seriously into job destruction and elimination.
Based on the sequestration cuts, the Congressional Research Services (CRS) looked at the overall economy and says we can expect much larger reductions in employment. Considering both direct and indirect losses throughout the U.S. economy, they expect the losses on the order of 2.1 million jobs in FY2013:
- 746,000 were direct jobs (277,000 federal civilian jobs and 469,000 prime contractor jobs),
- 433,000 indirect jobs at suppliers and other firms that depend on prime contractors for business, and
- 959,000 will be related to “induced jobs” (i.e., jobs throughout the economy supported by workers in direct and indirect jobs spending a portion of their paychecks).
Already, the Air Force, Army, and Navy have implemented immediate hiring freezes on civilian employees. The Pentagon not only has begun to lay off many of its 46,000 temporary employees and contractors, but also is expected submit a request to Congress to authorize furloughing its 800,000 civilian employees.
So where is all this leading? Since 2.1 million people will no longer be “working” — those 2.1 million workers will not be paying taxes. Hence, revenues necessary to fund government and our insatiable need to wage war throughout the world will be insufficient to cover the costs. That means the GOP will once again mount their soapbox and rail as loudly as they can, how we need to make even deeper cuts! It will be come an ever deeply spiraling circle bringing about our nation’s demise.
So, here’s my question. While your Congressman/woman is home on recess (vacation), have you made your plans yet to bend his or her ear and try to convince them of the errs of their ways? Or, are you content to just let everything go on as usual and let them destroy our nation?
References and related posts:
- OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155)
- Sequestration: A Review of Estimates of Potential Job Losses (CRS)
- What Sequestration Really Means – U.S. House Armed Services Committee
- Sequestration – Frequently Asked Questions
- Sequester Defense Cuts Would Undermine U.S. World Power