Sequestration Starts: World Has Yet To End
And the media is still spinning as to what the “cuts” really are. Either that or they are just partisan fools
(The Hill) Nineteen months after it was put into place, the sequester has arrived.
Barring unexpected developments, President Obama will issue an order at some point on Friday – perhaps as late as 11:59 p.m. – cancelling some $85 billion in spending across the federal government.
Said spending is simply a reduction in the size of spending increase for the next fiscal year. For the most part, federal agencies will still have the exact same amount of money they saw for the current fiscal year.
Obama is scheduled to host congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, but few expect that meeting to spark progress on undoing the cuts that both sides have bemoaned as foolish.
“I think it’s probably going to take awhile before there’s a real meeting,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Thursday. “I would look at tomorrow as a photo op – I really would. And I don’t know of anybody who’s viewing it differently at this point.”
Expect today’s meeting to be Obama speaking forcefully, castigating Republicans, demanding tax increases, continuing his permanent campaign. What we won’t see is any attempt to reach across the aisle.
Over in the Senate, competing Republican and Democrat sequester replacement bills were killed. In the House, John Boehner is continuing to say that they’ve already voted and passed two replacement plans, so, now it’s up to the Democrat controlled Senate.
(The Hill) Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), a member of the Finance Committee, predicted sequestration would last through the end of the year.
“Are we going to roll back the size of the cuts? No. I can promise you that,” said Burr.
Well, we’ll see if Republicans cave at some point or if they find some cajones for the long term.
Over at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler fact checks the Obama admin/Democrat spin on Meals On Wheels seeing massive cuts, leaving seniors starving to death while losing 4 million meals a year due to Sequestration
The administration may rue the day that it issued so many scary statistics with such specificity. If sequestration remains in effect for the rest of the fiscal year, reporters will certainly attempt to check whether the administration’s predictions came close to reality.
In the case of meals for seniors, the administration did not even bother with the usual “as much as” modifier. It simply asserted that 4 million meals will disappear. Given that federal funding is just one third of the funding source, and the 4-million figure represents a relatively small part of the program, it is hard at this point to justify such specificity.
Kessler gives the spin 2 Pinocchios.
Really, though, this is all about reducing the rate of growth. The federal government needs to make serious, real cuts to the federal budget. We could save hundreds of billions by changing the way federal agencies contract out, refusing to pay for cost over-runs. The Pentagon alone could save over $200 billion a year by doing this. We could stop wasting money on duplication and redundancy. We could stop wasting taxpayer money to upgrade baseball spring training facilities and investigations into what we can learn from fish about Democracy. Consider this waste list from 2010, which is certainly not unusual. Change the allocation system so that agencies are rewarded for saving money, instead of being rewarded for spending it all, which usually results in surplus, overpayment, and waste.