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1 lawhawk  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 7:28:42am

The sequester was the MAD proposal to get Democrats and Republicans in Congress to cut a deal on spending/revenue to avert a financial mess.

The GOP has refused any compromise on revenue changes (tax hikes, loophole closures, etc.). Their members have assented to the cuts since it’s part of their long term goals to shrink government, consequences be damned.

Yet, they don’t want to take the blame for it, which is why they try so hard to pin the blame on Obama, when Congress passed the legislation forming the basis for the sequester. It was a Congressional failure to come up with an alternative in spending cuts that led to the sequester portion that was supposed to take effect January 1 and later extended to March 1.

The GOP message on the sequester shows just how screwed up their position is.

They warn of the dire cuts while saying that the cuts aren’t going to be as bad as Democrats warn - that Democrats are fearmongering about the sequester instead of working on a deal.

Mind you, the Democrat proposals have called for a combination of cuts and revenue hikes. The GOP hasn’t budged from its no revenue adjustment position.

That’s not negotiating.

That’s holding a gun to the national economy’s head. It’s extortion of the worst sort.

And the thing is that the sequester is just an American version of the austerity positions that other nations have undertaken the in the past couple of years with tremendous social and economic upheaval as a result as unemployment rates soared and economies rolled into recession in places like Spain and Greece.

The US is better positioned to deal with this, but it wont be pretty. The GOP has guaranteed that much.

2 Joanne  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 10:34:57am

To get a really good idea about the origins of the sequester, you really need to go back to 2011, because this was a result of the GOP holding our credit rating hostage. Almost immediately, the GOP did everything to not work on the government’s finances, but to stop cuts from defense spending.

This is the Budget Control Act of 2011. It is where the sequester came from. It was introduced by Harkin (D) in the Senate and Dreier (R) in the House (if I am reading all this correctly).

House vote:
GOP: Ayes: 174 Noes: 66
Dem: Ayes 95 Noes: 95

Senate vote:v 74-26
GOP: Ayes: 22 Noes: 52
Dem: Ayes: 20 Noes: 6 (incl one I)
(don’t quote me…I had to count and I did it quickly)

There’s this:

Republicans have been been clear that they do not regard deep, looming cuts to defense and domestic programs — the enforcement mechanism at the heart of last year’s debt limit agreement — as a reason to compromise with Democrats and put real tax revenues into the mix of cuts and reforms required to reduce deficits over time.

But in recent weeks they’ve taken things a step further. They’ve disavowed the so-called “sequester” altogether and handed full responsibility for its existence to President Obama — despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of them voted to implement it last August.

And this (which, for the record, I agree with, but the point remains):

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has proposed legislation that would exempt veterans’ health programs from any of the required $600 billion in sequestration cuts required this year under the Budget Control Act.

National Review loved the sequester.

Maybe a better alternative would be for Republicans to realize that they have no reason to be afraid of the sequester, since even under sequestration spending will continue to grow (even defense). When that fear is gone, they may be willing to stand their ground on the revenue side.

But wait, there’s more….

3 Joanne  Tue, Feb 26, 2013 10:37:03am

A WSJ OpEd (behind a paywall), but the title gives a hint: The Sequester Option
The spending cuts in 2013 would hardly be onerous.

Pat Toomey on the sequester:

Overall, though, Toomey was positive about the $1.2 trillion sequester, saying that while he was “terribly disappointed” that the supercommittee couldn’t reach a deal, the automatic sequester amounts to a “silver lining” in the failure.

Paul Ryan champions sequester before he decides he doesn’t like it after all.

Representative (and failed VP nominee) Paul Ryan (R-WI) can tell you all about how great sequestration is. Why, he’s been a fan since 2004. Not just a fan — he’s pushed sequestration as the solution, as good governance, since 2004. When he finally got it in 2011, he bragged about it to Fox News. Oh, the conservatives finally got it, he told Sean Hannity! The holy grail of economic discipline is here! WOO HOO!

Ryan explained, “We want to make it very difficult for Congress to avoid this budget discipline.”

Now that it’s here, though, Paul Ryan no likey the sequester anymore. Budget discipline bad.

And a bonus: A Boehner take down on the sequester.


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