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U.S. Capitol building.
It's time for Washington, DC to throw in the towel on a bad idea.
If Washington fails to act, March 1 will bring the first $86 billion installment of the $1.2 trillion automatic spending cut known as the sequester. If the sequester goes into effect, the indiscriminate cuts to domestic and military spending will slow economic growth and put people out of work, dismaying progressives and conservatives alike.

Everybody agrees the sequester is a terrible idea. Nobody wants it to happen. But instead of doing the obvious thing and agreeing to get rid of the sequester altogether, Congress and the White House are scrambling to propose ways of replacing it with an equal amount of deficit reductions. The problem is, nobody can agree on what those should be. Consider:

  1. Republicans want to replace the entire sequester with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social insurance programs, like food stamps. The White House says those ideas are "terrible."
  2. President Obama, meanwhile, wants a Grand Bargain, which would include combine smaller, more targeted cuts to those programs with additional revenue from tax reform. But for the most part, Republicans have said the president's proposal is dead-on-arrival because it includes tax increases. These Republicans claim to oppose the sequester, but say they'd prefer to the sequester to any sort of compromise with the president.
  3. Senate Democrats are looking for a set of smaller spending cuts and tax hikes that would replace the first part of the sequester, an effort the administration supports, but their plan requires revenue, which Republicans say they won't support. And House Progressives have proposed the only plan to eliminate the sequester that would both reduce the deficit and create jobs, but their plan makes too much sense for it to have a prayer.

Given that nobody in Washington, DC can agree on what should replace the sequester, the logical thing for them to do would be to repeal it. After all, the one thing everyone in DC seems to agree on is that the sequester is bad policy. To allow it to happen as some sort of "punishment" for not coming up with a plan for replacing it would be one of the cruelest jokes our capitol city has ever played on the nation.

And it's not just that nobody can agree on how to replace the sequester—it's that the fundamentals have changed since it was signed into law 18 months ago in the summer of 2011. The budget deficit at the time for fiscal year 2011 was $1.4 trillion. The forecast for this fiscal year is $845 billion. Even if you remove the sequester from the forecast, that's a 33 percent drop. In other words, we're already making progress on deficit reduction, even without the sequester. We do not need the sequester to bring the deficit down. It didn't make sense back in 2011, but even if it did, we don't need it now.

What we do need now are more jobs and faster economic growth. And as Meteor Blades reminded us, the most important element of this week's budget forecast was the finding that spending cuts have hurt economic growth. Fourth quarter GDP growth crashed in large part do to a sharp reduction in military spending. We absolutely know that cutting spending hurts growth. And given that we're already making progress on reducing the deficit, it's time that we renew our focus on the economy. Let's repeal the sequester instead of replacing it.

If you think jobs and the economy should be job number one and that we should repeal the sequester instead of replacing it with cuts to social insurance programs, please co-sign the letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging them to oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Without the sequester (15+ / 0-)

    how are they going to find a way to cut entitlements?

    That was the purpose of it to begin with, imho.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:06:21 AM PST

    •  They'll find a way (16+ / 0-)

      Now that Democrats and Republicans have found a way to work together, I fear for Medicare and Social Security.  There are plenty of places to cut Medicare that wouldn't hurt beneficiaries, but I don't trust Congress to do that wisely.  And Social Security shouldn't be cut at all -- as Atrios wrote, it should have benefits raised.  And the SS payroll tax should be extended to all income, with a modest cut in rate.  

      Obama still wants his grand bargain with Republicans, which will involve entitlement cuts.  There's always an opportunity to manufacture a crisis to get what they want.  If the sequester won't do it, they'll eventually find something that will.

      Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:23:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One reason I like the idea of taking the sequester (9+ / 0-)

        Defense spending takes bigger cuts than other domestic spending.

        If you're going to negotiate badly, might as well have a head start to balance things out.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:57:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But it doesn't even make any sense (3+ / 0-)

        sequester is cuts that no one wants, but Boehner wants to shift cuts to only what he wants. Why would anyone agree to this and why would he think this has any hope of succeeding? It's pure nonsense.

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:25:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This entire "sequestration" drama or Kabuki was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc

          designed to give lawmakers "cover" for cutting the heck out of the social insurance programs.

          Both parties wanted this, or they would repeal it.  I've heard Dem lawmakers say that it is possible to pass a bill to repeal, or cancel the sequestration.

          But again, it an invaluable 'tool.'  So it won't happen.

          This link says it explicitly--"White House holds back on sequester details."

          Obama’s own comments on the sequester offer insights on the administration’s motives for keeping a tight lid on the details of the potential cuts: The White House is hopeful Congress can reach an agreement during the postelection lame-duck session to head off the reductions. Obama said so himself at his third debate with Mitt Romney on Monday.  In an interview with The Des Moines Register this week, Obama described the sequester as a “forcing mechanism” that could help motivate a polarized Congress to strike a broad deal on deficit reduction.

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:47:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Except that social security, medicare, and (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, eXtina, ferg, TheLizardKing

      medicaid are not in the sequester.  They are protected.

      The whole deficit reduction thing was the wrong road in a recession, but the Big Three are protected in this.  

      It may bet that the Rs must cause another recession before people will vote them to of the house.  

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, TomP, cybersaur

        Actually, the people did vote them out of the House--Dems got over 50% of House votes--gerrymandering kept the Rs in power.  With many state legislatures having R super majorities--expect electoral college foolery in place in 2016.  Our democracy is slipping away in order to preserve White power.

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:16:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My goodness, "protected?" Social Security and (0+ / 0-)

        Medicare (not Medicaid so much, due to the ACA) are the (intentional) "bargaining chips" that will be used in so-called negotiations to end the sequester.

        This is no accident.  See Des Moise Register piece above, please.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:52:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are not in the sequester. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          The Republicans want to cut them.

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:02:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please read the transcripts at the Transcript (0+ / 0-)

            Editors here at DKos, or at my link to the President's transcript, below.

            I've already linked to several other transcripts earlier in the week.  But all of them can be found on the Transcript Editor's page.

            Both the President and Carney say that they are willing to cut "entitlement programs."

            This is documented.

            Here's a brief excerpt, and link to just one incident.

            [H/T to Lambert at Corrente.]

            PRESIDENT OBAMA:  The proposals that I put forward during the fiscal cliff negotiations in discussions with Speaker Boehner and others are still very much on the table.  I just want to repeat: The deals that I put forward, the balanced approach of spending cuts and entitlement reform and tax reform that I put forward are still on the table.

            I’ve offered sensible reforms to Medicare and other entitlements, and my health care proposals achieve the same amount of savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that have been proposed by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.

            These reforms would reduce our government’s bill -- (laughter.) What’s up, cameraman? (Laughter.) Come on, guys. (Laughter.) They’re breaking my flow all the time. (Laughter.)

            This blogger got this transcript from the White House website.

             

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:50:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, did you not read this, from above? (0+ / 0-)
        Obama described the sequester as a “forcing mechanism” that could help motivate a polarized Congress to strike a broad deal on deficit reduction.
        That means that the entire purpose of "sequestration" is to force "cuts" to mandatory spending (Social Security and Medicare), in exchange for revenue.

        The deal he's referring to is the so-called Grand Bargain.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:22:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please, understand that Social Security and (0+ / 0-)

        Medicare are the "bargaining chips"--just listen to the President's own words-- that he is proposing to trade-off, in order to cancel out the effects of sequestration.

        Those programs will be "sacrificed" (by cuttting them) in order to stop the sequestration cuts.

        When all that needs to happen, is that sequestration needs to be repealed.

        Repeatedly, I've heard lawmakers say that, of course, just like they passed the bill to create this fiasco, they can pass one to "undo it."  They just have to have the will to do so.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:01:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Spot on, joanneleon. And they need to be called (0+ / 0-)

      out on this!

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:29:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like the sequester. (10+ / 0-)

    Power in Washington is structured such that cuts the usual way are directed against those who can least afford them.  The "indiscriminate" nature of the sequester is more progressive overall than anything we'd get otherwise, especially with this President who's not a good negotiator and who doesn't feel in his bones the injustice of so-called "shared sacrifice" between those who have too little from the government and those who have way too much.  The sequester is also the only way, unless and until demonstrated otherwise, to cut the defense budget thereby demonstrating that it can be done without hurting our security.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:08:08 AM PST

    •  The sequester will bring us military cuts we ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... would never get otherwise.

      On the domestic side, Medicare cuts are limited to 2%, the lowest percentage of any category of cuts. Other domestic spending is to be cut at about 8%. An across the board 8% is awful ... it hits all of our favored programs and others as well. Except, of course, Social Security, which is exempted.

      So how about living under it for a while. Long enough, hopefully, to get cuts at lesser levels but more targeted to stuff we can do without, and providing room for programs to actually do address the very gradual economic recovery?

      If that strategy is just wishful thinking, we either don't want a compromise or we want one only on our terms. Do those choices sound at all like House Republicans?

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:54:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sequester: 600B in defense cuts over 10 years (7+ / 0-)

        Dems are never going to do better.

        And with drone-type technology, the US can cut its defense budget and actually increase its effectiveness.  Just imagine how much cheaper a jet fighter will be once the military doesn't have to worry about life support systems.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:00:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think the quickest way to bring about change (0+ / 0-)

        in Washington is to require that the amount we spend on things we like reflect the amount of taxes we are/aren't willing to pay.

        •  You've GOT to be kidding! Votes based on ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... the amount of tax you're willing to pay?

          Convert campaign contributions to tax payments, and you may be able to appreciate what you're proposing. It would be the billionaires' collective wet dream. Sheldon Adelson would already be King of the Hill.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:48:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  At this point I'm not sure I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, musiccitymollie

      with the concept of any significant spending cuts with the economy so weak, unless of course it involves extricating ourselves from pointless wars that destroy our own wealth. I think it is clear that we can do defense cuts without endangering our own security. I am not sure that the economy is strong enough, however to absorb the people who will be out of work, or be spending much less when the defense cuts hit.
      When the economy stengthens, however, then we can cut and have the people find work elsewhere.

      So, my opinion would be to just get rid of the sequester period, and I think progressives can argue it either way

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:44:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You nailed it, MichiganChet. (0+ / 0-)

        So, my opinion would be to just get rid of the sequester period,

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:23:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Respectfully, are you aware of the price that tens (0+ / 0-)

      of millions of seniors, widows, disabled persons, military veterans, etc., will pay when the Chained (Superlative) CPI is passed and enacted?  Not to mention the costs of lives, that raising the eligibility age for Medicare to age 67 will impose?

      For what?  A hundred thousand or so DOD jobs?  

      For cryin' out loud, I'm a former federal civilian service DOD employee, who went throw more RIFS than I have fingers, but I was never so craven that I wanted to hold onto a job at this cost.  It's a minute number of folks that will be affected mostly short term, compared to tens of millions of folks for decades and decades to come.

      Anyway, I don't believe that "jobs" are the real concern.

      Take a gander at this January 31, 2013 piece from WSJ:

      Obama’s Jobs Council Disbands

      President Barack Obama’s jobs council is disbanding Thursday, two years after the president tapped top executives from General Electric Co., American Express Co., Boeing Co., and other companies along with labor leaders and academics to advise him on steps to spur employment and economic growth. . . .

      The website for the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, as it’s formally called, shows it met four times since its inception – the last time on Jan. 17, 2012 — and held 18 “listening and action sessions” around the country with businesses and local leaders.

      A White House official said the council was always supposed to end after its two-year charter expired. The charter ended today and isn’t being renewed, the official said, pointing to other advisory councils, including the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, that also expired after their charters ended.

      Progressive communities need to call for an end to all this Kabuki.

      Please, ask you Congresspersons and the White House to cancel (or repeal) this ridiculous and unnecessary boondoggle!

      See the President's own words above.  This entire exercise was contrived, and can be "uncontrived," as far as I'm concerned.   :-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:16:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That would not look good (7+ / 0-)

    The accusation all along was that the President, and Congressional Dems, just wanted the increase in revenue and none of the actual cuts.  That was why the sequester was there.

    Now that we have the increased revenue to turn around and say "lets just get rid of the cuts altogether" pretty much confirms that suspicion.

    The idea of "we don't want stupid broad "meat-axe" cuts across the entire government, we want smarter targeted cuts instead" is much better (in theory as well as practice).

    Remember, the reason we are crushing the GOP right now is that we look like a party that even if you dont agree 100% with every single thing we say we are definitely trying to get things done to run the country and the other party looks like a bunch of ideological extreme clowns more obsessed about planned parenthood, Benghazi and how women's vaginas might or might not work.

    Competent rational actors.  With the GOP Clown Car parade as a backdrop this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we need to preserve in the minds of the American People.

    Doing a bait-and-switch on the "No we really weren't serious about those cuts" will not aid us.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:16:11 AM PST

    •  Don't forget about the spending caps (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leonard145b, musiccitymollie

      Those are already in place to cut spending. And then there's the cuts from the FY11 approps agreement. So even w/o sequester there's been cuts. And as I pointed out in the post, even w/o sequester, deficit is 33% reduced from when the sequester was enacted into law. Unemployment is down about 1.6 points from summer of '11 (or 17% of what the unemployment rate was then).

      •  Thats the deficit, not the debt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        play jurist, Bon Temps, Odysseus

        we are still running deficits with no road-map to ever get out from under them...not by 2020, not ever.

        Plus, these aren't all bad... I'd like to use the impetus to cut spending to get things like the oil subsidies on the table and to keep things like the corporate jet deduction in the media.  

        I wish we could get the Farm Bill back out and under a public microscope because that is one of the biggest sloppy wet-kiss of tax money giveaways out there.

        I'm happy to keep talking about spending cuts and would like to see some put in place... as long as we're the ones driving the conversation and (again) making it clear that we're looking for feasible solutions for good government and they look like extremists ranting in town-halls with tea-bags stapled to their NASCAR hats demanding that three or five (or ALL) government agencies be eliminated IMMEDIATELY because Thomas Jefferson never mentioned the Department of Education by name.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:29:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hear, Hear! (0+ / 0-)

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think it's a terrible idea (5+ / 0-)

    I think that the only thing that makes Congress act is an emergency.  The sequester creates an air of emergency that inspires people to act, and creates a deadline and accountability.  

    If they don't act.  If they don't get something done, then a bad thing will happen.     So, it's a good thing that no likes the sequester.  That creates one thing that everyone can agree on, and that can be the start of a compromise.

    Look.  I've worked on projects for over twenty years, and I can tell you that the only thing that will motivate people to get something done is a deadline and consequences.    So, while the triggering of sequestration may be a bad thing, the idea of sequestration may be a good thing.    

    If it can light a fire under Congress's lazy butt, and get them to do something, then it has served a very valuable purpose.

    •  Would you be happy with a deal that leads to.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, ferg, musiccitymollie

      ...cuts in Social Security, via the Chained-CPI.

      If Social Security is cut, who's to blame?

      Marco Rubio says it will be President Obama and the Dems.

      https://twitter.com/...

      Marco RubioVerified ‏@marcorubio

      Report that #GOP insisting on changes to social security as part of #fiscalcliff false.BTW those changes are supported by @barackobama.

      My recommendation is to allow Sequester to go into effect.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:03:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, respectfully, I disagree. Anyone who (0+ / 0-)

      refuses to do their job unless, as you say:  "So, my opinion would be to just get rid of the sequester period, . . ." should be terminated.  Certainly not acquiescued to.

      I have over twenty years in federal (civlian service), and just a little less than that, in the private sector.  I never got away with that attitude in a professional job, and neither should our lawmakers!

      Has the bar really dropped that low?

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:32:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's compromise and kick the can down the road (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, a2nite, crankypatriot

    for another three months......lol

  •  The sequester is the only thing (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, a2nite, JeffW, nextstep, eXtina, ferg, judyms9

    that keeps the bulk of cuts away from social programs.  Imposing half of the cuts on social programs is probably the best we can hope for.

    I say we keep it.

    •  What on earth? The sequester is the Kabuki (0+ / 0-)

      Theater that sets up the mechanism to enact the cuts for Social Security and Medicare.

      It is not a "defense or protection" of these programs.

      Repeal the sequester, and concentrate on actually creating jobs.  

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:37:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My only reluctance (7+ / 0-)

    Is that we will NEVER reduce Pentagon spending without some gimmick like this.  Maybe we modify the sequester so the heads of each division get to direct the cuts instead of just having them go blindly forward across the board, but we need to cut probably another 20% off the Pentagon's budget beyond the sequester to restore real long term health to the American economy.

    That or just keep blowing up brown people. Whichever.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:37:50 AM PST

    •  If that's true, it's only because we don't "demand (0+ / 0-)

      it."

      I'm sorry, but that is a defeatist attitude, IMO.

      And nobody here would rather see defense spending drastically cut, more than I would.

      But there are ways to go at this, without beginning the process of eviscerating our social insurance programs.

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:40:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too bad none of the proposed ideas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    actually deals with the problem, so I dunno what the argument is really about.

    "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," - Buddha.

    by sujigu on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:42:27 AM PST

    •  What it's about is cutting the social safety net (0+ / 0-)

      programs.

      Period.  Full stop.

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:41:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think it's so bad. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep, judyms9

    I'd like to see military spending cuts replaced with economic stimulus. That's an important short term economic issue and I don't downplay the real impact that the cuts will have if they aren't replaced. However, I don't like this idea that the military-industrial complex says "If you cut our funding we'll make the economy scream" and we just fold. I'm not a huge fan of the marriage of Keynesianism and militarism implicit in a lot of the discourse around the sequester. Where does that lead us? War as stimulus?

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:52:11 AM PST

  •  But the sequester is NOT a bad idea. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, PhilJD, nextstep, musiccitymollie

    Probably looks scary to those of you who celebrated how the administration averted a depression because you didn't lose YOUR job, but there is more to life than avoiding short-term pain.

    If you look at the way the cuts get divvied out, the biggest cuts are to defense spending -- an ox that we seem to thave a terrible time goring by any other means.

    Let the sequester happen, then, for all to see, let our supposed representatives do some furious horse-trading.

    If you really care about jobs and the middle class, champion things that will help us.  Come out up front and say "we need this more than we need the XB77Q mighty mite killer drone that is almost able to flie up an enemy soldier's nostril and deliver a fatal dose of barbituates and alcohol.

    Yes, it'll hurt for a bit, but -- the administration has been perfectly willing to let millions of people twist in the economic wind for the last four years. Would it really be that bad to have a showdown -- temporary pain and all -- to get out of this non-recovery "recovery" we've been in? Would it really be so bad to give the long-term unemployed a little bit of hope?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:55:32 AM PST

    •  The problem is.... (0+ / 0-)

      that the military spending will eventually be put back in the budget.  It will be proposed by the GOP and passed by the House.  The Senate Dems will go along, maybe after a short fight, because if they don't, the GOP will run against them as "soft on defense".  Besides, the weapons lobby will buy as many Dems as they need.  It won't be filibustered, because,...when was the last time anything regarding national defense got filibustered by either party?

      But, the domestic cuts will be permanent, and very painful for some.

      And, all of the cuts will tank the economy just in time for Dem Senators to run in the 2014 mid-terms.  In every president's second term, there is an event that depresses a president's popularity, starts the "fatigue", and basically ends that president's ability to legislate domestic issues.  Nixon: Watergate;  Reagan: Iran Contra;  Clinton:  Monica;  Bush II:  Iraq War guerrila attacks.

      For Obama, that event could be sequester.

      •  If we take that position, we concede the (0+ / 0-)

        country is ungovernable.

        Might as well ask somebody with a nice strong-armed government, like China, to come on in and take over for us.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:31:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lets not ever forget, (5+ / 0-)

    the only reason we are here at this point is because Republicans insisted on playing a game of debt default chicken and the president was so eager to avoid it in search of a Grand Bargain. Had the president taken the "no negotiations over debt ceiling" approach in 2011 that he is taking now, Republicans would have done just what they did this year: blink.  And then we never would have gotten the sequester and economic growth would not be slowing down as it is now.

    Learn lessons. Do not negotiate with Republicans.

  •  Goodbye "Simpson Bowles" (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, JeffW, eXtina, judyms9, Odysseus, Berkshires

    I'd just like to see the MSM call out conservatives for their refusal to pay for the war they ordered.

  •  Now Boehner's nonsense is transparent (0+ / 0-)

    Usually it's couched but now it's out in the wide open

    Republicans want to replace the entire sequester with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social insurance programs, like food stamps.
    In other words, you Democrats give me, Boehner what I want, cuts to entitlements, in exchange for me not getting cuts to defense, just because. Sure, that makes sense.

    And all this nonsense that Repubs already 'gave' in on tax hikes? While Obama already 'gave' on spending cuts, so why is that not off the table? LIke revenues now are? Because, Democrats are not obstructionists.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:23:14 AM PST

  •  This also makes too much sense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    to be taken seriously by anybody. But it's worth a shot.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:51:43 AM PST

  •  CBO forecasts arent' worth the paper they're (0+ / 0-)

    printed on.

    The original estimate/forecast for the 2012 deficit was 1.07 trillion. Actual was 1.4 trillion.

    Only off by 30-40% there.

    I wouldn't hold my breath on $845 billion panning out.

  •  Keynes was prescient when he wrote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9

    “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury." Even much to its own detriment of its current austerity policies, IMF admitted spending cuts/ austerity isn't working under the current recession.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

  •  $86 Billion is no "crisis" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9

    Sorry, Jed.. you cannot gin up a new "crisis" from a measly $86 Billion dollar cut.

    If the sequester goes into effect, the indiscriminate cuts to domestic and military spending will slow economic growth and put people out of work, dismaying progressives and conservatives alike.
    We just spent $51 Billion on Sandy relief without blinking an eye.  And half of that was pork in states on the other side of the country from Hurricane Sandy!

    So, with new spending up $51 B, the real cuts are $35 B.. a drop in the proverbial bucket.

    The brouhaha over these sequestration cuts proves that no one - neither Obama nor the House nor the Senate - will ever give up one cent willingly on their pet pork.  It proves that no party in Washington is serious about the debt or deficit spending.  If this is the only way we can get a very moderate cut, then so be it.

    •  Ahh, that is $86 billion (0+ / 0-)

      per year, for 10 years.  And, in 2013, the cuts will have to be absorbed in only 3/4 of a year.  It will be brutal, and at a minimum, will depress growth down to next to nothing.  All the markets care about is interest and growth.  If the markets tank, then the MSM will be all "the sky is falling", and Dems will get shellacked again in the midterms.

      Obama's "legacy" can't survive a second recession, which is why he's working so hard to avoid the sequester.

  •  Repeal has been such an obvious choice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    Call it the "You know that law we passed in 2011 that turned out to be one of the stupidest things Congress did in a long time, which is saying something, amiright, well, Never Mind" Act.

  •  Incredibly naive. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    "If the sequester goes into effect, the indiscriminate cuts to domestic and military spending will slow economic growth and put people out of work, dismaying progressives and conservatives alike. "

    Do you really belive conservatives are dismayed by putting people out of work?

    Putting people out of work is the single greatest desire of conservatives.

    Unemployment forces wages down, down, down, enabling businesses to cut wages and benefits, thereby increasing profit margins while redistributing wealth to the Greedy One Percent.

    It is astonishing to read such a naive statement from a writer on Daily Kos.

  •  If I were Boehner, I would cut a deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    to essentially repeal the sequester. The Dems + nervous 20-30 or so GOPers would be enough to get this done.  They can put in some soft targets to achieve in the future that will already be achieved by doing nothing.  They could also talk to the impact on the economy and decide that delay is prudent.  

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:30:50 AM PST

  •  No one will to buy their fiscal prospectus ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... if they can't threaten to shoot our dog.

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