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Sequestration
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5117

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:25 pm    Post subject: Sequestration Reply with quote

Sequestration cuts are looming, and its beginning to look like there won't be any last minute deal. Reps are determined to protect their top earners from more taxes, and the military. Democrats are worried about the social safety net, the net impact on jobs, and public employees. Is this the best our politics can do? Commentary here: http://www.politico.com/p/pages/sequestration/

Now CBS is wondering if it will really be so bad: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57570191/will-sequestration-really-be-that-bad/

For an administrative agency in government, cuts of 5-8% can readily be absorbed without carnage. I think that public employees, particularly in municipalities and in police departments, can deal with a wage freeze in what has been at least a mildly deflationary period. But the difficulty with the sequester is that administrative agencies are a tiny part of the budget--the big three are the military, medicare, and social security. Unemployment and assistance programs have been larger since 2008 due to the recession. So those programs, as the largest, will see the biggest cuts. It is needed, but I would pose two questions. Is it needed now? Would we do better with a more precise series of cuts, or is this all that our current polarized politics is capable of?
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1925

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac...I believe Social Security and Medicaid are exempt from this cut and Medicare cuts are limited to 2% in provider reimbursements. Ironically, these areas are the largest programs and efficiency would be most beneficial.

I am not all that concerned about the ability for most programs to provide the bulk of their services at reduced budgets. Most of us in the private sector did the same for less during the recession to stay in business. What I am more concerned about is the repercussions to a fragile economy. Even wasteful spending is spending! I would rather this sequestration was gradually applied to lessen the shock to the economy.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3321

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always been a small government conservative. The only way this can be done in the real world is for the gov. to expand and contract just like my business must do.The USGov. only expands.
I think the sequester is the only way it will contract despite the imperfect way that will happen.

As to the spending, the money will be spent if it is printed, just in other ways.


Last edited by keycocker on Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5117

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to demonstrate that there are thoughtful conservative criticisms of Obama, not originating from either Mike Fick or mrgybe, look at Debra Sanders column, which I saw in the Chronicle this morning:

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2013/02/21/if-youre-a-taxpayer-youre-with-stupid-n1516904/page/full/

It is fair to criticize Obama for suggesting sequestration as a strategy to put off discussion about responding to the debt until after the election--and now trying to distance himself from the consequences. But it is not fair to blame Obama, or even current Republicans, for failing to negotiate in good faith, even with a looming deadline that compels negotiation.

I cannot remember the last time that Congress passed a bi-partisan budget. I do remember the last time they dealt with controversial legislation before the Health Care bill last Congress--it was reauthorization of the Clean Air Act in in 1990. Since that era, controversial issues and budget issues have been dealt with by adding riders to non-controversial bills, or through continuing resolutions. This failure to grapple with anything except the continuous election cycle is, I believe, tied to the erosion in respect accorded Congress.

I partially agree with the general comment by CB--reduced Federal spending does have the potential to slow what is already a lethargic economy. In bygone days, Republicans and conservative Democrats supported infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy and provide a framework for private investment. Alas, the capture of the GOP by know-nothings who don't know, or want to know, what government does that benefits them has ended that possibility of bi-partisanship.

The real difficulty I have with the stalemate is that there are elements of Federal spending that generate a lot of economic benefits, and those that generate little or none. While cost-benefit tools are not perfect, and can be manipulated by both politicians and bureaucrats, they give us a general idea of what types of spending programs generate the greatest net benefit. I do think that we are far enough from the 2008 melt-down that we have to start addressing the deficit. Unfortunately, it seems that sequestration is not going to be a tactic to force hard decisions, but instead just another arrow in the partisan quivers of both parties. Stasis is more likely than compromise or evolution in policy and spending.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1925

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac

I agree with you, Simpson and Bowles that the sequestration is not the best method to reduce spending. As you indicated, it may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

However, I do not believe it would be quite the catastrophe that many claim. There will, definitely, be high profile cuts. Simpson or Bowles indicated this in an interview I heard...he mentioned we would see the Washington Monument closed (for theator). But, the bureaucrats I know are, generally, interested in providing the most important programs and expenditures within their departments. I believe they would rise to the occasion.

My wife once worked in public medicine. Cuts in funding were typical. The staff would buckle down and still provide the most critical care. This does not work long term; but, short term it could generate efficiencies.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5117

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CB--agree pretty much down the line. 10% cuts can be absorbed in most administrative agencies, maybe even two years in a row. Things don't get done--but it forces agencies to set priorities and provide feedback to the legislators who threw projects at them without money to carry them out. And bureaucrats will feature some high profile cuts to focus attention.

The quality of politics remains very poor. I think Congressional leadership and Obama agreed to this approach to allow some time to reach agreement on more precise cuts. But reaching agreement on anything seems impossible in a continuous campaign mode.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14032

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every time Obama reads off his teleprompters that sequestration will cut police, fire, medical, education, abortion, health care, pizza, energy, whatever, remember:
1. He proposed it.
2. He signed it into law.
3. He allocates its impacts.
4. He refuses to cut any spending to meet the GOP halfway.
5. He will try to blame it on the GOP, global warming, Bush ... anybody but the man who proposed it, signed it into law, allocates its cuts, and will not budge one inch to avert it.
6. NBC will support #5.
7. Ignorant viewers of #6 will eat up #5, leaving the nation in deep #2.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4037

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My prediction is that Rand Paul will be the next Republican front runner in 3 years.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/21/rand-paul-returns-surplus-operating-budget/
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3321

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that idealism Steven.
Keep it up.
Paul kisses very little ass to lobbyists groups and that will be his demise in the GOP.
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 1638
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go for it, I'm all in.
After hearing the fear mongering, crisis creator in chief, and now knowing the world will basically come to an end if we don't kill this, I'm now convinced that BHO has no intention of cutting anything anywhere. His latest statement on that was an embarrassment, how stupid does he think we are? Pretty fucking stupid evidently.
It was his idea, his creation, he was fully in support of it, and now he's done a 180.
If taking a fraction of a penny out of a dollar, out of the scheduled expansion of growth of spending will cause all this calamity, then he ain't cutting anything anywhere.
What a bunch of bull shit crap!!!
Bring it on.

_________________
I don't drink the 'cool' aid, I drink tequila, it's more honest.
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