From the Washington Post:
The big sequester gamble: How badly will the cuts hurt?
By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane | February 23, 2013
With the ax set to fall on federal spending in five days, the question in Washington is not whether the sequester will hit, but how much it will hurt.
Over the past week, President Obama has painted a picture of impending disaster, warning of travel delays, laid-off firefighters and pre-schoolers tossed out of Head Start. Conservatives accuse Obama of exaggerating the impact, and some White House allies worry the slow-moving sequester may fail to live up to the hype.
“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health-care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”…
Isn’t that an amazing admission? This (Obama-Care) ‘lobbyist’ is deathly afraid that these so-called cuts will not cause enough pain. And then people might think it is actually possible to reduce the growth in spending after all.
In the long partisan conflict over government spending, the sequester is where the rubber meets the road. Obama is betting Americans will be outraged by the abrupt and substantial cuts to a wide range of government services, from law enforcement to food safety to public schools. And he is hoping they will rise up to demand what he calls a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that replaces some cuts with higher taxes.
But if voters react with a shrug, congressional Republicans will have won a major victory in their campaign to shrink the size of government. Instead of cancelling the sequester, the GOP will likely push for more.
Which would be a nightmare for the Democrats. How can spending be reduced without the world ending?
But this admission also means that it’s up to Obama to make sure this minuscule reduction in the increase in spending hurts the people of the US as much as possible. And does anyone doubt that he will do everything in his power to make that happen?
“It would be a big problem for the White House if the sequester came and went and nobody really noticed anything. Then people will start saying, ‘Well, maybe we can cut spending,” said John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who penned a recent Wall Street Journal piece titled “Learning to Love the Sequester.”
Adding to the liberal angst is concern that the scale of the cuts may be overstated, at least in the short term. While the sequester orders the White House to withdraw $85 billion in spending authority from affected agencies in the fiscal year that ends in September, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that agencies will reduce actual spending by only about $44 billion, with the remaining cuts carried over into future years…
Which is a stunning admission from the Washington Post. Which means that we are not talking about a 2% cut in spending, but only a 1% cut. Which means one penny on every dollar. And, again, these are not cuts anyway.
But in the long history of the world, has there ever been so much sound and fury over one cent on the dollar?