Spending we consider essential gets the same size cut as spending we consider wasteful. There’s no ability to make the cuts to farm subsidies a bit bigger and the cuts to, say, the FBI a bit smaller. It’s $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction in which we pretty much don’t make a single choice about what is and isn’t worth funding.
[T]he cuts for 2013 amount to maybe a whopping $120 billion in an annual budget that is likely to run about $3.8 trillion. Out of the $120 billion, about $50 billion will come out of military budget that will be well north of $650 billion, including war funding. Let's leave aside the mad rush by every part of the government to link its current failures to a future spending cut and instead point out the obvious: Sequestration in no way threatens any basic governmental function. Period.
Suzy Khimm surveys the horizon:
No one on Capitol Hill thinks any deal will happen before Election Day. After Nov. 6, Congress will have just a few weeks to come up with an alternative to the sequester. The challenge is complicated by the fact that the Bush tax cuts, the payroll tax, unemployment benefits and a host of other tax breaks are all scheduled to expire Dec. 31. The cumulative impact of all of these scheduled cuts and changes is what’s popularly known as the fiscal cliff. There’s already talk of passing a short-term stopgap budget plan during the lame-duck session to buy legislators more time to come up with a grand bargain.
However, when asked to name any points that Republicans might be willing to budge on, Eric Cantor declined to respond. Boehner, meanwhile, suggested that a deal is unlikely, calling for Obama to lead on the issue. Ackerman unspins the GOP's spin:
The Republicans want to lay the blame for sequestration on President Obama, whose White House came up with putting defense on the sequestration block last year. They want Obama to sign a bill they recently passed exempting defense from sequestration. The White House wants to lay the blame for sequestration on the Republicans, who came up with the Budget Control Act in the first place during a gamble over the debt ceiling and overwhelmingly voted for it. The White House opposes the GOP bill on the grounds that exempting defense from sequestration would put the burden of budget cuts on programs intended to help the sick, the old, the poor, and the schoolchildren. Expect to hear the dull buzzword “sequestration” frequently from Mitt Romney as he argues that Obama is out to slash defense. An actual solution to avert this disaster is MIA.
Steve Benen fact-checks:
Romney claimed, "This sequestration idea emanated from the White House." No, it didn't. This sequestration idea emanated from House Republicans.