So it looks as if the idea of a chained CPI for social security, which Obama was once open to as part of a Grand Bargain, is now off the table in the possible mini bargain to avert the taxation wall greeting us all in the new year if nothing happens in the Congress. What I'm unclear about is whether the sequester would be suspended if a smaller bargain around taxes takes shape. I don't think it should be.
The great advantage of the sequester is that it treats military spending as it does domestic spending, and imposes equivalent cuts on each. Without that kind of pressure, the full weight of the military-industrial complex would push Washington – Democrats and Republicans alike – into leaving the Pentagon alone, and making all the savings in entitlements or (much worse) in discretionary spending already pared to the bone. Now I think entitlements need to be pared back; but I agree with the principle that domestic and military spending should be cut by the same amount. If you throw out the sequester, you throw out that rare moment when the neo-imperial spending binge might be brought under control. I remind you: the Pentagon is today spending twice what it was a decade ago. And I remind you of the following chart which is currently the favorite to win the Dish's Chart of the Year contest:
Should the Pentagon really be exempted from sacrifice, when the sick and the poor and the elderly are all being forced to pay more or get less?