What is the Sequester? It all goes back to the bipartisan disaster of the 2011 debt-ceiling talks. You may recall that the full Congress and the president raised the debt ceiling limit with concessions. Neither side of our Congress could work well enough with the opposition to do their jobs properly. In an attempt to assure they would solve the debt and deficit and debt ceiling once and for all, our Congress gave up on doing it themselves.
Instead, they outsourced the job to a crackerjack “super committee”—a twelve member panel from their own ranks. There were six Democrats, six Republicans; six Senators, and six Representatives appointed by the respective chamber leaders, hoping to be able to get the job done.
On August 2, 2011, when our Congress formally turned over its job to the super committee, it also increased the debt ceiling as part of the deal. Their work was to be completed by November 23. To assure they got the job done, the Congress gave the committee a big caveat.
If they failed to create a real plan, which included at least $1.2 trillion in surgical cuts against the ten year baseline “budget,” a poison pill called sequestration would kick in automatically on January 2, 2013. Instead of surgical cuts, the sequester cuts would be chain saw mutilations—across the board cuts—evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending.
Knowing how adverse the Republicans would be to defense cuts, the sequestration was first suggested by the White House. President Obama felt that his sequestration idea, as the poison pill, would result in positive results for Democrats and a lot of blame for Republicans.
The mission of the select committee was to continue the haggling and to eventually strike a deal to get fiscal matters under control. Of course a silent objective was for no member of the committee on either side, to be blamed for anything that would put their reelections at risk.
The super committee dallied and never had its first meeting until September 13, 2011, just about two months before its final work product was due. On November 21, the committee served up a platitude about its work and announced that it was calling it quits:
"After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.”
If you or I did this, we would be fired.
Sequestration was thus scheduled automatically to take effect on January 2, 2013. From November 21, 2011 to January 1, 2013, Congress and the president had over thirteen months to get it right. They chose instead to do nothing until January 1, 2013.
Then, as a piece of the fiscal cliff “solution,” which raised taxes on those families making over $450,000 per year, and brought back the 2% of the payroll tax that had been cut, Congress and the president postponed the sequester until March 1, and that is why it is back in the news again.
The 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act (GRHDRA) used the term sequestration to relate to the federal budget. The term was all about a seizure or sequestration of funding when a set of goals were not achieved. There have been five times in previous history where a sequestration, a.k.a. sequester, was triggered by acts, which the Congress failed to complete, but no instance has been as infamous as the current.
Sequestration, a.k.a.—the sequester, is broad, automatic, across-the-board deferred budget cuts that in a fair world would be split evenly between two or more factions. In this case, both the Democrats and the Republicans agreed to apply sequestration against defense and domestic discretionary spending.
They acknowledged that there was no intelligent determination of where the cuts should best be applied. Both the president and the Congress felt that the lack of intelligent specifics would be an incentive for the committee to bring in a better deal.
Social Security, Medicaid, specific targeted anti-poverty programs, military pay, and the operational cost of ongoing wars are exempted from the sequester. Mostly everything else in the “budget,” is getting a small piece of the axe. The military “budget” is scheduled to get whacked 7.3 percent and the domestic budget is getting hit by 5%. Overall, since non-defense is currently a larger share than defense, these are the percentages it takes for a 50-50 split. For 2013, the total amount of cuts is $85 billion.
Low information voters still do not believe that Obama whacked $720 billion from Medicare for Obamacare. Yet, the fact that he did is indisputable. Likewise, just like he nailed the Republicans on defense with his sequestration plan, since he got away with stealing $720 billion from Medicare once, Obama is back at the troth, this time by choosing not to exempt Medicare from sequestration cuts..
In other words, Obama likes taking bucks from Medicare. He could have exempted Medicare, but he did not. Maybe he just does not like old people.
And, so, Medicare is not exempt and will face a 2 percent cut in provider payments starting next week. Providers are health professionals such as your doctor. Many doctors, such as yours and mine, may very well choose to retire rather than be slaves to government. There is no logical reason for a doctor to use their 401-K to fund their medical practice.
Sequestration was supposed to be a failsafe in a process that could not fail. Some call it a poison pill option that was never supposed to happen if reasonable humans were at the bargaining table. It would not have happened if there were stalwarts on the super committee who chose to do their jobs for the people. Instead, the small children on the committee could not strike a deal and they retreated from their responsibilities.
If you or I gave up in getting a lug bolt off a Chevy in a tire-change process, we would be fired. In just the same way as our boss would fire US for incompetence; we need to take a hard look at firing our inept representatives. They had more than enough time to make a deal and then felt it was OK to simply give up! They claim to represent US, yet act like we are their last concern. .
Rather than work with Congress to stop the sequester, Obama did nothing but campaign. Neither Benghazi nor the sequester would slow down the trips on the Air Force One luxury jet.
The Republican-led House passed a bill on December 20 that would have stopped sequestration dead in its tracks. Obama and the Democrats rejected the legislation. According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), this bill was the nation’s best path to avoiding the fiscal cliff, to manage the debt, and to avoid the sequestration. Now Obama is whining, continually blaming Republicans from the bully pulpit. The full blame allocation for the sequester is squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats and Obama.
Obama’s believed that sequestration would constrain weak legislators. It failed miserably. Weak legislators in my Party, the Democrats, permitted sequestration to be a part of the trifecta—the 2013 episode of the fiscal cliffs.
Nobody knows who President Obama, the architect of sequestration will blame next. I would not be surprised if the retiring Pope Benedict XVI ultimately gets hung out to dry on the US sequestration dilemma.
Entertainment Tonight on February 12, gave the Pope a bashing simply about being the Pope. Still nobody knows why?
This could have been a move to soften the retiring Pontiff up a bit so that Obama could escape with a little innuendo that it was Benedict XVI, not him that had authored the sequestration. Obama is looking for all escape routes so he does not get blamed. If it has to be the Pope, from the president’s perspective so be it! “He’s gone—I’ve got four more years!”
Maybe when Obama comes clean and outright blames the retiring Pope for sequestration, it will stick and hold with low information voters? Wouldn’t that be a shame? Sometimes I wake up and think that the US political scenario has become much like a video game in which faceless people fight faceless people and only faceless people are annihilated.
Yet, Americans have real faces and real lives and at least from our representatives, we deserve much better. Perhaps a valid conclusion is that we the people have elected a bunch of corrupt, cowardly politicians to Congress and to the presidency. None of the above people are worthy of even tying the shoelaces of our Pope. May God bless Benedict XVI in his retirement, and may his prayers help America’s low information voters awakened to affirm that they see that God, not Obama offers salvation.
What does sequestration mean in dollars cut in 2013?
Sequestration calls for a total of $85.3 billion to be cut from this year’s “budget.” The dollars cut do rise steadily each subsequent year to a total of just about $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
From his squirming and denials, one would not believe that the president ever had anything to do with the sequestration he now claims that he dreads. On Sunday, February 17, Bob Woodward reaffirmed that Obama and sequestration will be forever linked.
No jobs and a poor economy are a great recipe for dependency. By ideology, Obama cannot cut even a nickel from anything other than defense because he is who he is. However, this same president would be pleased to axe the entire defense budget in the next hour if nobody was looking. If only we could get the low information voters to start looking.
You may not believe this short story about the success of Obama’s redistributive efforts. In Northeastern PA (NEPA), just about a week ago, a local conservative talk show host, L. A. Tarone, blew the lid on our new Obama-led welfare state. On WILK Radio, Tarone was discussing a local mother of two who makes $19,000 or so per year. He proved that thanks to Team Obama, she was given a way to enjoy the good life on the rest of US. Her story is a new benchmark on government excess.
Tarone was astonished that this young mom was entitled to $81,500 in additional free government benefits per year. The government sources are innumerable for her largesse, thus clearly demonstrating government waste. This single mom netted over $100,000 per year thanks to Obama’s new society.
Nancy Pelosi and other prominent Democrats have been blaming Republicans for everything from the fiscal cliff to sequestration, claiming children are going to starve if cuts are made. Do we really believe that even a 20% cut dow to $80,000 per year would affect this mom’s children?
You and I and L. A. Tarone now know that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can never take enough from American workers to buy the votes of the welfare class. It is time to dismiss their disingenuous pleas. Sooner or later, we run out of other people’s money.
Who can justify a $100,000 deal for a welfare mom who actually works? Pelosi wants you to think that Republicans are trying to starve those on welfare, when many, such as this mom, are taking it all as if they have just won the Powerball. Go girl!
As we can well see, there really are places in the budget to help us all recover and prosper again by reducing such unwarranted and excessive redistributive spending. There are many others for sure. Right now, the U.S. is just a week away from swallowing the poison sequestration pill, which may actually be the start of a good spending cure.
Another part of the trifecta (continuing funding resolution) is ready to squeeze US later in March and then we have the debt ceiling to deal with again on May 18. Meanwhile Obama has been doing his best to stay out of the foray, though he is the president. I have no problem with the president taking a long weekend to get advice from Tiger Woods about how to run the country. Tiger’s advice may help. At least he is a capitalist.
A solution for sequestration is nowhere in sight. With the president’s higher priorities of cruise ship control and football control, it will not be discussed until the last minute in crisis mode. The sequester should have been incentive enough for warring political parties to find the surgical cuts necessary to put the US on a path to solvency.
Trying to figure out the Obama psyche has been a traumatic ride for the Republican Party. It sure seems that he simply does not care about anything unless Republicans can be blamed for it, and like a spoiled child, he is quick to start blame games.
Last week, Rush Limbaugh, who I admire more and more as he has become a real conservative, figured it out. Then, on Tuesday of this week, Limbaugh concluded that Obama does not care about sequestration. He only cares about the 2014 elections and that will be his total focus. Rush has it right. Obama’s life for the next two years will be all about destroying Republicans. There will be no time to govern the US. The progressive press appears to have signed up as willing accomplices.
Obama is a powerful force for the dark side. He may be down but never out. Just like the energizer bunny, he can keep going and going and going. Some remember when Sarah Palin quite effectively neutered and brought Obama down in her 2008 acceptance speech at the Republican convention.
Though the victim of a knockout punch by Palin, candidate Obama got up, dusted himself off, and revived himself. He got all rejuvenated and plotted Palin’s demise. It was as if he had never been silenced. Palin was finished as a viable candidate just weeks later, and with her went all the hopes of the McCain campaign. Obama has many more than nine lives. Too bad he is not as good a president as a campaigner
The president is hurting and is probably licking his wounds right now, since his “Blame Republicans First” campaign on sequestration has backfired somewhat, though progressive media outlets are still carrying his water on the subject. Regardless, he cannot ever be counted out. He will come back with even more creative attacks against Republicans until Americans see him as the charlatan that he is.
Despite all the crying and the gnashing of teeth in the media, an $85 billion immediate surgical deficit reduction is all that is necessary for 2013 to delay the defined sequestration from taking effect next week. This would precede $1.115 trillion in additional cuts from the baseline over the next nine years.
Unfortunately, when ideologues do not have to place their reelection chances on the line for doing the right thing for the people, most often, they do whatever benefits themselves, not the people.
President Obama, who authored the sequester notion in 2011; once threatened to veto any attempt to sidestep sequestration. But, the new Sergeant Schultz Obama is looking to escape from the president’s sequestration commitment statements. Schultzy Obama is looking for absolution and he is looking for a target at which to point his new blame-thrower. He acts as many other children that we too often elect to run our government. Schultzy Obama wants us to think President Obama had nothing to do with sequestration, when, in fact, he invented it.
Perhaps we can also attribute this quote to the president:
“I see nothing! I was not even here! I did not even get up this morning!” Was it Sergeant Schultz or Obama who suggested sequestration?”
You make the call!