Sequester!

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  1. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    If they don’t reach a deal, who’s really to blame

    Blame?Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Is Bob Woodward the biggest douche in mainstream journalism?

    There are two answers to that:

    1. Indubitably, now that Broder is gone.
    2. Indubitably, even if Broder were still around.Report

  3. Avatar Barry Kurtz
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    says:

    No matter what happens with the sequester, in the end Obama will come out on top. No one in recent history plays a better political long game than Obama.Report

  4. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Winning and losing, in a political sense, is pretty cloudy in these kind of issues. However R’s have distinct disadvantage here since they have built their brand around repeatedly, loudly and stridently insisting on budgets cuts now and forever. So for some of them anything but cuts and cuts is a massive loss and for others admitting that some cuts are stupid and cause damage goes against their mantra. They have talked themselves into a box with no opening.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I approved of the budget-reduction deal when it was reached so I’d be a hypocrite to condemn its effects now that we face it. “No sacred cows,” was my mantra and I’m sticking with that.

    In retrospect, a more graduated sequester would probably have been better. Perhaps not politically achievable, though.

    I can, however, condemn the political branches of the government for failing to take the steps necessary to prevent what we face now. Better choices could have been made.

    Woodward isn’t the biggest douche in mainstream journalism. Failing to send the military to engage in a theater where it needs to engage is madness, notwithstanding the condition of the budget. If the military must engage in “X” and accomodate budget cuts “Y” then “Y” needs to come from somewhere that doesn’t materialy affect “X.” Woodward might be wrong about the necessity of “X” engagement, but if not, then his proclamation is accurate rather than douchey.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      You don’t think Obama’s decision to not send the carrier isn’t a ploy to put political pressure on Congress?

      Is there a critical need for the carrier in that particular place at this particular moment?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to James Hanley
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        says:

        I don’t know enough to answer that question on my own. I’m simply assuming that engagement “X” (deployment of the Truman) is necessary because there are people in uniform who say that it is.Report

        • Avatar Jack in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Having spent all of my adult life in uniform and still being surrounded by them all day, I can assure you that military leaders say an awful lot of self serving and risable things. It may be a reasonable position that two carriers in the gulf region is strategically wise, but it is quite another to suggest that the incremental reduction of capability from having only one massivly powerful Carrier Battle Group (along with all the other regional assets) is “madness.”Report

          • Avatar Jack in reply to Jack
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            says:

            Also, I think the douchery has to do with Woodward’s implied proposal: that the President break the law to do “X” and his ridiculous “the white hosue threatened me” nonsense.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley
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        says:

        If indeed it’s not necessary then what makes it a political ploy rather than at least a potentially prudent/legitimate part of implementing the defense side of the sequester?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      No sacred cows is different than “World’s Stupidest Method of Cutting X%”, which is what this is.

      So the government will cut X%, across the board, even if it costs them more than they save, rather than approaching the cuts in any sort of sensible way — which starts by identifying a goal (X% of our budget) and then looks at where it’s actually spent to see where the best cuts are until you reach the goal.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20
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        says:

        No sacred cows is different than “World’s Stupidest Method of Cutting X%”, which is what this is.

        No, putting it off for another few months and then cutting $85B out of the then remaining fiscal year with simple across-the-board cuts would be stupider. I got to watch a small part of the Colorado budget function that way, where the final figures weren’t in until three months before the end of the fiscal year, so there was either a huge surplus that had to be spent (generally badly), or there huge service cuts that had to be made. The time I sat in front of legislature’s budget committee (as one of their staff) to try to explain why we did such stupid things was not fun.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michael Cain
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          says:

          Michael,

          How much do you know about budgeting? And more specifically, is your knowledge mostly about the state budgeting process, or do you know a lot about the federal budgeting process? (This isn’t a challenge; I’m seeking for a person who’s very knowledgeable about the federal budget process.)Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain
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          says:

          So we agree that flat %cuts across the board (as in “Cut your budget by 5% by cutting all departments by 5%, which is done by cutting all sub-departments by 5%) — you know, completely non-discretionary so everyone gets a 5% haircut no matter what..

          Is the most moronic way to cut, although it could always be said that you can find an even more moronic TIME to use that moronic method.

          I can buy that. Having said that: The sequester is moronic. It would only be possible to make it stupider my changing the timing of the sequester, not the method.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20
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        says:

        “So the government will cut X%, across the board, even if it costs them more than they save,”

        Maybe not what you were getting at, but that’s one of the additional perverse things about the way the BCA + CR is structured. People tasked to cut their budgets are totally prohibited from doing anything, like buyouts or contract cancellations, that would cost even one cent more immediately, but save money in the medium and long terms. Hence universal furloughs (universal to avoid any merit board type appeals) and slicing op & maintence budgets are the only things that are possible. That’s why everyone is seeing the Washington Monument effect. (were it actually open)Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      “I can, however, condemn the political branches of the government for failing to take the steps necessary to prevent what we face now. Better choices could have been made.”

      This is not exactly ‘both sides do it’, but it is in the apartment next door.Report

  6. Avatar BlaiseP
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    says:

    The Sequester is absolutely magnificent political posturing. It will allow everyone involved to made “restorations” and not “cuts” to the budget.

    Everyone will get to come out of this looking like Good Guys, pulling wet, shivering passengers from the dark waters of the North Atlantic. If the Titanic has to go down, so be it. Everyone will weep a bucket of crocodile tears over its sinking and there might be some harrumphing about the competence of the captain and crew, we might see a bit of that in a few years, a few bespectacled gents on late-nite CSPAN — but soon enough, watch and see, Badly Needed Programs will be Saved. Hurrahs and back-slapping all round, grateful rescue-ees, much shoving of microphones at folks in the lifeboats.

    Meanwhile, the bloviators and bloggers will get to run around, screaming like Chicken Littles. This entire process is not one whit different than the Mayan Calendar Rollover. It’s a non-crisis.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Multiple kudos to your first paragraph.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Agreed as well.

      I’d only add to that two further comments:

      First, the most likely thing the typical person will notice is the holding up and subsequent release of their income tax refund. The rest gets the journalists talking, but this is what’s going to affect the most voters.

      Second, nothing in the sequester has very much to do with balancing the budget. The only things that could significantly help balance the budget are (1) cuts to entitlements for the middle class; (2) tax increases on many more people, not just the wealthy; and (3) much larger cuts to military spending than perhaps even my Cato colleagues are willing to consider.

      If we’re not talking about those things, then we’re not really talking about balancing the budget. Because pretty much anything less isn’t going to do it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        Is anyone really talking about balancing the budget? Or just bringing the deficit down to the point where we can avoid having to have debt-ceiling limit fights on a semi-annual basis?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Is anyone really talking about balancing the budget? Or just bringing the deficit down…

          Both, I think. Everyone who’s paying attention realizes that spending has to go down. An increasing number of people are realizing that the sum total of taxes are too high. I think the motivation is to take steps in the agreed upon direction while using the deficit reduction as a politically convenient bench mark.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Not seeing it, actually. My taxes appear just about fine (translation: dicking got done, and we is happy).Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Well . . not so much. The real drivers of federal spending in the next 30 years will be Social Security, Medicare and medicaid payments to retiring Baby Boomers. Not domestic discretionary spending. Which is what was cut by the sequester. And spending doesn’t inherently need to go down, but the economy needs to grow so more revenue is generated at the current tax rates.

            Oh, and before I forget – please remember that what federal employees do is because Congress keeps passing silly little laws telling us to do it. You want less government – get YOUR elected officials to pass fewer laws.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        ayiyi. Listen to Helicopter Ben.
        You want to fix the budget, inflate the hell out of our dollars.
        (that, and fix medicaid. but “we’re working on it” they say).Report

    • Avatar James Vonder Haar in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Man, I really wish I trusted the government’s competence enough to believe that this is some kind of conspiracy.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Vonder Haar
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        says:

        It’s not a matter of competence. It’s a matter of public relations. What did Scalia say yesterday?

        The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?

        Conversely, who wants to vote for “budget cuts” ? Nobody. Who wants to vote to save the Agency for the Aid and Succour of Treet-Deprived Kitty Cats ? Every goddamn one of these worthless Congressional sons of bitches, daughters, too.

        The losers in this proposition will lose on their own. The winners will get all the attention. And if the losers squeal really loudly, let them go rent a lobbyist: there’s no shortage of them, either.

        On this you may rely, Mr. Vonder Haar, these Congresspersons may be incompetent but they know how PR works. On this subject they are past masters. If this nation were run on any semblance of honest accounting, every project would be fully funded before it got off the ground and ongoing funding would be done on a yearly basis, with quarterly reporting. These projects take on a life of their own. I have personally been on government projects where money is pissed away: I bill by the hour and there have been weeks, weeks where I’ve done nothing at all.

        If these gummint contracting outfits were obliged to get these projects out the door on a fixed bid basis, with some oversight from the GAO, there would be some serious pushdown. There are three or four such firms which ought to be wormed like so many hogs: CSC, SAIC, Accenture Government Consulting, Northrop Grumman. And that’s just a start. There are so many leeches and parasites clinging to Uncle Sam’s nether parts — if Americans had any idea of just how bad this situation has become and how much these failed projects have cost us, there would be an epidemic of projectile defecation the length and breadth of this nation. It would be Shitfest Deluxe.

        F-35 JSF is so far over budget — the most expensive weapon in the history of warfare. If we must talk of conspiracies, our worst enemies could not dream up a strategy so interesting, one so deadly to our national defence and that of our allies, all of whom are on board for this boondoggle. The Chinese must be laughing their asses off. They’ve already stolen all the plans. And not one F-35 is flying. It’s been on the drawing boards since 1993 and contracts have been in place since 1996.

        We’re not entirely sure how much F-35 JSF has gone over budget. Most of the truly embarrassing numbers are hidden away. It’s already cost other nations billions.

        This is not a question of competence. This is a story as old and tiresome as the Perils of Pauline, with the fair maiden tied to the tracks. Only in the case of F-35, it’s a platinum plated pig. And it will be saved, mark my words. Those defence contractors are big political donors.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP
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          says:

          Heh. Re: the Scalia comment: when you phrase it like that, BP, it’s almost like Scalia is arguing that Democracy is unconstitutional.Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            That is probably a fair assessment of Scalia’s real opinion. He’s already shown that he doesn’t understand the 15th amendment, thinks that making sure that people can not be denied voting on the basis of race is a ‘racial entitlement’, and that the Sanhedrin’s/Talmudic commentators’ opinions on the death penalty[1] are part of US constitutional law.

            [1] That is, the part he likes – the other part, where it’s considered to be very bad, and not to be used much, if at all, he opposes – which makes him just as much a Cafeteria Consitutionalist as people thought.Report

  7. Avatar zic
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    says:

    What intrigues me about it is the indifference a growing number of Republicans seem to hold for the financing of defense. It’s a giant reft in the GOP — those who want to fund it first, those who prefer low taxes; it’s like a giant conflict that they cannot articulate, so why bother? Let the vileness of forced compromise settle the matter for them; embrace the sequester, and then fight for the funds after the fact. That is, I think, when we’ll see the new contours of the GOP.Report

  8. Avatar Mo
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    says:

    – Will there be a deal? Will the Tea Parties allow a deal?

    No and no.

    – Will Boehner craft a working majority of more moderate Republicans and the Democrat minority?

    No

    – Does Boehner already have a deal worked out with Obama and they’re pushing it to the deadline so the Tea Partiers can’t build up workable counter-argument?

    No

    – If they don’t reach a deal, who’s really to blame, and who will the public blame?

    Both and the Republicans

    – Is failure the end of the world, and we might as well all just party like it’s 1999?

    No

    – Or is failure just the end of the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic power?

    No

    – Is Bob Woodward the biggest douche in mainstream journalism?

    No, but he’s a douche for pretending about getting threatened publically and privately saying that he didn’t take it as a threat.

    – Do you actually have any idea how the sequester would actually affect you personally?

    Yes, not much really.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    “Do you actually have any idea how the sequester would actually affect you personally?”

    THE SEQUESTER IS GOING TO AFFECT ME?!?!?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      This landed in my in-box from Democratic operatives:

      — 10,000 teachers would be laid off, $400 million would be cut from Head Start, the program that makes sure at-risk preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and 70,000 kids would be kicked out of the early-education program completely.

      — The budget for firemen and other first responders to react when natural disasters strike would be cut by $35 million.

      — Nutrition programs that help make sure seniors don’t go hungry would be cut by $43 million.

      — A program that helps provide housing for the formerly homeless, including many veterans, would be shuttered, putting them at risk of going back on the street.

      — A number of programs that help the most vulnerable families and children would be slashed — including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children dropping 600,000 women alone.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to zic
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        says:

        1.) I work in private schools.
        2.) I work in private schools and my children would attend the school I teach in in all likelihood.
        3.) My town has a volunteer fire department.
        4.) I’m not old and no one in my family is!
        5.) My wife is a veteran and is very much homed.
        6.) We don’t use any of those program.

        Quite literally, FYIGM!

        In all seriousness, it is really hard to make sense of much of this. As it so often seems to be with the government, the folks most likely to be harmed by change are the ones being asked to do so. What a shame.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to zic
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        says:

        But thankfully NASA won’t have to cut-back or lay off anyone because they’re not important enough to be useful in scaring the public.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Actually, they’re making the same cuts as anyone else. Mostly it’s coming from science they had planned — satellites, grants, experiments, development budgets — it’s getting cut.

          Same with lay-offs — they’re being planned as well, although NASA is lucky in that the end of the Shuttle program resulted in a lot of consolidation and lay-offs, and they’re already actually below their desired work-force in a few areas. (JSC, for instance, isn’t planning layoffs — they’re just not hiring for positions they were opening up as work arrived).

          What on earth made you think NASA was exempt?Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20
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            says:

            Charles Bolden’s email to NASA employees, which explained that furloughs were unnecessary at NASA.

            Besides, people at NASA don’t work for money and have advanced beyond that crude phase of economics. They work simply to improve themselves and expand their horizons, just like all the Federation ore miners getting killed by indigenous life forms on planets throughout the Alpha Quadrant.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to George Turner
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              says:

              You must not have read the email very closely.

              Space policy online has this

              Unlike many other government agencies, including the Department of Defense (DOD), the across-the-board spending cut of 5 percent would not require NASA to furlough workers to make ends meet. “We have safely and efficiently phased out the Space Shuttle Program and managed existing programs to conservative spending levels,” Bolden said in a letter to employees. “This has postured us so that we do not plan to resort to furloughs at this time for NASA employees to meet our spending reductions under sequestration,” he added.

              Bolden noted that the sequester will not be as easy on the agency’s industry partners or the nation as a whole, and would set back NASA’s plans since it will cut “about $726 million from the President’s budget request.” That would cause delays in the commercial crew and space technology programs and “push back our next generation space vehicles.”

              As it states right there in the email, NASA also faces the sequester, losing exactly as much as everyone else. NASA merely does not need to do layoffs.

              NASA is losing 725 million off it’s budget, due to the sequester, which means your statement of “But thankfully NASA won’t have to cut-back” is flat-out wrong. 725 million ain’t peanuts. They merely don’t need to lay anyone off, due to the massive downsizing of their numbers due to the shuttle retirement.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner
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              says:

              Well, the could go ahead an kill the Senate Launch System, which will probably never fly very often, if at all, and has sucked up most of the funding from other activities.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Although you’re right in that their cuts aren’t being highlighted, because striking a hundred million from astronomy, physics, and space research isn’t terribly exciting to most people.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          The main issue with the sequester is that i’t a blunt intrument.

          This is especially the case in the DoD cuts. Instead of being able to end one wasteful program and leaving other programs alone, each program needs a 9% cut. A 9% overall DoD cut would be perfectly fine.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic
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        says:

        A couple of general factual remarks, not intended to be judgmental.

        10,000 teachers is less than one per public school district in the US. Or alternatively, about one teacher per every ten public schools. The district where I live — well, all of the districts in this state — made much deeper cuts in number of teachers than that over the last five years when state and local tax revenues decreased sharply.

        Spending on adult human services, which are often funded with both federal and state/county dollars, will probably decrease more than these numbers. In my state, the appropriation of state dollars for some programs is tied to federal dollars received; fewer federal dollars, fewer state dollars.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Michael Cain
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          says:

          A friend of mine works in a state prosecutor’s office. They were all given notices that unless sequestration is reversed, they each have to take 14 furlough days between now and the end of the year, and again next year as well if it’s still not reversed.

          This with them all already taking standard 70-hour weeks being short staffed.

          The “well it is just a small cut” argument doesn’t wash after we’ve already gone past “cutting the fat” and into “shaving bone” territory.Report

  10. Avatar NewDealer
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    says:

    I think the Republicans are hoping that not reaching a deal benefits them in the 2014 and 2016 election with their constant talking point about the government being incompetent.

    I hope that people remember this is politicians inflicting the incompetence with intent and blame the Republicans.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to NewDealer
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      says:

      I think the Republicans are hoping that not reaching a deal benefits them in the 2014 and 2016 election with their constant talking point about the government being incompetent.

      So they’re trying to force government to live up to their expectations?

      I’ve often felt this way about Republican governance. State level example: cut the budget for Motor Vehicles so that they have to lay off staff so that when you go to renew your license you have to wait for two hours so that you think government is awful.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to zic
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        says:

        Strange fact: The more people you have working in a DMV office, the more they just chat amongst themselves about what Melissa’s boyfriend said last night – while ignoring the people standing in line.

        There’s an iPhone ap that snaps your picture and lets you print a fake-ID for any state. Why can’t state governments just add a digital signature and adopt it as the new way to get a driver’s license?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Our DMV sucks. But nobody does shit like that.
          The ONLY time I’ve ever seen ANYONE pull shit like that was in Israel (travel agency). And the **(^&# thought we couldn’t understand hebrew, so there’s that.

          That ap, and other things, is why I think this whole “have a photo” voter id is IDIOTIC. Faking a driver’s license is easier than faking a utility bill!Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to Kim
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            says:

            “That ap, and other things, is why I think this whole “have a photo” voter id is IDIOTIC. Faking a driver’s license is easier than faking a utility bill!”

            Well, really it’s (a) absentee balloting is still pretty insecure; (b) voting machines are still black boxes; (c) in at least one state (WI) the government selectively closed DMV’s in certain locations (guess the demographics of those neighborhoods) and (d) last I heard, the number of actual fraudulent *votes* that motivate and funded right-wingers have been able to find over the last several years, across the entire country, in several elections, is still around 50.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Spoken like someone who’s never actually been to a DMV office.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer
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      says:

      The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it. — P.J. O’Rourke (2000).Report

  11. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    The odds of Saturday morning arriving without the Defense cuts being averted is somewhere between the odds of the sun not coming up tomorrow and the Universe imploding. Joke aside, if the Defense cuts are not averted then we’ve finally achieved something new in the political landscape.

    That would actually be a game changer like we haven’t seen since the end of the second world war. The Defense industry would flee the GOP donation pool en masse. It’ll be like the Dixiecrats abandoning the Democrats for the GOP. Whether or not the Democrats take them is another question.

    What the deal looks like is still up for debate. In all probability, though, I expect more of the Defense spending to stay in and more of the social spending to be cut, and for Obama to go on national television and cluck his tongue about how this bullshit is inevitable with a GOP congress, and that he’d really like to veto it but the stakes are too high, and that the American people need to understand that ultimately the best he can do is sign the least worst thing that comes out of Congress.

    And I expect the GOP to lose the House in 2014 because of it, really.

    The Tea Party will not be relevant to this decision, because they have nothing to trade. They can’t be involved in a political compromise, because there’s no “there” there for them to bargain with. It’s Hell or High Water, and those are your two choices.

    If Boehner can get enough GOP people to go with the Democratic majority then Saturday morning the Defense cuts have been averted and most of the spending cuts are averted and there is some cosmetic and stupid tax bit that will have pretty much no effect on anybody. I would expect a subsidy to go before a tax increase to be applied.

    If Boehner can’t get enough GOP people to go with the Democratic majority, well, then we are in interesting times.Report

  12. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    I don’t see an agreement without revenue increases, fwiw. It strikes me that the political fallout of Dems caving on revenue to save defense is too high a price for even Democrats to pay. It’d effectively take the cudgel out of their hands and put in the GOPs, and right now Democrats have all the short as well as long-term leverage.

    And if we get a deal with revenue increases, the GOP is effectively done as a party, I think.

    The only leverage the GOP has depends on party unity, and that unity is what’s giving Democrats leverage over them. Politically, Dems are in a tremendous position of strength right now, a position that only the Dems themselves could fish up. So the GOP should feel somewhat optimistic!Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      If we don’t get a deal with revenue increases, the GOP is done as a party, I’d say.

      Because whatever the deal is, it’s going to Obama’s desk. And whatever the deal is, he’s going to sign it.

      And if the deal sucks, he’s going to sign it as part of a news conference and he’s going to tell everyone in the nation why the deal sucks, and how he has to sign it because it’s still the best thing he’s going to get with this Congress.

      And that’s going to be the tone of the rest of 2013 and all of 2014 up until the day of the election. And I really think that the GOP is going to run headlong into the wall they’ve been building for themselves on election day, 2014.

      I swear, the victory condition that the Tea Party has set for the GOP is self-immolation.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        says:

        I don’t know.

        If, as I suspect, the sequester goes through, the bill gets signed, we get told EVERYTHING WILL SUCK FOREVER!!!!… and then… nothing, really, of note happens. Unemployment still creeps downward, the economy still staggers toward recovery, and the end of the world doesn’t come the same way that it didn’t come when what’s-his-name said it would…

        Well, I don’t think that the 2014 election will be particularly interesting… and by “particularly interesting” I mean “I don’t think much will change.”

        Maybe Republicans will run some more candidates who won’t shut up about rape, maybe.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I don’t see how you can come out of the sequester negotiations with something that isn’t going to suck.

          But, hey, it might not suck until 2016. That’s a valid point.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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            says:

            I think the GOP brain trust is hoping the economic suck will help them. Because the people are stupid; and they’ll blame Obama for it, and gleefully elect Republicans to fix it.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic
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              says:

              Well sure, that’s what they’re hoping. It’s all they have right now.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Worked in 2010. Flopped in 2012.

                The evidence points in both directions. Surely, the voters will have forgotten by then.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to zic
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                says:

                The extent to which it’ll work in 2014 depends on how many social security/medicare checks stop mailing in the mean time.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Heh, appropriate mis-spelling?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic
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                says:

                Worked in 2010. Flopped in 2012.

                I dunno about that. Seems to me a significant reason 2012 were different can be attributed to really bad candidates and others saying unbelievably stupid things. That’s part and parcel of the type of people who can successfully run in GOP primaries, but it had nothing to do with shifting blame for economic problems onto Democrats and Dem policy.

                Alsotoo, 2010 was largely motivated by conservative opposition to the PPACA, which is a natural reaction to substantive progressive change.

                That’s not to say that Republicans don’t play the games you’re mentioning. I mean, of course they do. That’s just politics, it seems to me.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                But a very large part of the argument for PPACA was bending the cost curve. So I think it’s part and parcel of the same thing.

                I also see that a large part of the inability to have functional government now is because of the clowns elected to the House in 2010.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, 2010 was “THEY CUT MEDICARE!” and “The stimulus didn’t instantly fix the economy.”

                In 2012 the economy started showing green shoots despite the best attempts of the 2010 era GOP state legislatures to sabotage it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t disagree with that. Bending the cost curve was a big part of the legislation. Conservatives, tho – for whatever reason! – weren’t focusing on bending the cost curve, or even sustaining Medicare. Conservative were opposed to (at least, this is the argument they made and the one we’re supposed to believe they were serious about) the Fedrul Gummint mandating individual actions (freedom!) and impinging on state’s rights (federalism!).

                I might be wrong, but I think resistance to the healthcare mandate, and the politicking around it, accounts for most of the 2010 electoral gains.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Jay –

          Assuming thar you are correct (and I think you are), that leaves the spectrum of most likely 2014 outcomes as somewhere between “Everyone Hates the GOP” and “No One Has a Problem with the Dem’s Status Quo.”

          This seems like a terrible set of options for Republicans.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t know. The House picks up a couple of seats, the house loses a couple of seats, if anything the Republicans can claim that, Representative-wise, Republicans represent the majority of congressional districts while Democrats only represent the Big Cities.

            And if the Senate stays more or less static, it’s certainly an argument that could carry them to 2016.

            At which point we get to have our Senior Student Council Elections again.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I agree; if Obama signs it, then it’s law, and something he agreed to. It’s hard to make as much political hay about it. The press would undoubtedly treat all of the trouble as simply a loud negotiating process.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        There really isn’t a way this plays out well for the GOP unless the Dems just hand em the ball and let em run. That’s possible! They have plenty of incentive as well to get a deal done. But their real strength is at the political level, it seems to me, and not a potential victory on policy: the GOP is weakened no matter what the caucus decides to do.Report

  13. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    A while ago I started reading about the amounts that were actually going to be cut. When I got some hard numbers, I started yawning, and I work in an industry most likely to be impacted.

    I yawned. The cuts aren’t material and are cuts in planned increases. Pff. Blaise, you’re on point with your comments.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      You do realize if that if you’re going to talk about “real cuts” versus “cuts in rates of increase” you need to factor in inflation, for starters, right?

      If inflation this year is 3%, government spending should increase by 3% — otherwise it’s fallen in real terms. (Which are the only ones that matter, unless you’re chosing to slant the facts and hope no one notices).

      Texas had a nice lesson on population growth (another factor) with it’s school budget a few years back — they cut back on the previous budget by something like 5 billion. However, that necessitated a change to Texas’s per-student funding law that amounted to closer to ten billion.

      Because more students were enrolled in the new budget period than the last.Report

  14. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    The sequester in itself is not that big a deal. The fact that it was a poison pill intended to force the president and GOP legislators to work together, and they both prefer the poison — that tells us a lot.Report

  15. Avatar M.A.
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m getting out the popcorn and having a laugh watching the right wing radiosphere melt down.

    Simultaneous topics today:

    #1 – The sequester is a horrible catastrophic thing and it’s ALL OBAMAS FAULT.
    #2 – The sequester is really nothing to worry about, the cuts are tiny and meaningless.
    #3 – The sequester is what we should have done in the first place and Republicans are great for demanding it (but remember it’s ALL OBAMAS FAULT and HIS IDEA).

    All three of those uttered in a 45 minute span this morning by the same radio host. And repeated on other shows throughout the week since Monday.

    It’s to the point where I’d ask them to make up their minds, but that would mean an implicit assumption that the radio hosts had functional minds.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
      Ignored
      says:

      Limbaugh has a functional mind. It’s just tuned to greed.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A.
      Ignored
      says:

      Don’t you know that stuff will rot your brain (and I don’t mean the popcorn).Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley
        Ignored
        says:

        Which rather explains the state of the collective brains of most of the GOP/TEA crowd.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A.
          Ignored
          says:

          I’d limit that just to the TP folks, but it’s something of a chicken-egg problem, eh?Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            Limbaugh’s rise predates the TP folks by at least 1.5 decades, though… Heck, his rise predates the rise of Fox News (which… uhm, yeah).Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A.
              Ignored
              says:

              No, his rise predates the TPs, but not the TP folks. He’s been a major player in taking that disorganized group and giving it the kind of focus that results in the TPsReport

            • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to M.A.
              Ignored
              says:

              From the very first comment on MA’s hit piece (of crap):
              Modern Day Cave Man (unregistered)
              03.06.2012 03:59
              Problem #1: 1185 participants in the study. HORRIBLY small sample size.

              Hmmmm, false reporting?

              “Similarly, while moderates and liberals who watch Fox News do worse at answering the questions than others, conservatives who watch Fox do no worse than people who watch no news at all.”

              Reading these questions… I’m not sure how they’re getting the numbers they’re getting. Every single question shows those who “lean republican” or who are “republican” outperforming those who lean democrat or are democrat…

              O HHHH, I see how they did it… math trickery!

              Exa mple: Percent who answered 0 correctly… 22% on the left, 20% on the right.
              Percent who answered 1 correctly… 25% on the left, 18% on the right…
              Percent who answered 2 correctly: 25% left, 23% right (seeing a trend here? The left is getting more wrong!)
              Percent who answered 3 correctly: 23% left, 27% right (hmmmm… more republicans than democrats now)

              Percent who answered 4 (out of 8) correct: 16% left, 26% right… (from a 4% spread, to a 10% spread… interesting!)

              5 right: 16% left, 26% right… (still 10%)

              6 right: 30% left, 24% right… here’s where it flips back…
              7 right: 24% left, 19% right…
              8 right: 12% left, 5% right

              So you see, the left had a LOT of people that got 7 or 8 wrong, a few who got 4, 5, or 6 wrong, and a lot who got only 1 or 2 or 3 wrong… Making a kind of “bowl” sort of curve (if you were to chart it)… so you have either a bunch of really IGNORANT liberals, or a bunch of “totally plugged in” liberals.

              The right is more like a hill than a bowl… less people who got ALL of them wrong, and less who got all of them RIGHT…. but more in the middle who got only 3 to 5 wrong.

              Statistically tricky to evaluate… What’s obvious here is that the headline was a very cherry picked result, based on very well manipulated data, to show what they wanted to show.

              Then there’s this… One of the “correct” answers is wrong. Ron Paul ultimately won Iowa.

              I have another problem with this… is that they’re claiming something that’s based off of individuals’ viewing habits, but they don’t itemize it by that… they itemize it based on political stance.

              Where are they getting that 1.04 for Fox news viewers? Are all Fox viewers republicans? No, they admit as much earlier on…

              Essentially, this is a cherry picked hit piece…Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s another one for you.

                Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (8 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points). The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it–though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.

                But don’t let that get in the way of your delusions of competency.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Why didn’t you keep quoting there needledick?
                There were cases with some other news sources as well. Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates. Daily watchers of network TV news broadcasts were 12 points higher in believing that TARP was signed into law by President Obama, and 11 points higher in believing that most Republicans oppose TARP.

                Oh and my apologies to all the real needledicks out there appalled to be numbered in your company.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Why didn’t you keep quoting there needledick?

                Please do some light reading.

                Then grow the fish up.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Seconded. It’s been a while since we’ve limericked anyone’s comments, and I would hate to do it to a regular, but the above is certainly out of bounds.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Jason, should I bring up the time you personally called me a dick?Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                You do realise the difference between calling someone a dick and calling someone needledick right? Because I’m not american and I can tell the difference….Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                A needledick is more useful for sewing one’s wild oats.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to James Hanley
        Ignored
        says:

        Isn’t this pretty rude to Limbaugh? I mean, doesn’t he say some not rotten things? You should be more charitable, Hanley.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to M.A.
      Ignored
      says:

      I DO assign blame to BOB for the sequester. It was his staff’s suggestion to resolve the diferences. That being said, the amount of marginal blame I’m giving BOB is not very material.Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        I find it funny that the right wing has now come up with the acronym “BOB” for the President.

        Can you not just call him the President?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Blame: the stick with which losers beat winners. BOB has so completely punk’d the GOP, someone ought to invoke a Slaughter Rule as in Little League.

        Blame BOB for all the good it will do. Or his staff. Or the lawn gnomes. The GOP have allowed their buttocks to outrun their blab holes.Report

        • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP
          Ignored
          says:

          Bronco Bama deserves no credit for this. Credit your good friend Harry Reid.
          The Founders created a legislative process that was deliberately different from the parliamentary systems of Europe. In the “regular order” of things, the House works its will. The Senate works its will. Those two bodies meet in conference. The president may then sign or veto the resulting legislation.

          In Mr. Reid’s Washington, the House works its will, the Senate does crossword puzzles. Its committees do not produce bills, its senators do not debate or amend, the body does not vote. The House, to accomplish anything, is forced to engage in backroom wrangling with the White House, the results of which are presented to the nation as a fait accompli. The Senate claims total deniability.

          Mr. Reid’s Senate has not produced a budget in three years. The majority leader rarely moves on a bill, and when he does, he uses tricks to block senators from amending legislation, or he shuts down debate in such a way as to kill legislation. Regular order and conference reports are nearly nonexistent…

          Mr. Reid knows there is a brilliant added bonus to making sure the Senate is inactive: It keeps all the attention on Republicans. The press is by now so used to Senate nothingness that reporters automatically turn every spotlight on the House. This allows the White House and Democrats to avoid ownership of problems that they have created by casting Republicans as the cause of every legislative crisis and as the barrier to solutions.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Wardsmith
            Ignored
            says:

            Ward, just don’t go there. Only whiny pissybabies blame people. Kimberley Strassel is a mouthbreathing shill for Sarah Palin and you know it. The very idea, that Strassel is still taken seriously these days is amusing.

            Try again.Report

            • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              Weak sauce Blaise, I’d expect better of you than digging up a completely off-topic 2008 interview to support your argument. Explain to us all how Reid is doing such an EXCELLENT job of managing the Senate, creating budgets, passing legislation – you know all the things the Senate is supposed to be doing like its job. 70 times when Reid has brought a bill to the floor he’s done it with a “gag rule” so there can be no debate whatsoever. Explain how this is conducive to the Democratic process again? You attack the messenger instead of the message, weak sauce indeed.

              Try again buckwheat.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, Ward. All I had to do was read the author byline of your oh-so-informative article from that paragon of journalistic excellence, WSJ, to know what would follow. And I was not wrong. Kimberley Strassel is a toothless harpy, though her shriek might scare a few unwary souls.

                I have previously said I’d remove Harry Reid from the Senate. Many times, usually to you.

                This isn’t the Senate’s problem. The House is where taxation is handled. You knew that, too. Put all that bafflegap back in the canister before it goes stale. It’s Weepin’ John Boehner who needs to get his shit together here.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                The House is where taxation is handled

                Are you going by the strict reading of the Constitution? Because that’s all pro forma these days. The Senate works on taxes every bit as much as the House (they have an Appropriations Committee, after all), and they satisfy the Article 1, section 7, rule that all bills for raising revenue begin in the House by letting the House vote first on the reconciliation bills. There’s no substantive meaning to the sequence any more.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                The House has handed numerous appropriations and taxation bills to the Senate where they permanently disappear under Reid’s cavernous backside. The Senate is MIA in all this and Strassel is right. Regardless of your predilection for shooting the messenger the fact remains that the Senate is simply not doing its job and EXACTLY as she laid out, we have the reason why. Still weak sauce on your part Blaise to ignore the substance and attack the messenger, but what else would I expect from today’s liberals? After all yesterday’s hero Woodward is called out far and wide FOR DOING HIS JOB and reporting the truth and the liberal media (and White House) can’t stand it.

                Free press indeed.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                You were the one who hauled in Strassel, not me, Ward. I have not ignored the article. Strassel blames Reid for all this mess. Now I have long since quit the Blame Game and feel you should, too. If ever there was a Weak Sauce, it’s your deglazing of the Pan of Pity with cheap White Whine by way of Silly Strassel.

                I have put forward my own parsing of this Sequester: a gloss as obvious as a turd in a punchbowl. I believe I said so back when the Sequester Concrete was poured: this mechanism would allow programs to be “saved” instead of “cut”.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                As for Bob Woodward, his wrinkly old ass has been resting on his withered Watergate laurels for far too long. Bernstein did all the heavy lifting on Watergate anyway. Woodward is a serial exaggerator, an unctuous old liar more suited to the undertaker trade than honest journalism. I shall never forgive him for lending his imprimatur to the Iraq WMD fiasco.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James my comment was meant for Blaise not you. Regardless of the order, the fact REMAINS that it must pass BOTH houses before the President sees it. In the new world order, it passes the House (reversal of under Pelosi eg: Obamacare) and then never sees the light of day in the Senate.

                This isn’t Democracy this is Tyranny. Americans hold “Congress” in a teens approval rating but they are too uninformed to understand the /real/ reality of what is going on and the “state” press sure in the hell isn’t going to inform them and as we’ve just observed with Woodward, no one will have the huevos to challenge this Whitehouse.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Ward, can you point to a particular piece of legislation that has passed the House that had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting through a bipartisan Senate?

                Take your time, find a good candidate.

                Otherwise, “everything that came out of the House went to the Senate to die!” isn’t so much a condemnation of the Senate as it is a double-edged sword, wherein the House deserves condemnation for not sending anything to the Senate that they would be willing to work with, right?Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, that depends on the legislation is question. If it’s something that the Senate should have passed, then yes, they deserve condemnation for not passing it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                This is sillyness. The only reason the Dems in the Senate haven’t sent an equal or greater number of bills to “fix” the sequester and been blocked by the House is that the GOP would just filibuster them before they even left the Senate. This isn’t tyranny, it’s just how the government in this country is set up to “work”.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Simply put, what each chamber’s majority is willing to pass is totally anathema to the other chamber’s majority. It’s hard to blame either chamber without blaming its majority party, but the underlying problem is not the parties, nor Reid, but the structure of our legislature, which was not designed for a party system.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m unclear as to what, short of the Ryan budget, the House majority is even looking or able to say yes to at this point.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                There is obviously a lack of misunderstanding of how Democracy works here. The Senate is the “deliberative” body, longer term limits therefore less going as the wind blows. Differences in opinion between House and Senate get ironed out in committees and thence on the floor. However Reid is (mis)using his gatekeeper status so that even that option is off the table. They really are just doing crossword puzzles over there.
                How Are Laws Made?

                Laws begin as ideas. First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. Again, a simple majority (51 of 100) passes the bill. Finally, a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval.

                You asked for Bills? How about Jobs bills? Sound like something good? Let’s look shall we?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes Ward, and under the GOP’s heightened version of the old (bipartisan) game of filibustering the Senate requires 60 votes to pass anything.
                But this is all semantics and spin. What it boils down to is the GOP won’t accept anything the Dems will sign onto and the Dems won’t accept anything the GOP will sign onto.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re saying that all of those bills on the good Mr. Cantor’s list are ones that deserve approval by a Democratically controlled Senate?

                Here’s how one might interpret Mr. Cantor’s list…

                “Here’s a list of things that we knew there was no way in hell the Senate would even consider, let alone draft their own version of the bill to go into the reconciliation process. But we keep approving them, so that Reid keeps blocking them, because then we can say it’s all the Democrat’s fault.”

                Compare this to Reid’s likely response:

                “Here’s a list of the stuff the House has sent me. It’s a giant collection of nonstarters.”

                Let’s just look at one example, “Protecting Next Generation Energy Security (PIONEERS) Act” From here:

                “The PIONEERS Act would direct the Obama Administration to issue more research, development and demonstration (RD&D) and commercial oil shale leases. The legislation would also open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy production and would require the Obama Administration to move ahead with new offshore production in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. ”

                No Democrat has voted for opening ANWAR in how long? That new offshore production is all deep water production. Isn’t the whole BP thing still shaking down, Ward?

                Now, whether or not any of this is a good idea, isn’t sending this to a Democratically-controlled Senate (with a Democratic President, no less), rather much like sending a budget to the House that says, “We’re raising spending by 75% and we’re tripling the upper tax bracket”?

                Proved reserves of crude are at the highest they’ve ever been, yes? Prices of crude have been remarkably stable since 2011, right?

                So we should open ANWAR and resume deep water drilling, both of which are environmentally risky, for what immediate purpose?

                You know, not from your standpoint or mine, but from the mind of the Senate Democrat?

                Why would you expect them to do anything with this other than take a dump on it?

                Now, granted, this is a two-party problem, not a one-party problem. Compromise is about finding a middle, and neither party is interested in compromise, and neither party is interested in finding a middle, so they both bear responsibility for the end result.

                But that’s not the same thing as, “Harry Reid is single-handedly stopping the government from doing anything”.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                More to the point, on the actual question at issue in this impasse – the deficit/budget – does anyone – Reid, Obama, or us – have any idea what the House GOP will agree to short of essentially their ideal bill? I.e., have they made any indication what actual compromises they would even consider? I submit we don’t & they haven’t.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Simply put, what each chamber’s majority is willing to pass is totally anathema to the other chamber’s majority.

                Though the Senate’s majority has trouble passing things because of the omnipresent filibuster, and the House majority woud be a minority if not for rampant gerrymandering, so a bit of one-man, one-vote would resolve the deadlock.Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Try looking up “filibuster”. Are you the new TVD?Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name
                Ignored
                says:

                So he’s just trying to subvert the established process for passing bills in the Senate. That’s okay, then.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Rules that limit debate on a particular bill are as much within the Senate rules as the filibuster.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Wardsmith
            Ignored
            says:

            Woah, hold on a second. The Senate’s inability to pass legislation is Harry Reid’s fault? And this doesn’t strike you as even slightly incomplete or misleading?Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to Wardsmith
            Ignored
            says:

            “Mr. Reid’s Senate has not produced a budget in three years. ”

            Let’s see:

            1) The WSJ isn’t exactly a reliable source.
            2) Mr. Reid hasn’t had a fillibuster-proof Senate in a couple of years, and that’s counting the Blue Dogs (beloved by the WSJ) as reliable votes.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Barry
              Ignored
              says:

              That hasn’t passed a budget thing is a true bit of silliness. The Senate has passed a budget every year. You can tell, on account of how the government is funded.

              I realize there’s some bit of pedantry about how it doesn’t count because it’s amended continuing resolutions, but that’s an objection to procedure not end-results.

              We STILL have a budget. Year in year out. You might think the process was sub-optimal, which is certainly your right to argue, but insisting we haven’t passed a budget when each and every year the government has gone ahead and passed a ton of bills that handle how revenue is spent…well, it’s flat-out foolish and makes you look like a hack.

              A budget is the process of allocating revenue for spending. The Senate does it year in and year out, just like the House. There are routinely giant political slap fights involved. What comes out the back end — which is dictating where and how much money is spent, and on what — is a budget. Flat out, by definition.Report

  16. Avatar Citizen
    Ignored
    says:

    Party like its 1999. Wake up with a hangover, get back to the grind.

    (3 days later a bank sneezes and the economy explodes)Report

  17. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    “- Do you actually have any idea how the sequester would actually affect you personally?”

    If it goes until the end of the FY I will probably be working more in the short term (for the same pay), but then suddenly not at all (for no pay). However, if the summer sequester causes enough older guvvies to just up and quit, my job prospects may actually improve come next FY.Report

  18. Avatar Aaron W
    Ignored
    says:

    Since I’m finishing my Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the end of the year, if it stays in place, I’m much more liable to search for private sector jobs over ones in the government or academia. (My funding is through a charity and not a federal grant right now.) Luckily, I’m in the physical sciences, and not, say, the humanities, so I can do that. It’s not my preferred route (I’d rather do academia), but unlike Congress, I’d rather not make my life any more difficult than it has to be.

    That being said, it’s really not the end of the world even if it does affect me more directly than most Americans.Report

  19. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    The fact is, this particular deadline tonight or tomorrow night doesn’t mean much at all. The real ones are the Continuing Resolution expiration near the end of March (which would result in an immediate government shutdown) and the late April furloughs (delayed starting until then because the legal time requirements between official notification and the first day off)Report

  20. Avatar Major Zed
    Ignored
    says:

    I embrace the sequester. And it’s not just because I recently did my taxes and discovered I still owed Uncle Sam more than a few dollars. It is because I believe, for all the good our government does, spending truly is out of control. The sequester is a baby step in the right direction.

    According to my sources (1):

    * The cuts are tiny. Of the $85 billion in cuts in 2013-2014, only $44bn are in 2013. This is about 1-2% of total government spending.
    * On net, they are not really cuts. 2013 spending will still be higher than 2012 spending. These are “cuts” only relative to planned increases.
    * Defense continues to be huge. The defense budge doubled over the past decade. A 1% cut now is a flea bite in comparison.
    * The federal government has not had a legally-passed budget in four years, giving Obama great leeway in spending. In particular, he has great leeway in how the sequester “cuts” are distributed. “If the fears Obama predicts do come to pass, we will have only him to blame.”(2)

    So, as far as the sequester’s consequences, my only concern is Obama’s proven propensity to sow fear and his potential for doing real damage.

    (1) http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/02/26/5-sequester-facts-to-know-before-committ
    (2) http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/28/obamas-false-alarmsReport

  21. Avatar Wardsmith
    Ignored
    says:

    I disagree completely Morat. Here’s how the real world works. I’m a CEO, I have a company and I (and my staff) prepare a budget for the expenses (and estimated revenues) for the following year. That’s a BUDGET.

    Here’s what isn’t a budget: Monkey Ass’s espresso stand which just writes a check or raids the cash register every time something pretty comes along to spend money on. Yes there are a lot of /little/ entities out there that run without a budget but name me one Fortune 500 company that would /dare/ to do that? Shouldn’t an entity that brings in $2.5 Trillion a year and spends $3.5T a year do the same as a $20B company would?Report

  22. Avatar b-psycho
    Ignored
    says:

    Without having read anyone elses yet:

    – Will there be a deal? Will the Tea Parties allow a deal?

    There will not be a deal, because no deal is possible that would clear all hurdles. Senate wouldn’t swallow what the House GOP rank-and-file would support & Boehner would have to go into hiding if he pushed anything the Senate would support. I get the feeling Obama really doesn’t give a shit beyond inclusion of revenue & would practically sign a ham sandwich after awhile, but he can’t be obvious about that.

    – Will Boehner craft a working majority of more moderate Republicans and the Democrat minority?

    He won’t even attempt it. Not if he wants to keep his job.

    – Does Boehner already have a deal worked out with Obama and they’re pushing it to the deadline so the Tea Partiers can’t build up workable counter-argument?

    If he does have anything crafted it doesn’t matter. If it’s easily acceptable to Obama the house will balk, if it’s favorable to House GOP it ain’t makin it to Obama’s desk.

    – If they don’t reach a deal, who’s really to blame, and who will the public blame?

    It’s not as big a deal as portrayed, but as yet another sideshow I’d say this round goes to GOP: If the point of this was supposed to be to craft something so unacceptable to both sides that it’d encourage a deal just to avoid it, the poison pill for them should’ve been something super-duper lefty like taxing capital gains as regular income for a decade. That instead it’s slight slowdowns of still ever increasing “defense” spending which their base would barely even notice headed off the entire purpose.

    In a way it’s kinda clever, but for a stupid reason: it was supposed to be something you didn’t want to happen & would fight off. If you can live with it, of course you’re not gonna care if it goes into effect.

    Public will blame republicans if the polls are anything to go by. They should really blame themselves in the end though, they voted for ’em, right?

    – Is failure the end of the world, and we might as well all just party like it’s 1999?

    No. Both parties ignore a key place to make actual Big Deep Cuts, Republicans are just more eager to put it on the charge card. At least Dems don’t yell about big government at the same time they’re keeping the flow of weapons going & the surveillance state chugging along, consistency counts for something.

    – Or is failure just the end of the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic power?

    You wanna see that end, wait until the next debt ceiling fight.Report

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