For the past several weeks in speech after speech, Obama and his allies in the media have been warning that the end of the world as we know it will occur if sequestration and the “draconian cuts” that would entail occurs, never mind that the sequester was Obama’s idea in the first place. The easily excitable Chris “Tingles” Matthews calls Obama’s sequester a “Frankenstein’s monster” and a “doomsday machine”. According to Obama himself, if the GOP doesn’t acquiesce and pass a second round of massive tax hikes in as many months, “brutal” spending cuts” imposed by a giant “meat cleaver” will, presumably, jeopardize this wonderful Obama economy:
Conjuring up the specter of fired teachers, furloughed FBI agents, idled Border Patrol agents, sidelined firefighters, criminals freed by cutbacks and “hundreds of thousands” of lost jobs, President Barack Obama pressed congressional Republicans on Tuesday to agree to increase tax revenues as part of a plan to avert “brutal” across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect one week from Friday.
“If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness. It will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research,” Obama warned in a speech at the White House, flanked by emergency workers. “It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day.”
Maybe we should take a look at these brutal cuts to which Obama is referring. In a post immediately after Obama signed his sequester into law, I linked to a piece by economist Veronique de Rugy in which she discussed the sequester and what a farce the supposed “cuts” contained therein where (and are):
The sequester is an automatic budget enforcement mechanism triggered when the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction fails to enact legislation to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the sequestration period. Instead of simply passing appropriated funds to the agencies, the U.S. Treasury “sequesters” the difference between the cap set in the BCA and the amount appropriated.
Changes in spending from sequestration result in new budget projections below the CBO’s baseline projection of spending based on current law. The federal government would spend $3.62 trillion in the first year with sequestration versus the $3.69 trillion projected by CBO. By 2021, the government would spend $5.26 trillion versus the $5.41 trillion projected. Overall, without a sequester, federal spending would increase $1.7 trillion (blue line). With a sequester, federal spending would increase by $1.6 trillion (red line).
As I noted at the time, under the sequester spending rises across the board every year the sequester covers, and the net difference in total outlays between 2013 and 2021 with and without the dreaded sequester is nothing more than a rounding error. Since that time, other economists have run the numbers and reached the same conclusion. I’ll link to two. A couple weeks ago, economist Dan Mitchell produced the following chart in which he poses a key question for Obama and his fellow travelers on the left who now claim Obama’s sequester will result in financial Armageddon … or worse: Where are the spending cuts?
Another economist, John B. Taylor, released this chart on Tuesday which shows pretty much the same thing:
The numbers are what they are. I’ll repeat: there are no spending cuts. Even with the sequester, government spending and the national debt grow each and every year as far as the eye can see. If we as a nation can’t even slow the growth of government by a tiny fraction, how will we ever enact the real spending cuts necessary to ward off the inevitable financial ruin which awaits us if we don’t?
Finally, here’s an “after and before” video. The first part is a clip from Obama’s speech on Tuesday when he warned of the dire consequences if the GOP House doesn’t give Obama another tax increase, thereby allowing the sequester to occur. After that nonsense we flash back to 2011 when Obama was touting the sequester as a way to instill some fiscal discipline into those big spenders in Congress. Deficit hawk Obama, you see, really wanted to lower the deficits back then but those Wascally Wepublicans just wouldn’t co-operate with him. Therefore he had to resort to the sequester as a means to keep them in check. Or something. How serious is Obama about addressing the nation’s out-of-control deficit spending? So serious that he just launched a tax-payer financed 100-city tour to promote more government spending and dependency. This is not surprising, of course, from a guy who seeks economic advice from … Al Sharpton. Talk about the blind leading the blind. We’re in good hands, folks.
Update: Even the Washington Post is skeptical about Obama’s incessant sequestration scaremongering.
Update II: ABC’s Jonathan Karl: Devastating Sequester Spending Cuts? Give Me a Break!