March 4, 2013
The sequester is happening, people. At some point today, President Obama will send an order to cut $85 billion in spending in 2013, and then, slowly, those cuts will take place.
The extremely specific reason why the sequester is happening is that it's the law and there is no deal on the table to replace it with another law. The bigger picture is that the sequester is the law because the president made a deal with Republicans to avoid hitting the debt ceiling and defaulting on our debt in 2011. That deal included a guillotine to spending if we didn't cobble together a deficit-reduction plan before 2013. It's 2013. We haven't cobbled together a plan. So here comes the guillotine called Sequester.
There are many things to say about the sequester, but I want to focus on how it's not merely a silly law, but an absurd law that rewards muddled thinking about both our debt and our politics. So here are the three silliest things about this very silly law.
(1) The sequester is a crazy way to cut the this year's deficit.
If you ask 100 budget experts how to cut spending, zero of them will say: "Take a guillotine to each agency, regardless of its resources or purpose." And yet that's exactly what sequester does. In the next few days and weeks, it might have little impact. But over time it will wreak havoc with military contracts and devastate the most important parts of government spending in infrastructure and research.
Read more at The Atlantic.
March 4, 2013