Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

A Deficit Hawk’s Sequestration Lament

ARCHIVES
David Walker said the sequester is "mindless because not all spending is equal, and not all tax preferences are equal. We’re at a point where something has to be done.” David Walker said the sequester is "mindless because not all spending is equal, and not all tax preferences are equal. We’re at a point where something has to be done.” Dennis Cook/AP file photo

Former Comptroller General David Walker -- whose travels around the country sounding alarms about public debt are well documented -- greeted the first day of sequestration not with shock but with disappointment.

“The fact that this is happening is due to a failure by the president, the Senate and the House to reach a more reasoned and reasonable approach to reducing our deficit and mounting debt,” he told Government Executive on Friday. “It is mindless because not all spending is equal, and not all tax preferences are equal. We’re at a point where something has to be done.” 

Walker, who now runs an advocacy group called the Comeback America Initiative, warned that the sequester will “continue unless and until there is a larger effort that cuts mandatory spending, reduces defense and other discretionary cuts; and achieves comprehensive tax reform that will generate more revenues.”

Republicans who are resisting tax hikes, he believes, “would be willing to agree with tax reform if it were coupled with much larger spending reductions, including mandatory reductions hard-coded into law.” That means tackling “ who’s eligible for what, with what subsidy,” he said. “The frustration I have is that we’re going from short-term crisis to short-term crisis while treating the symptoms and not the disease.”

The government’s true cost drivers, Walker explained, are demographics, health care costs and an outdated tax system, none of which were addressed by the January fiscal cliff resolution, sequestration or the coming fight over the expiring continuing resolution.

A central problem that he is organizing to combat, Walker added, is that Congress—with all the time it takes off for federal holidays and summer recess-- is “working only part-time.”

---

On March 12, join former David Walker and Charles S. Clark for our bi-annual Budget Town Hall event to talk debt ceiling debates, the fiscal cliff, continuing resolutions and sequestration. Learn more and register here.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.