Economic Adviser: Sequester 'Stupid,' Default a 'Fundamental Danger'

Charles Dharapak/AP

Americans appear to have shrugged off the sequester, but they wouldn't escape the pain of a default, a top White House economic adviser said Thursday.

"I think this is of a different magnitude. This is a different order of potential harm," said Gene Sperling, the head of President Obama's National Economic Council, said of comparing default to the sequester or the current government shutdown.

"The sequester is very, very stupid policy.... A shutdown ... it's hurting real-life people, real-life children," Sperling said. "Neither of them risks having a frightening global economic event where things unwind and we are not there with the capacity to respond."

Sperling is the latest in a string of administration officials and business leaders working to convince the public that default could precipitate an economic crisis, a notion that congressional Republicans have labeled as alarmism.

If the administration is going to convince the public of the debt-ceiling urgency, they'll have to overcome the perception that the White House oversold the impacts of the sequester's across-the-board discretionary spending cuts.

According to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, only 23 percent of respondents have "seen any impact of these cuts" in their communities or on them personally, while 74 percent said they had seen no impact from sequestration.

Sperling maintained that the sequester is damaging, saying it was clipping growth in the gross domestic product by a half point and costs hundreds of thousands of jobs, but he said default would be far worse, both in terms of its immediate impact and its long-term damage to the country's financial reputation. 

Sperling earlier this week said the administration is open to a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, giving Republicans and Democrats a window to strike a larger deal on the budget and possibly tweaks to the health care law. And National Journal reported Wednesday that a growing group of GOP lawmakers were mulling legislation to push back the debt limit for four to six weeks.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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