Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

Even with Obama’s sequester, government spending and debt continue spiraling out of control; Updated

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!


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  • John_Frank

    Doug, an excellent post. Thank you.

  • RedDaveR

    Thanks for posting. This is where the GOP is really missing the boat. They should be reminding people why the sequester exists in the first place: The $1 trillion plus that the government is adding to the debt. They should be pounding the message that this level of spending and debt is unsustainable, and is the reason for the credit downgrade in 2011, not the MSM make-believe story about the Tea Party’s resistance to raising the debt ceiling. They should also be asking why the $800 billion "stimulus" spending is now permanently built into the budget. If they can’t even fight over this puny reduction in spending, then they are totally useless.

  • Freempg

    Would that we be Vonnegut characters and observe all of this from outer space. We cannot. We are stuck in the middle of it with little or no hope of reversing any of it. How will a candidate ever win who must first inform the electorate that we must destroy the economy to save it?

  • Patriot41

    An excellent post Doug, however facts like these mean very little to those who could care less about the future of this nation, much less about those who will have to shoulder the financial burdens that are left behind. The current mindset of such people, is to get what they can, while they can and to hell with everything else.

    What is truly ironic about this situation, is that for decades liberals have screamed about everything must be done for the children. Well now that they have achieved their goals, look what they have left behind for "THE CHILDREN". Not only have they left them a bankrupt future, but also made the slaves of the State.

  • Lennart Bilén

    Obama the spender: "Tax more!
    We must spend much more than before
    on Solyndra and friends".
    for on such he depends.
    Sequester: Cut waste to the core.

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