Washington is in a fit of collective terror over the "sequester," aka the impending across-the-board spending cuts. Trying to explain the zero economic growth at the end of 2012, White House spokesman Jay Carney blamed Republicans for "talk about letting the sequester kick in as though that were an acceptable thing." He left out that President Obama proposed the sequester in 2011.
Then on Tuesday Mr. Obama warned about "the threat of massive automatic cuts that have already started to affect business decisions." He proposed tax increases and "smaller" spending cuts to replace the sequester until Congress and he can agree to another not-so-grand-bargain. It’s nice to see Mr. Obama worry about "business decisions" for a change, but listening to his cries of "massive" cuts is like watching "Scary Movie" for the 10th time. You know it’s a joke.
The sequester that nobody seems to love would cut an estimated $85 billion from the budget this fiscal year starting in March. Half of the savings would come from defense and half from domestic discretionary programs. Medicare providers would take a 2% cut. This "doomsday mechanism," as some in the Administration call it, was the fallback when the White House and Republicans couldn’t agree during the 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations.