Comments about ‘What others say: Congress needs to get serious about the sequester’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

Sequestration epitomizes the political insanity today. It's something neither side wants, but both sides are willing to use as "scorched earth" tactics to prevent the other side from getting what it wants. It no longer matters if one's side doesn't win as long as the other side loses. And many average folks are going to pay the price for politicians' foolishness.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"The House repudiated Simpson-Bowles, 382 to 38, a vote that was a slap at Obama and a warning to Boehner."

Simpson-Bowles may not be perfect, but it is far better than any plan the house or senate may hatch.

Why such a landslide defeat? Cause it contained Tax increases and spending cuts. And, in the end, both of those things are unpopular.

I am very disappointed that Obama did not make a tour, urging its passage.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

When you spend like there is no tomorrow on things you don't really need, the time eventually comes when you can't afford to pay for things you DO need.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

According to recent polls a clear majority of the people favor a deal that cuts costs and increases taxes by eliminating some sacred cow tax loopholes that mostly favor the wealthy and corporations. But the Tea Party caucus just can't bring itself to compromise. The Tea Party's failure to undertand how a representative democracy resolves conflict is at the root of the failure. It isn't the absenteeism of the congress nor the president though neither of those helped.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Res Novae,

Exactly. The era of Pyrrhic victory.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

The Republicans are busy trying to lay the blame for sequestration on Obama so that when it occurs they won't take the political hit. But Congress, not Obama, writes and passes legislation. The majority of voters support Obama's call for more revenue. On a side note, supposedly there is an exellent article this month in Time magazine on our healthcare system.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Sequestration will wreak far more havoc than it will help. We should not be trying to cut government spending now! The economy is still far too fragile. If people really want to see a double-dip recession, by all means go ahead and cut government spending. But it will hurt a great many people in the meantime, especially the generation of younger people who have already had a hard time on the job market for the past 4 years.

We are on a slow recovery from the worst financial crisis in 70 years. We haven't really fixed the problem with proper regulation of banks, and we've made it worse by not doing enough deficit spending. The time to curb government spending and take in excess money to pay down the debt is when the economy is good, not when it is teetering on the edge. This has been proven time and time again, but Utah's politicians will never learn.

mcclark
Salt Lake City, UT

Before the Bush tax cuts we were running a budget surplus, ever since we have been running a deficit. What needs to be done seems pretty clear to me. The Bush tax cuts were sold by the Republicans as a temporary way to stimulate the economy, they promised it would be temporary so it would not run up the deficit to much. When they were in power, the Vice President said "deficits dont matter". As soon as Obama was elected they started singing a different tune.

Fitz
Murray, UT

The "sequester" that automatically kicks in on March 1 was an agreement reached between Congress and the White House. Before it kicked in, which it originally was supposed to do last December I believe, Congress and the White House were supposed to agree to budget cuts and revenue increases. The budget cuts and revenue increases did not come timely, so a temporary fix was made. Obama got his tax increases earlier this year. The budget cuts have not materialized, so the automatic cuts, agreed to early last year, now kick in. So be it.

And for the record, the budget cuts are not as drastic as the press and the White House portray them. We have a 7% cut for the Defense Department and a 5% cut for all other federal agencies. How the various federal agencies deal with the cuts is not mandated (and Congress in process of passing legislation clarifying that) but rather it is up to the agency directors. Finding ways to cut bloated budgets should not be that tough and it clearly should not equate to personnel cuts or layoffs.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@Truthseeker "But Congress, not Obama, writes and passes legislation."

And Obama, not Congress, signs legislation into law. Which he did, after coming up with the idea of the sequester in the first place.

The truth (since you're seeking it) is that they both kicked the can down the road, and we're now down the road.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

re:Nate

It is pathetic that we have to have these crisis every couple of months instead of a longer term solution. Republicans control the House. But they don't control the Senate (theoretically speaking although they have liberally used the filibuster) or the Presidency. What needs to happen is a bill that will garner enough moderate Republican and Democratic votes in the House and Senate. Obama has proposed a plan to avert the cuts that combines closing tax loopholes with cutting federal spending; Republicans have offered their version with only spending cuts. The Republican Party--and the country--is being held hostage by its most extreme elements. Many Republicans in Congress want the sequestration to occur in order to cut spending.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

Fitz,

I'm involved in sequestration planning and preparation for a living right now (I wish I wasn't, my apologies for the tax dollars you spend for me to focus on things that aren't part of my normal duties). By its very nature, the sequestration cuts tie the hands of many agencies in terms of where they can take the cuts. That was the point that both sides agreed to a year and a half ago -- mandated cuts taken in a way that would hurt so badly that they would force a more sensible compromise.

I assure you, they will hurt precisely because they do not allow department secretaries or directors to focus on bloated programs. There will be some lucky ones who work where cuts can be taken out of the fat. There will others (800,000 people in DOD alone) taking a 20% pay reduction. And there will be "reductions in force" (a lovely euphemism) for federal employees and contractors. With an economy in the middle of lethargic recovery, the ripple effects are likely to affect all of us.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@TruthSeeker "It is pathetic that we have to have these crisis every couple of months instead of a longer term solution."

Amen, and amen, although I may be that extreme element you were referring to. I don't mean to hold y'all hostage, but I keep noticing that we get tax increases, and never spending cuts. I'd like to know the details on these spending cuts which you say Obama has proposed. This is the first I've heard of them. I hope they're substantial enough to make a real difference.

"What needs to happen is a bill...."

I agree again. We need a bill which is created out in the open, and follows normal legislative procedures through both the House and the Senate, including reconciliation. No more back room deals driven by manufactured crises.

I'd say a big part of our current economic difficulties come from the fact that potential employers don't know what they're going to get slammed with next.

JayTee
Sandy, UT

We need to get serious about the conflagration runaway spending spree . . . or we're doomed. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland once thought everything was ducky in their countries, too. But when reality does finally hit, it can hit very hard.

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