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In our opinion: Sequester is clumsy way of doing what the country needs

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  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Feb. 28, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    Christian 24-7 -

    Did you really just conflate the effects of military research and development with Reaganomics just because someone used the phrase "trickle down"? I don't think you ought to give economics lectures to anyone, friend!

    BTW, military technology has given Joe Public things like jet engines, better prosthetics, superior materials to build ships and planes, radar (and the microwave as a spin off of that!), digital photography, GPS, satellite communications, and, oh yeah, the INTERNET! None of those things have benefitted the economy or the American people, have they?

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    Feb. 28, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Res

    "...DOD is the largest employer in the world..."

    True, but all the wages are paid by taxes, which means the people who paid the taxes could have used it to buy goods, or to produce some products, employ people, and sell those goods. They would have put the money/goods in the economy either way. The government taking that money does not contribute to growth. It just transferred (redistributed) the money.

    Without selling defense product on the open market, it is not an economy grower. (I don't think we should sell our military secrets, nor our excess nuclear bombs, even though there are those who would pay big for them, and we need the money.) The DOD is about defense, not economic growth.

    "...trickle-down results of R&D."

    Liberals scoff at trickle down economics. Either it works or it doesn't. Which is it?

    "Cut the deficit or improve the economy. You can't have both..."

    To quote your favorite president, "Yes we can!" have both.

    Obama told us the recession ended June 2009. The remaining uncertainty, due to huge deficits, is suppressing the economy. Spending less WILL help the economy by raising confidence, which spurs growth.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 28, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    How many 85 billion equals to be one trillion, how many trillions of dollars is spent a year, how many billions did the prez spend on vacations, in a year. I can't do the math, and I doubt that they think about it.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Feb. 28, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    This is a drop in the bucket. If this is the only way spending can be cut, then so be it.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Feb. 28, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    @Christian 24-7
    So the leftwing thinks that DOD is an instrument of rapcious capitalism because wars drive massive funding for private sector contractors, and our wars are the result of conspiracies of CEOs. Now the rightwing apparently thinks DOD "is not a producer of anything as far as contributing to the economic growth of the country." I can't win! :)

    Look, DOD is the largest employer in the world (which should cause discussion about priorities). It is not a corporation, but it is a big actor in economic terms because of the money it injects into the economy by buying things, paying for services, and the trickle-down results of R&D. Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman are big name beneficiaries of this. They will cut thousands of employees. There are 3000 small business that rely on DOD. About a third of those are in jeopardy of bankruptcy thanks to sequestration.

    I'm not saying "Wo is me" because of furloughs. It is what it is. I'm trying to warn those who chant "CUT CUT CUT" that there are consequences in this economic environment. Cut the deficit or improve the economy. You can't have both right now.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    Feb. 28, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    I guess after taking a 15% cut in pay for 2 years ('09,'10) by furloughs, I don't think it is so far fetched to ask government workers to take their turn too.

    We have to realize that DOD is not a producer of anything as far as contributing to the economic growth of the country. It is a necessary cost to protect our country. It needs to be as lean and well conditioned as those who come out of our boot camps. Those guys are fit!! That is what we need from the whole DOD, financially and equipment wise, total lean fitness. We should not view it as a jobs program. That is not what it is for.

    Truthseeker and Copy Cat,
    You are mixing 10 year figures with one year figures, which is part of the reason you have a disconnect.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Feb. 28, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    @JoeBlow
    "We hear very little about how the DOD spending cuts will affect our military.
    What we hear is how many JOBS will be affected."

    There's been plenty of screaming from the Pentagon on the impact to the military, mainly in terms of equipment maintenance, training, and driving up inefficiencies in acquisition. There'll be a hit, but let's be honest -- we'll still be spending far more on defense than any other country. I agree with your general point that we need a serious look at our spending priorities. Ever try cutting a program that's in Representative Y's district and that General Z needs to get his third star? I wish we could be more efficient by trimming real waste instead of taking a meat cleaver to the entire budget appropriation through sequestration.

    The focus on jobs is because I believe that's the real impact of sequestration - reduce people's paychecks on a massive scale, consumption slumps, and the economy begins contracting again. This entire discussion would be much different if the economy was humming along, but right now I don't believe it can sustain the impact of fewer dollars going around.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Feb. 28, 2013 5:49 a.m.

    " If we cannot go ahead and swallow this small pill, what hope to we have of ever facing up to the national deficit?"

    It seems to me that history should have taught us that cutting spending is only part of the answer to balancing our budget. In the 1990's Bill Clinton got a tax increase just barely passed in Congress and that was the start of the larget economic expansion in the nation's history. Despite the rhetoric from Wall Street, that tax hike proved that the government was being responsible about meeting it's financial obligations. The private sector flourished and the economy grew like never before. That produced record revenues for the government and for the first time in decades, a balanced budget was passed - even a surplus budget. Our natioinal debt was about $5 trillion at that time and the CBO estimated that if the same conditions continued the nation would be debt free in 10 years.

    Look at what has happended since then. Now that our economy is on a fragile recovery from the world wide downturn of 2008, killing jobs and stopping government spending is not the way to get the economy back on track.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 28, 2013 4:21 a.m.

    All government spending constitutes a jobs program.

    We hear very little about how the DOD spending cuts will affect our military.
    What we hear is how many JOBS will be affected.

    Slowly, we need to start cutting all government programs.

    Start with Defense, SS and Medicare. Those are the biggies. They will have the greatest impact.
    The rest is peanuts.

    With a reduction in defense spending, the pentagon will be forced to prioritize. They will start reducing based on Military reasoning, rather than political reasoning.

    Bases should be closed based on the value they bring to the military, not the number of jobs they bring to a state with a powerful senator.

    ALL cuts in Govt spending will hurt someone. FACT.

    How many of you want to reduce spending but don't want Hill AFB touched?

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 11:39 p.m.

    Neat to see a fair amount of voices saying the Sequester might be what we need, and perhaps we should go through with it. When we had the national credit rating reduction and the debt ceiling crisis, it was obvious to us we need to do something about our deficit. This Sequester is what came out of all that concern. And, the Sequester is not much, a small offering, is all. If we cannot go ahead and swallow this small pill, what hope to we have of ever facing up to the national deficit?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:38 p.m.

    Re:Copy Cat

    The Budget Control Act includes the sequestration AND it directly specified $917 billion of cuts over 10 years in exchange for the initial debt limit increase of $900 billion.

    As part of the Budget Control Act, a Super Committee was supposed to come up with an ADDITIONAL $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction (in addition to the $917 billion) to avoid triggering the sequestration.

    The $917 billion is not affected by the sequester.

    Your source?

  • Copy Cat Murray, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Every working American just had their personal ability to spend cut by 2%. The wealthy have had their personal ability to spend cut by more than that. It is time for equity, for the government to spend less as well. 2% is a start.

    @ Truthseeker (sarcastic)

    "Boehner has said Obama got his tax increases, no more tax increases. But Obama could reply, Boehner got spending cuts--nearly 1 trillion in the 2011 Budget Control Act..."

    This is not truth!!! The sequestration is the same as the Budget Control Act, and the cut is 85 billion, no where close to a trillion.

    Compare that to the January tax increase of 600 billion. We still need to cut another 515 billion to have a balanced approach with the tax hike we just had!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    can you imagine having Obama as the CEO of your company? Holy smokes you would be out of business in 3 months. This man is an embarrassment...and completely dishonest and clueless.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 4:44 p.m.

    Again the glaring truth is His Highness brought this to the table and now he can't deal with it. Although I believe this is his way of getting to the Military. Have you noticed there has never been so many crisis's as there has been since his first Coronation. He is a crisis!!

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Feb. 27, 2013 1:49 p.m.

    Tturbo99 - These are not rumors. Official notifications must wait until sequestration is formally ordered, but paycuts and furloughs are imminent. I'm certainly not going to get down into the weeds of internal DOD budget allocations in an anonymous internet forum, but the figures are a little more complicated than what you have.

    There is no "hysteria" here, only the grim reality that we'll do what we must -- and that a country that asked us to support two major conflicts has suddenly decided to place the burden of decades of questionable spending decisions on the backs of those of us who wanted to do something more to serve than stick a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker on our cars.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    For all those paying even casual attention to Barack and his antics over the past 4 years this Sequestration side show is nothing new - actually very predictable. Invent a crisis and then attempt to take advantage of it. That is Barack Obama in a nutshell. The surprising thing I think to most people - even democrat's - is the depth that Barack will stoop to in order to achieve his political ends. The man will stoop to any level no matter how low. The welfare of the country doesn't even factor in to the man's thinking. Barack is all about revolution and communist ideology - it was how he was raised and how he was tutored by all of his mentors. Let thousands of dangerous criminals go onto the street - you bet! Hurt the vital parts of our military - why not. Layoff as many as possible - might as well. Yes if Obama is anything at all anymore he is predictable ... sadly predictable. This sequestration is Barack's ugly child but try to get him to own up to that. The real goal - hurt the GOP in the next election. Collateral damage to the innocent - who cares. OBama - a man without honor.

  • Tturbo99 Camarillo, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    Re: Res Novae, Ashburn, VA - So you are "among close to a million DOD employees looking at a 20% loss in pay." Interesting - and no doubt scary. No doubt rumors are flying - our leaders are making sure of that. Let's look at the numbers though. 1,000,000 employees at average loaded comp of $100,000 means a total outlay of $100,000,000,000, of which 20% would be $20,000,000,000. So far might hold water. Looking further. The whole DOD budget for 2013 is $614,000,000,000. The total reduction from that budget ("cuts") is $44,000,000,000, or about 7%. That means that if roughly half of the reduction is coming out of your compensation, the remaining $28,000,000,000 is a reduction of about 5% from the balance of the DOD budget. So who's making the decision to stick employees with 20% cuts and limit the reductions to the balance of the department to 5%? Really causes me to question the hysteria.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest "The money you're talking about is debt. This will not be available for the private sector."

    Whenever the government spends money, the private sector has to pay for it eventually. The money has to come from somewhere. It comes out of the taxpayer's pocket, either now or in the future. The taxpayer knows this, and behaves accordingly.

    @ECR "this week they...want his leadership to solve this fiscal problem."

    Mostly I want him to cut the demagoguery and tell the truth. Maybe that's too much to ask. Remember when he said this would be not red America, not blue America, but the United States of America? I remember that.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    @Tturbo 99 - "For heavens sake we are talking about spending an aggregate 2% less than planned for the coming fiscal year"

    It's 2% of the entire federal budget, but since non-discretionary budget is unaffected, the cuts must come out of the remaing discretionary budget, which is only 1/3 of the total budget. That pushes up the cuts significantly when the reach they agency level. I'm among close to a million DOD employees looking at a 20% loss in pay. I assure you, that 2% of the aggregate budget looks a lot scarier from my vantage point. Furloughs and layoffs will NOT strengthen this economy.

    The direct impact to me could be mitigated if there was more flexibility in where the cuts are to be taken. That's a private sector luxury.

    @red state pride - "After WW2 ended the Federal Budget was cut by 40% and the private sector went gangbusters."

    No, GDP plummeted after the war by more than twice the percentage we just experienced in the recent recession as government spending went down and the economy transitioned to peacetime.

  • Hockey Fan Miles City, MT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Blame Game + Crisis Management = Washington D.C. Politics

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    According to this editorial, "When government spending declines, more money is available for the private sector." This is a silly statement. As things now stand, when government spending declines, Uncle Sam simply has to borrow less. The money you're talking about is debt. This will not be available for the private sector. (Actually, it already is, but the private sector doesn't need to borrow more.)

    If the editorial had said, "When government taxes less, more money is available for the private sector," it may have been more correct. But the private sector already has plenty of cash. It has been stockpiling it, earning miserly returns on it, and in some cases effectively paying the government to hold it safe. Corporations claims to have been waiting to invest when demand justifies increased investment.

    Oh yes, the "D" word. Demand. Now, why has demand been so low? Because the consumer classes have been getting underpaid for 30 years and the recession hit them hard. The investors already have plenty of money. It's the consumers who don't. This is a pretty simple puzzle to solve, and the answer isn't to slash government spending.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    ECR - You hit it right on the head. DN, the Utah voice of the GOP. Easy to carry out that mission is Utah. However, there are a growing number of us Utahns who are becoming weary of this shallow minded thinking. Any objective analysis can demonstrate that a balanced approach is needed (including, but not limited to spending cuts). More revenue will be required to do the job - and yes that will cause some pain.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    According to a new, Washington Post/ABC poll 26% of Americans approve and 67% disapprove of the GOP's approach to spending. Obama's numbers are 43% and 52%.

    Both parties give their rivals low marks, but troublingly for the GOP, its approval rating among its own is only nominally higher than Obama's overall rating. Just 44 percent of Republicans said they approved of their party's approach, compared to 51 percent who disapproved, and Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say they disapproved of both sides of the debate.

    The results are in line with other recent polls, which have found that most Americans disapprove of congressional Republicans' plans, and are more willing to blame them for a scuttled sequester deal.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    Bring it on. If the American dream of government by the people for the people is to be thrown down and destroyed, let it be that we all go together.

    Cheers for Obama for showing some backbone in his second term after allowing the republicans and businessmen to walk all over him in his first. The republicans want to reduce our federal spending, we should give the what they want.

    I suggest that the Federal Government take a vacation. Close up, shut down, mothball facilities for a week or so. Make no payments to non federal government employees, states, cities or other non federal sponsored groups. Close and mothball all national parks and federal lands. Inform farmers to remove their livestock from Federal land, pay a high fee or lose their livestock.

    When the republicans say “When government spending declines, more money is available for the private sector”, what they are actually saying is “more money will be left to workers for private business to steal.

    If some of us must feel the pain, lets make sure that the pain is felt by all.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Boehner has said Obama got his tax increases, no more tax increases. But Obama could reply, Boehner got spending cuts--nearly 1 trillion in the 2011 Budget Control Act, therefore, no more spending cuts. More revenue is needed and more spending cuts before employment has recovered is irresponsible. How is austerity working in the EU? It isn't. When Hill Air Force Base employees are laid off or have their pay cut--how is that going to help UT's economy?

    In fact:
    The federal deficit will drop to less than $1 trillion for the first time in five years, but massive spending cuts that have improved the budget outlook are also slowing the economy, according to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget office.
    (LA Times Feb 2013)

    The fact remains, the Republicans trying to absolve themselves of blame for the sequestration is comical because many/most Republicans in Congress favor the sequestration!

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Bottom line is this was the Kings idea. Sequestration came out of the White House. The King was dodging until after the election. He is on record saying that he would veto any attempt to circumvent the bill. The House has sent two seperate bills to the Senate and Harry Reid has not done one thing including any bills out of the Senate. Now the King is crying about all the damage his own plan will do but as usual compromise is something that he knows nothing about. He is always my way or the Hiway. Rememmber Y2K. This is the same sell job. Oh but thats right the lefties all say the Country does not have a spending problem. Ya right!

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I agreed completely with this editorial. After WW2 ended the Federal Budget was cut by 40% and the private sector went gangbusters. Yes, there were a number of reasons for that but the reduction of Federal spending to GDP was one of the primary reasons. At this point, we should be talking about eliminating entire departments. Would the world come to an end if we got rid of the Dept of Agriculture? Do we really need the TSA? Can't private airlines handle their own security?
    It's actually pretty frightening that a piddling cut in a projected increase is so difficult. And the President has turned into fear-monger in chief. What a sad example of poor leadership. Maybe he could start traveling in 39 car motorcades instead of 40.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 27, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    TeaPublican..I doubt seriously anyone is going to be saying thank you..it's more likely they will be saying are you kidding, & what were you thinking. Reasons.. 85 billion won't in and of itself do anything to turn the trajectory of spending..however 85 billion from programs that cause lay offs, literly takes food out of old peoples mouths, and grounds war ships, will have a devastating public image. In addition this will all be contrasted to obstruction of the Presidents point of tax reform that eliminates corporate welfare for billionaires. Once again Republicans context matters..a lot.

  • TeaPublican Houston, TX
    Feb. 27, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    Let’s talk the truth here! We TeaPublicans know that these sequester cuts ARE the direct result of Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt! Yes, that’s how the sequester came about and we TeaPublicans ARE darn proud of how we forced all Republicans to make those demands! Now you can sugarcoat this however you want to, but the bottom line is we TeaPublicans got what we wanted in 2011….and now we ARE going to get the sequestration cuts that America needs and demands! And come the next elections Americans will say “Thank you very much”!

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Feb. 27, 2013 6:23 a.m.

    "...no shortage of voices can be heard warning of the dire impacts, while political blame is being cast literally left and right."

    A seemingly fair assessment if it were not for the fact that the president's picture is the one featured prominently in this article and that his name or office is mentioned 6 or 7 times with hardly a peep about the Republican Congress. And did you really try to make S&P sound like a credible organization after their complicit behavior in the 2008 meltdown?

    So let's state some facts - The president and the Congress agreed to the sequester as a draconian measure that would surely motivate the "Super Committee" to come to a reasonable deal with regard to spending and revenue. But alas, they did not. You can decide for yourself who it was that scuttled that deal.

    Last week Republicans said the president should just butt out of legislative negotiations relating to gun control and any attempts on his part would be dead on arrival. But this week they, and their surrogates, want his leadership to solve this fiscal problem.

    If you're going to claim to be objective, DN, please follow through on that claim.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 4:30 a.m.

    Put on your big boy pants Republicans because you wanted reduced spending, enjoy your own medicine. Republicans have been howling at the moon over the National Debt and now complain that the cuts will hurt? Please, spare me.

    ALl the unfunded mandates the past 3 Republican presidents ran up and now all of a sudden Republicans care about spending. The cuts are coming and the pain will be real.

  • Tturbo99 Camarillo, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 1:06 a.m.

    Honestly I can't decide if Mr Obama in "campaign mode" sounds more like the "little boy who cried wolf", or "chicken little" running around yelling the sky is falling, For heavens sake we are talking about spending an aggregate 2% less than planned for the coming fiscal year - but which is still a slight increase over last year, and 14% more than the year before that. And hearing cabinet secretaries run around forecasting the "end of the world" in their departments seems to me to be the height of gross mismanagement. If any non-governmental manager at any level reported to their superiors that they could not run their organization on 98% of their projected budget, and still 14% more than they had 2 years prior, they would be out on the street so fast it would make their head spin. We really need new leadership starting at the top.