Robert Bennett: Sequester is all pain, no gain

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  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    Re: "Congress is nothing but President Obama[']s puppet."

    Looks like it, doesn't it? He's certainly doing a good job of playing them.

    I still get a kick out of liberals trying to blame the whole mess on Republicans in Congress, though.

    The sequester was the President's idea. His plan was sold to Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by Mr. Lew, the President's finance adviser [and nominee for Treasury Secretary], who shepherded it through Congress. It passed with every Democrat who voted, voting in favor.

    Now, it's time to implement. The President has been voted or promised authority to spend and borrow MORE this year than last, a sum approaching double what the previous President spent in the first year of his second term.

    But, amazingly, notwithstanding clear authority to do otherwise, the President now chooses to apply the "cuts" in the most painful and draconian of the many ways he could have applied them.

    Then, to top it all off, he embarks on an expensive campaign tour to blame his actions on Republicans.


  • raybies Layton, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    Bob's right, the sequester is bad policy and more expensive than it appears to be. This whole mess is poor policy and government officials trying to dodge responsibility for making tough, unpopular decisions.

    Our government just sits around and blames one another. Their innaction is hurting all of us.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    Well that makes sense. Congress is nothing but President Obamas puppet. They always do exactly what he says. Especially the Republicans, they love our president.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Don't worry, There will be an 11th hour "compromise" like there all in all of these pitiful dramas. Political theater like this is a joke and it's also very predictable.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:31 p.m.

    Congressman are sitting back home refusing to do their jobs and you really think people are going to eventually blame Obama? I don't think it is liberals that think people are stupid.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 9:04 p.m.

    "Regarding Defense and Entitlements... Defense is the one mandate the Constitution gives Congress."

    Huh? Soooooooooooooooooooo this somehow justifies the out of control spending that we've seen over the past decade in defense? Unbelievable. Where in the Constitution is it justified to spend so much in defense?

    Out of control spending is out of control spending. Do you realize that we spend over 4 times as much as #2 China? Or 8 times as much as #3 Russia?

    If we spent 4 times as much on entitlements as the next country you repubs would be screaming even louder than you are currently!

    The lack of critical thinking skills are really on display when it comes to this discussion.

    You folks cry about spending, analyze every single penny when it comes to social programs. Yet, when it comes to defense, you folks are completely down with handing out blank checks to corrupt politicians and defense contractors. In fact, you folks support EVEN MORE pork and bloat. Are you really happy that they spend billions on jets that don't even work?

    It's time to take an honest look at defense spending. It is completely out of control.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:45 p.m.

    Re: ". . . you all think the A[m]erican people are going to blame Obama?"

    Eventually, yes. His disingenuous attack machine has been effective, to date, but it's a long time from now to the end of April, when the first of the effects will be felt.

    And, Americans are just not as stupid as liberals hope.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:00 p.m.


    Defense is noted in the constitution but there's no good reason that we should be spending 5-6x as much annually in defense spending as does second place China.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 5:38 p.m.

    @Open Minded Mormon "Hypocrisy"

    You should check out the CBS News story from November 21, 2011, "Obama pledges to veto effort to undo automatic spending cuts." Watch the video.

    "Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one."

    Now he wants to run away from his responsibility for this mess. The solution is what he suggested out of one side of his mouth at the end of the video: compromise. We've done some tax increases; now let's do some spending cuts. But Obama won't agree to any, so out comes the meat cleaver.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2013 5:20 p.m.

    "Sequester is all pain, no gain"

    Come on, Bennett. Tell your Senator cohorts to just pull out the recent GAO report which details billions in savings from dealing with government fraud, wast, and abuse.

    The fact that the Democrats are threatening to cut kindergarten to pay for the sequester is just plain nuts.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    I think Bennett is right we need to be looking for solutions not blame but I cannot help but wonder how we got to a place where the only reasonable voice in the room is Robert Bennett?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    This whole scenario developed because Republicans irresponsibly/recklessly held the debt ceiling hostage.

    Most people don't know:

    Sequestration--known as the Budget Control Act 2011:

    1) The debt ceiling was increased by $400 billion immediately.

    2) Spending was reduced more than the increase in the debt limit. No tax increases or other forms of increases in revenue above current law ("current law" assumed expiration of all the Bush tax cuts) were included in the bill.
    The bill directly specified $917 billion of cuts over 10 years in exchange for the initial debt limit increase of $900 billion. This is the first installment ("tranche") of cuts. $21 billion of this will be applied in the FY2012 budget (which began Oct.2011-Sept 2012).

    Therefore, cuts are already in place. More cuts via sequestration will go into affect this week absent Congressional action. Rather than all the Bush tax cuts expiring and rates returning to Clinton rates, rates increased 4.6% on income above $450k for married couples ($400k single).

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    Maybe it is not so much the actual money that will be cut but what worries Americans the most is the spiteful attitudes that characterize our Congress. If the dirt hits the fan and things go South, I think the republicans are taking the biggest risk of losing favor in the eyes of the voting public.

  • DougS Oakley, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    Regarding Defense and Entitlements... Defense is the one mandate the Constitution gives Congress. Entitlements have morphed from what FDR implemented as "Social Security" in the 1930s to what it is today. It wasn't done overnight, it was done one step at a time - by Democratic administrations - Foreign aid, while "pennies" in comparison is still supporting regimes that hate us and is useless so far as any benefit to this country (with the possible exception of our "Allies")

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    So lets see Obama is calling on congress to work with him to take action and congressmen are sitting at home thumbing their noses saying we want this to happen and you all think the AMerican people are going to blame Obama? No wonder republicans lost in November.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    "A sizable number of members of Congress want a sequester; the overwhelming majority of them are House Republicans.

    It was Obama’s idea, but Republicans agreed to it and provided key support.

    The most detailed account on this point is in The Price of Politics, a book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward about the 2011 debt ceiling standoff. His reporting shows the White House developed the idea and presented it to Democratic leadership on July 28 and to Boehner’s team on July 30.

    Both sides saw it as a way to force further negotiations later, according to Woodward. The Obama team thought there was "no chance" Republicans would allow defense cuts to happen, while Boehner said Democrats would cave to save domestic programs. Woodward quotes Boehner predicting the sequester "is never going to happen."

    Republicans have repeatedly said the sequester was Obama’s idea, but they supported it early on and provided the votes needed to put it into law."

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:00 p.m.

    What I can't understand is that Republicans - especially the Tea Party types - are ALL about, and 100% in favor of any and all spending cuts.

    So why the sudden shift, back-peddling, double-talking, and about-face now?

    Class A-1 Hypocrites is all I can come up with...

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    Conservatives on this forum and throughout the nation believe that if they shout loud enough and often enough that Obama will get all the blame every time something like this happens.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    @atl34 "Guess you all weren't being truthful."

    What, you think I don't want spending cuts? I'm not complaining about spending being cut. I'm saying the sequester is a stupid way to go about it. The problem is, no one in the White House or Congress has the courage to identify specific programs to cut.

    JoeBlow is right about this. The only budget categories large enough to make a real difference are defense and entitlements.

    You want to talk about truthful? Obama won't admit the sequester was his idea. He's a blamer, so he's out there blaming.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Re: "The sequester was approved by virtually every Republican in the House and Senate."

    That doesn't change the fact that it was Obama's idea, was proposed by Mr. Lew, his new Treasury Secretary nominee, or that the effects could unilaterally be all but eliminated by his administration.

    Yet, the President now denies knowledge or responsibility for it, blaming only Republicans.

    Further, he decreed that it be implemented in the most draconian, painful way possible. Obama could take this tiny 2.2% reduction, not to spending, but to budget creep -- even with the sequester, we'll spend more this year than last -- in many different ways that would avoid all the pain he suggests will occur. He decreed, instead, that it be focused on some of the most important and vulnerable people and programs.

    Sorry, but it's Obama's to own.

    He suggested it. His recalcitrance made it all but a sure thing. And, his cynical fit of pique insured it will needlessly hurt people and destroy any benefit to the economy it might otherwise have had.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Brought to you by the same folks who ousted bob, the tea party!

    Methinks the end is near for the tea party. We Americans grow tired of this obstructionism. Well, you folks had a nice run. I mean, you could forget Palin, "you betcha." Or Bachmann's goofy look on Newsweek? Or Cain admitting that he knew nothing about the world but still wanted to become President? Or Santorum denying evolution? Or Mike Lee and his goofy balanced amendment? Or his accusing of the UN taking over the world because of some disabled persons agreement?

    Or you folks all dressed in colonial gear demanding, "Keep your darn government hands off my Medicare!"

    Thank goodness the madness is over. Time to get back to REAL issues and REAL governing.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    " They should start by cutting their own compesation and benefits, then un-do the welfare mess they created, then eliminate all foreign aid. "

    No Doug. You are simply clouding the issue with "feel good" solutions.


    Do not talk about any other spending. Do not ask your congressmen to even look at any other spending.

    Everything other than Defense, Social Security, and Medicare is peanuts.

    I can assure you that our politicians would rather talk about ANYTHING but these 3. Dont give them the chance. Dont ask them about anything else. Keep them focused on these 3 budget items.

    After they have fixed theses, then we can talk about the pennies like foreign aid.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    Obama wanted to increase the debt ceiling without spending cuts. The only reason we have the sequester is because Republicans held the economy hostage and forced the issue. The sequester was the means of getting something out there. But you know what's really rich... you and Republicans are blaming Obama for something approved through Congress that involves spending cuts. I could've sworn you all thought the deficit was the biggest problem we face other than maybe jobs. Guess you all weren't being truthful.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Imagine if you or I did our jobs this way. Our company would fold.

  • DougS Oakley, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    There is enough blame to go around. Congress is the problem since they created the conditions which caused the deficit. They should start by cutting their own compesation and benefits, then un-do the welfare mess they created, then eliminate all foreign aid.

    Congress created this monster with presidential support - they should feel the pain even more than we peons are expected to.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    Congress was in favor of the Sequester. Both Republicans and Democrats. Overwhelmingly.

    It gave them an out to keep them from doing their job at the time. It allowed them to put off the spending cuts that are painful and unpopular.

    They acted like little children looking for any opportunity to keep from eating their broccoli.

    So, grow up people. Does it make you feel better to point fingers? Does it fix anything?
    The sequester was certainly a popular idea.

    Give credit anytime one of our politicians puts forth an idea popular with both sides. (from either side)

    Now, tell your congressmen to quit playing politics and go fix the problem.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    We shouldn't be cutting now when the economy hasn't fully recovered. We will just backslide into a recession.

    Republican Paul Ryan in 2011 on the sequester:

    ""What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years are statutory caps on spending, legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money. And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can't turn that off without a supermajority vote. We got that in law. That is here."

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    Liberals on this forum and throughout the nation believe that if they shout loud enough and often enough that the GOP will get all the blame every time something like this happens.

    Yes, Republicans voted for it, but so did the Democrats and the whole thing was the President's idea in the first place and he signed it. So forget this nonsense about the sequestration being the GOP's fault.

    I think it was a very silly idea to cut with such a blunt instrument. But even more silly is to continue down this road of ever more tax increases and zero spending cuts that we have been on. Even the proposed cuts are not really cuts at all, just reductions in increases. Our country is heading for bankruptcy and everyone screams when a few minor percentage points are cut from a wildly bloated budget. Government revenues are at an all time high and we still manage to spend a $trillion more each year than we take in.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    We have some harsh economic realities to face people! We either experience some pain now by cutting run away spending or our exploding national debt will destroy the economy and the suffering will be much, much worse! How much worse? Got your food storage? I believe the majority of Americans do not care and naïvely believe we can just keep on spending money we don't have forever, but that is impossible. Don't believe it? Prepare to suffer!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Nate, why don't you and others like you take a few minutes to learn the truth before posting?

    The sequester was approved by virtually every Republican in the House and Senate.

    Yes, it's a stupid move, but it was approved by people dedicated to making sure Obama was a one-term president. That didn't work, so now they are left to try to figure out how to things even tougher for him.

    Trouble is, it's ordinary Americans who will suffer the consequences of Congressional stupidity.

    But hey, as long as the GOP doesn't have to give ground or accept responsibility, everything will be okay.

    Yeah, right.

  • Ralph West Jordan Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    "The sequester is one of Obama's stupidest ideas, and that's saying something."

    Hey Nate, seems like you forgot to mention the few hundred other finger pointers in the "stupid sequester idea!. If I am not mistake every single Republican in the House voted for the sequester, and I do believe it was our illustrious "Finger-Pointer Speaker of the House" that stood up and crowed that "I got 98% of what I wanted in the vote".

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    The sequester is one of Obama's stupidest ideas, and that's saying something.

    What Bailout Bob said about uncertainty is true, but he omits the larger uncertainty facing the next generation, who must deal with a debt of $16,500,000,000,000 and climbing. Can we not make sensible cuts in our spending to ease the way of our children in the future?

    The real problem is, our so-called leaders don't seem interested in finding anything sensible to do, but rather spend their time and energy blaming others. This is a particular characteristic of our Finger-Pointer-in-Chief.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:06 a.m.

    "11,000 people in Utah, resulting in $86 million in lost wages"

    Cut cut cut. Just not in my state. That, Mr Bennett, is the problem.

    It is very telling that you cite people affected and lost wages as if that is the primary function of military bases without any details on how it would strategically affect our military.

    I can assure you that any base cut or closure will affect jobs. I am convinced that not all will hurt the military.

    Bottom line? The military needs to be cut. And by much more than the sequestration dictates.

    And SS and Medicare must be trimmed and the rate of growth must be addressed.

    I am not suggesting that sequestration is the most efficient method, but any and every cut will hurt someone who will scream loudly.

    Mr Bennett is just one of many. It cannot happen without pain.