We’ve heard this story before. Chicken Little! We’ve heard this story before. The boy who cried wolf! We’ve heard this story before. Y2K! We’ve heard this story before. From Democrats and Republicans.
We have arrived at a point in time where (insert issue here) is so important that if nothing is done the country will cease to exist as we know it!
Both sides have a hand in sequestration. It was President Obama who got it started, but the GOP went right along voting for it.
As we near the deadline, the president has been the lead voice of doom and gloom. The desperate sounds of devastation are more laughable than serious.
Who can keep track of all the numerical negativity?
We’ve heard all kinds of numbers being tossed around of what would happen both nationally (especially to defense) and to individual states if the sequester is in effect.
For example, in Michigan, we would suffer:
- 300 teacher and aide jobs at risk
- 2490 lower-income residents lose college financial help
- 1300 lose work study jobs
- 2300 lose access to Head Start and Early Head Start
- 4400 fewer kids get vaccines
- $2.9 million lost to help prevent substance abuse
- $1.8 million lost to provide meals for seniors
- $1.7 million cut in job assistance
- $14 million for Amy base operations
- $1.5 million for fish and wildlife protection
To quote a Seinfeld episode: "yada, yada"
No doubt women and children will suffer the most.
Here are the only numbers that need attention (from various sources):
The sequester would cut government spending $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. That's an average of $109 billion over the next 10 years.
The fiscal cliff deal included cuts of $24 billion for this year, so to meet the sequester, $85 billion must be cut in the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.
Cut? $85 billion? From a budget of about $3.6 trillion? It's about 2.4%.
That's not a cut, that's a simple trim.
And it's not really a cut at all.
Spending is slated to increase by $110 billion over the next decade even with the sequestration cuts. The rate of spending growth is being cut, not spending as we know it today.
Having said that, there is dispute from some organizations that say the cuts really would be a cut from current levels of spending this year.
If that's true, then congratulations!
However, over the next decade, as following chart shows, spending will increase, with or without sequestration, and the differences are barely noticeable.
Does anyone really believe there isn't $85 billion we could find to save us from the apocalypse?
How about grants for a security conference in San Diego featuring "zombie apocalypse training".
Remember, the recently passed Superstorm Sandy relief bill included $150 million for Alaskan fisheries, $2 million to the Smithsonian to repair roofs, and $8 million to Homeland Security and the Justice Department to buy cars.
In recent years, Social Security Administration mistakenly paid nearly $100 million to dead people.
If the sequestration cuts actually happen, I promise you the sun will come out tomorrow, every cloud will have a silver lining, and the glass will be half-full.
How do I know? We are the United States of America. We always survive!
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