By Gene Lyons

Ignoring The Sequester’s Inconvenient Truths

March 6, 2013 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 100 Comments A+ / A-
Ignoring The Sequester’s Inconvenient Truths

Republican strategy during the sequestration fight depends upon two political givens: widespread public ignorance, and the extreme reluctance of the traditional Washington news media to exhibit “liberal bias” by stressing inconvenient facts. After all, aren’t “both sides” equally responsible for the current budgetary impasse? And shouldn’t President Obama lead by making the GOP the proverbial offer it can’t refuse?

Exactly what such an offer might consist of remains vague. Mostly, it’s coulda, shoulda, woulda stuff from celebrity pundits like Bob Woodward, the Washington Post editor who spent much of last week on national TV demonstrating that he can’t distinguish a warning from an apology.

“You do not ever have to apologize to me,” Woodward had responded to an allegedly intimidating email from longtime White House source, Gene Sperling. “I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening.”

Wow, that must have been scary! Faced with incredulity after the inoffensive email became public, Woodward alibied that he’d never exactly called it threatening.

Which begs the question of why he was talking about it on TV. Look, people frequently wander into newspaper offices describing government plots against them—often spelled out in all caps, with lots of red-ink underlining and rows of exclamation points. Most often they’re gently shown the door.

But I digress. Sperling’s point was that Woodward was completely off base in saying President Obama had “moved the goalposts” by seeking to close tax loopholes enabling guys like Mitt Romney to pay lower income tax rates than his wife’s horse trainers.

Could there be anybody in America who didn’t know that?

Certainly not Bill Keller. To the former New York Times editor, Obama’s big sin was building “a re-election campaign that was long on making the wealthiest pay more in taxes, short on spending discipline, and firmly hands-off on the problem of entitlements.”

Keller thinks that had President Obama campaigned on Simpson-Bowles-style austerity so beloved of “centrist” pundits whose own finances are secure, “he could now claim a mandate from voters to do something big and bold.” Instead, a weakened president now sounds “helpless, if not acquiescent.”

True, Keller does concede that “much of the responsibility for our perpetual crisis can be laid at the feet of a pigheaded Republican Party, cowed by its angry, antispending, antitaxing, anti-Obama base.”

But nowhere in all this sonorous muck will you find a factual account of exactly what the White House proposes to resolve the sequester that congressional Republicans find so abhorrent.

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Ignoring The Sequester’s Inconvenient Truths Reviewed by on . Republican strategy during the sequestration fight depends upon two political givens: widespread public ignorance, and the extreme reluctance of the traditional Republican strategy during the sequestration fight depends upon two political givens: widespread public ignorance, and the extreme reluctance of the traditional Rating:

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

    Perhaps the leadership of the GOP should pick up a newspaper once in while, or turn off Fox. Hiding your collective heads in the sand is no way proceed when trying to draft policy. Ezra Klein is one smart cookie and people should be paying to attention that young man. Unfortunately, he is too smart for the opposition to understand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

      Lynda, I refer you to the back of the article.

      The Republicans know damned well Obama’s trying to work with them to settle things.

      But they don’t WANT us to prosper, they don’t WANT Obama to succeed, and they don’t WANT anyone to do well except their corporate sponsors.

      The RNC is the best government money has bought.

      • highpckts

        Mainly, they don’t Obama to succeed in ANYTHING!!

      • Mike

        Daniel, that is just embarrassing.

        And that my friend is the divide. You can argue your point all you want. It defies logic.

        Simply to assert that the Democratic Party is without special interests influence, Corporate support, and undo influence, is to be naive, or, employed by the DNC.

        It ain’t clean over here, but we don’t deny its existence and smugly take the moral high ground to boot.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

          Sorry Mike but what you describe about the Dems has been part of politics for centuries; what the GOP is doing is extremist to its extreme. And you trying to whitewash what they’ve been doing for the past 4 years by trying to shift some of the blame to the Democrats is purely delusional to the extreme!!!!!!!!

          • BDC_57

            You got that right the republicans lying thugs who don’t care about American people just the 1%.

          • Mike

            Ok

            ——————————

    • old_blu

      You know other countries are just shaking their heads at us as we vote for these idiot Republicans, we should be embarrassed, the greatest country in the world. pfft!

      • jnsgraphic

        The poor/middle class that vote Republican are deceived by the Republican Party believing that they will care for them because they share the same ‘values’ when the Party only cares about getting their ‘vote’ in order to benefit the rich and are voting ‘against’ their best interest… the poor/middle class (women, gays, seniors and immigrants) voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders. The only people who benefit by voting REPUBLICAN are the rich and powerful.

        • lana ward

          This is exactly the the dems have done to their party!! EXACTLY!!

          • jnsgraphic

            Unless you’re one of the ‘wealthy’… YOU, as well as the poor/middle class that vote Republican are also getting shafted by the greed of the wealthy, not just US liberal Democrats… which explains the stupidity and ignorance of the majority of Republicans.

          • lana ward

            The Republicans want to save us, you’ve just been brainwashed so bad, you can’t see it

          • jnsgraphic

            Get an efin clue… The republicans don’t want to save US, they are in it for themselves, the rich and Greedy Corporate America. In 2014 they will be voted out of the House with no chance for a Presidential win in 2016. If they want to save US they (the wealthy) would pay their fair share of taxes, and contribute their DOLLAR$ to save US vs another doomed election…

          • lana ward

            You have been brainwashwd by Obama and the lying MSM

          • jnsgraphic

            WAKE UP!… Republicans are so blinded by pride and greed that they totally have no connection with the American people that voted them into office in the first place!

          • lana ward

            GOD BLESS AND LOVE GEORGE W BUSH!!!! He was treated like trash for loving America and kept his dignity through it all. What a GREAT,GREAT Patriot!!!!!

          • whodatbob

            Georgie was so dopped up he did know what day it was. Chaney wound him up every morning and George peformed like a good puppet.

          • lana ward

            GOD BLESS GEORGE W BUSH. America loving, patriot

          • jnsgraphic

            BUSH.. the “WORST PRESIDENT” in the history of the United States. BUSH is also the most despised President by people all over the world. George W Bush was so bad and unpopular that even most Republicans want nothing to do with him now, including Mitt Romney. What a GREAT Patriot? What A JOKE?

          • lana ward

            The worst President is that communist piece of black that’s in there now!!!! God Bless George W Bush, all that is good and decent!!!

          • jnsgraphic

            So the truth comes out, its all about race and being threatened by an educated person of color with power. What a sad day if the ‘racists’ got their way… the rich would have gotten richer and the poor that much poorer, backstreet abortions, immigrants looked down upon, gays persecuted, social security living adjustments eliminated, inadequate health care and Wall St free to gamble and corrupt the marketplace once again. When President Obama Won, So Did AMERICA’S FUTURE. GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT & GOD BLESS AMERICA!

          • lana ward

            When Obama won, America lost. Out furture is gone. The only thing he cares about is Obama and turning us into the US of Islam. God Bless George W bush and his decency and love for America. In the words of Wright-” God Damn America” while Obama is leader . Obama is causing it

    • Mike

      I am completely mystified with the White House posting thing.

      Of course, what is posted and what is reality is probably something different. One need only recall Mr. Obama’s statement to Republican Congressmen who had the temerity to ask why he felt no reason to compromise, answered, “because we won”.

      Is it not worth the question, that for a thing so obvious as a publicly posted, offer to compromise, that neither side, including the Press Secretary, Chief of Staff, left wing pundits, Main Stream Media, seem to be aware of, or willing to discuss or tout.

      Odd.

      Just a thought.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UHE4MJP5FHMFIEAOGEQHETUGDQ Rvn_sgt6768

        Dismantling SS, Medicare and Medicaid is not a compromise it’s a cave especially when the majority of Americans who voted did in fact take the WH position in regards to what they want done with these programs and where WE (the people) want cuts to be made. In case you need reminding it was over millions more votes and over 120 more electoral votes. So yes we did in fact win the argument. Time for you and your party to understand what that means.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

        And just where did you here the news about these supposed GOP congresspeople who asked the president why he wouldn’t compromise?? Faux News??? I don’t believe that Obama ever responded that way to such a question for a minute. You’re just as gullible as every other right-wing lover who believes every thing they hear on that lying full of distortions news outlets: and that includes Rush Limbagger too..

        • idamag

          I, for one, think he capitulated way too much his first term. What the house considers compromise is not what compromise is. Both sides have to give a little in compromise and the Wall Street lackies do not plan to give a little.

        • Mike

          And you sir, are stooping to the usual name calling.
          I stand by my assertion, and it was independently reported. Try looking it up.
          By the way, hear is spelled with an (a). Just saying.

          ——————————

  • nobsartist

    Perhaps the leadership of our country should stop playing word games and start looking for new jobs.

    ANY politician who does not demand that SS and medicare be funded by a 7% tax on ALL income and ALL stock transactions needs to be voted out of office.

    Including the President. who got a big tax break when he extended the bush tax cuts.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/EGAAZPJYNYDFTEAU2CBDHJF5M4 Roz

      Not his idea, it was ( I hate to say this word) compromise.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      You just can’t stop being a weasel can you nobsartist!!! When are you going to grow up???

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Woodward got his 30-second fame, time to move on. The biggest problem with the sequester, besides its long term impact on public sector investment, is the fact that it is likely to be the first of continuing demands by the GOP for further spending reductions. Since additional tax increases and DoD cuts are off the table, as far as the GOP is concerned, and additional cuts in discretionary spending are bound to paralyze the nation, the only option left to them is drastic cuts in “entitlement” programs. Since the GOP is very much aware of the backlash such a proposition would elicit, they will use the upcoming debt ceiling exercise as a wedge to force Obama’s hand and make him responsible for something most Americans don’t want.
    The ultimate goal for the GOP is to dismantle Social Security, MEDICARE and MEDICAID and replace them with private sector retirement plans, healthcare plans and do away with MEDICAID altogether. If they succeed, the impact on senior citizens, particularly those without the financial means to pay for astronomical insurance premiums, would be devastating and would destroy the fabric of our society like nothing else could.
    End our interventionist policies abroad, crusades, close obsolete military bases, suspend foreign aid except for humanitarian aid, merge Federal government agencies with similar charters, freeze the salaries and benefits of all civil servants, and as a symbolic gesture, cut the salaries of all elected officials and move their retirement and healthcare benefits to Social Security and MEDICARE, the same programs most Americans depend on to survive and get the medical care we need when we get old. If those programs are good enough for 90% of Americans, they are certainly good enough for our civil “servants” and elected officials.

    • Mike

      Dominick, your last paragraph is akin to standing in a breezy hallway after a rain storm. Fresh air!

      The first two paragraphs,are not fact based though, I believe. Especially the assertion that Republicans want to dismantle entitlements. IF preventing fiscal suicide and runaway entitlement spending is dismantling, I guess I am on board, yet, this old tune, replayed for two or more generations lacks credibility on its face. Social Security, as it now stands is poised for bankruptcy. Medicade is already there, with trillions of unfunded future liability and Obama Care, is such a large item, the projected 4-6 Trillion will probably seem small when all the numbers are in.

      Fear not, the sequester, at a paltry 2.5% of the projected increase in budget spending, (if we had a budget) is a spit in the ocean. Instead of 85 Billion, it should be 300,000 Billion. Hell, if we used the last budget of Bush the younger, if would take us pretty near the goals of today’s conservatives, hands down.

      • whodatbob

        SS would be solvent if the General fund would stop raiding it and start paying back what it has already taken. Social Security should be off the table in these talks.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/UHE4MJP5FHMFIEAOGEQHETUGDQ Rvn_sgt6768

          SS is solvent to the tune of $2.7 Trillion. It needs NO adjustment to it to stay solvent until 203 right now. Moving the cap off on income will make it solvent for over more 77 years. Talking about SS now is part of the smoke and mirrors to attack all entitlements. We (US) has got to change how we do Health Coverage. We are the only nation who does it this way and it is not cost effective. It is however a cash cow for the Health industry.

          By the way Mike the Republicans (your party I am guessing) HAS made a concerted effort to dismantle SS, Medicare and Medicaid ever since these programs came into existence. History supports this conclusion and not your statement to the contrary. SS is not only the most popular program ever from the Government but has been adopted world wide with almost every country in the world having a form of it.

          WPA and other forms of Government help saved America during the Great Depression caused by the big financial meltdown very similar to the crash of 2008. WE (US) got out of the Great Depression by Government spending not by austerity. We will not get out of this mess we are in by austerity either. Making more people unemployed is never the answer. We need to invest in people and infrastructure, both of which will pay great dividends in the future. Infrastructure because ours has reached the end of it’s life cycle and people because they will continue to be able to fuel the economy and pay taxes into the future.

          When the rhetoric used by one party is to sacrifice people for money, that money is somehow more important than the people used to accumulate that money, America has lost the principal it was founded on “We the people…..”. Even one life is more important than all the gold in the world.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

          Sorry whodatbob, but you’re just continuing to spread an old wives tale that the SS fund has been raided – not so. The SS trust fund is supported by US Treasury Bonds and is still accumulating because the benefits being paid out by SS are still less than the taxes being paid into the fund. The current balance in the fund is 2.7 trillion which is projected to grow to around 3.0 trillion in 2021, at which time it’s projected that benefits may equal tax collections unless Congress passes a low that will increase the revenues before that. (Of course if they do, then the balance in the fund will grow beyound the 3.0 level and the fund will be solvent for years to come (it’s already solvent to 2033 without Congress doing anything.)

          • whodatbob

            Sorry Independent1 would you prefer to substitute borrowed to raided. I am aware the General Fund borrows from the SS Fund to ballance the budget. Also aware JBJ initiated the practice to offset cost in Veitnam. He called it Guns and Butter. How many of those bond have been retired so the funds could be used in another way?
            None, so I think raid is more appropriate then borrow. We are on the same page but differ on how to discribe it. I think we can disagree on the discribtion.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

            No, I’m not buying that either. No monies that have come from FICA tax collections have ever been used for any other purpose other than to pay social Security benefits or as invest ments to the fund – it’s an old wives tale. The only time anything akin to what you’re talking about happened was in 2010 when they pulled an accounting trick and used the 2010 excess FICA collections for that year to reduce the amount of the US deficit announced to the public. Sorry to spoil your fairytale.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

            Wrong again Independent1, read any book on the history of Social Security and you will see starting with FDR that presidents and congresses have taken money from SS and left IOUs, none of the IOUS have been paid. When Reagan was president his fiance secretary, Allan Greenspan told him to put the money in the Social Security fund along with the 2/3 more in SS that the baby boomers were paying into the general fund and to use the money to make it look like his trickle down policy was working when it wasn’t. According to several articles that I read several years ago, Greenspan told Reagan that no one would know for 30 years that he raided the SS fund and what would it matter then. After being elected President, Bush Sr the last year of his Presidency put SS back into it’s fund. He worked with Tip O’neil to get a law passed that said the money in the SS fund could not be used for anything but SS. First time since SS was created that it had protection against raids by presidents and Congress. The law did not stop Bush 2 from taking money from SS twice that the Baltimore Sun newspaper could prove and use the Social Security Fund as collirate (not spelled righ) for the loans he got from China to pay for his unfinanced two wars.

        • idamag

          Remember wnen Al Gore wanted to do just that. His analogy was to put a padlock on Social Security so other factions could not get their hands on it. Now, Peter Peterson of Wall Street want it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

            Actually, Rick Santorum stood up in front of the Senate and asked “WHERE’S BILL?” He was referring to President Clinton, and he was talking about the Social Security LOCKBOX that was only popular with the GOP when President Clinton was in office.

            As soon as George the Second took office, the LOCKBOX was totally forgotten.

      • elw

        Mike, the only way Social Security would go bankrupt is if the government could not collect taxes or if no American tax payer was working. It is a stupid thing to say and is nothing more than empty Republican rhetoric and a result of them signing the Norquist “no more taxes pledge”; I personally am very bothered by law makers who sign a pledge to a private citizen about how they will respond to taxing policies before they are even in office. I call that being bought and a conflict of interest. The truth is there are many things that can be done to stabilize and extend all the Social Insurance programs without destroying them. I know that my payroll taxes were increased three times during my career, to ensure that the program would be here when I retired. I paid my way, it is time for the younger generation to pay their’s. Once more, anyone who would suggest using any budget of Bush the younger is pretty much living in a dream world, especially considering that it was his policies that destroyed the booming economy he inherited when he was voted into office by the Supreme Court.

        • plc97477

          not voted, appointed

          • elw

            I stand corrected, you are right

        • Mike

          You are incorrect. Sadly, I dont have enough room or time to rebutt

          ——————————

          • elw

            But the question is would the rebut be factual or made-up fanaticizes?

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        Social Security is solvent and depends strictly on FICA contributions. The only thing we need to do to keep it solvent for decades to come is raise the contribution cap from $106K to $250K or more. Social Security has been a success story since it was created. Millions of senior citizens have benefitted from it, and many depend on it to survice.
        MEDICAID is a program designed to help the poor, and pay for the cost of nursing care for seniors who cannot afford to go to a private institution due to financial constraints. Short of implementing Sarah’s death panels and advocating euthanasia that is the only viable solution at the moment. If you can think of something better, please let us know.
        MEDICARE funding shortages were aggravated by the 2003 Part D reform signed by George W. Bush. Do you honestly believe that senior citizens who depend on a $1,200 SS check to survive can pay $700 a month for COBRA or some private insurance program? Again, if you know of a better way to provide senior citizens with the pensions and healthcare they need, please let us know. We are all ears.
        Regarding Obamacare, it will made the deficits worse only if Congress and/or States erect obstacles to ensure it fails. Adding 40 million new people to the for-profit insurance ranks should, in theory, result in lower premiums for everyone.
        The insurance industry is likely to benefit from Obamacare, which is why they remain silent on this issue. Obviously, it is also a moral issue inasmuch as it would result in 40 million uninsured Americans getting the preventive care they need to remain healthy, which usually results in lower long term costs. I would have preferred a single payer system, or something similar to the healthcare systems in the UK, Scandinavian countries and in other industrialized nations, not only because those systems are more effective and include everyone, but because they would result in lower operating costs for corporations, which would make them more competitive. I do, however, understand that dramatic changes such as this can only be achieved incrementally and, therefore, I embrace Obamacare regardless of its flaws, which can be remedied as time goes by.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

        IF!!!!! The United States actually honored the IOU’s for Social Security, there would be no problem with funding.

        Remember, those funds were “BORROWED” from Social Security in order to “balance” budgets for the last 30 years or more.

        A more logical solution would be to lift the cap on the amount subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. At least that way, the people who benefited the most from the tax cuts that got us into this mess in the first place would actually have a hand in providing the funds that were borrowed in order to fund those tax cuts.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

          You tell pretty good fairtales – no such thing ever happened. What old wives have you been listening to??? No monies collected as FICA contributions have been used for anything other than pay SS benefits or to invest in the SS Fund. The SS fund does not have ‘IOU’s – the fund consists of nothing but US Treasury Bonds (with a current value of 2.7 trillion, projected to grow to 3 trillion by 2021) just like every other fund in the government that holds monies intended for some long term purpose. (If you don’t believe that, do a search on: Social Security Fund Raiding 3 big myths and read the report.)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

        To start with to the ones of us that paid into SS 40 or more years SS is not an entitlement, an entitlement is the welfare money rich companies and corporations get every year while not paying any taxes, the free cars that Congress gets while in office, the airfare that the taxpayers pay for the members of Congress to fly home and back once or more times a week, since most of them don’t bring their families with them to DC anymore and the money for airfare for Congressional members to fly from DC or from their homes to campaign for a party member in another state. Medicare is not an entitlement seniors pay an insurance premium every month for the health insurance,when you pay for something each month then that is not an entitlement. Another fact about SS and babyboomers is that starting in1981, we paid 2/3 more in SS because according to Reagan it help the fund when there be fewer people working to pay into SS and give us a better retirement because that 2/3% increase was suppose to be for us only. It is not our fault that Reagan turned around put Social Security in the general funds and used it and other money from SS to make his trickle look like it was working. Also it is not our fault of that every president and members of Congress has treat the SS fund like their own personal piggy bank, taking money out, leaving an IOU for some pork project and never paying the money back. Collect from the government the money owned to the Social Security fund and there would no shortage of funds. Cut or stop the money that we give to other countries as foreign aide. Why are we giving Israel $300,000,ooo.oo a year in the way of money and weapons when their economic situation is better than ours? If we combined departments that whose duties are similar or the same we would cut spending, instead of each branch of the military buying their office supplies and other stuff separately,combine all buying of supplies to one central purchasing unit and get bids from different companies for the supplies ect instead awarding contracts to what company is owed a favor by some member of Congress.

    • middleclasstaxpayer

      Only in America could people who believe in balancing the budget & sticking to the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”

      I do agree, however, with merging gov’t agencies, freezing salaries of civil servants, cutting salaries of ALL elected officials & moving their retirement plans to SS & medicare, just like the rest of us have.

      • Progressive Patriot

        Mike, I’m with you on balancing the budget. The question is how? We HAVE been subjected to massive entitlement spending, however that’s not what it’s been called in the corporate media. We’re talking about two unfunded wars and all of the grants to the military industrial complex (over ten years worth). We’re talking about “Free Trade,” policies that have paid corporations to take jobs overseas. Allowing for tax reductions for capital gains. Tax refunds to the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. Entitlements to banks and financial institutions that were too big to fail (bail outs), while they handed themselves massive bonuses to reward their failure. On and on it goes… Crop subsidies, corporate jets, yachts, reductions and elimination of regulations meant to protect our health and children… all the while moaning about supports that working people have contributed to all of their working lives.
        We are the least mobile of the advanced nations. The middle and working classes are exhausted. They have given and sacraficed for 30 years, and yet we continue to be vilified in the corporate media. Our wages have been squeezed or reduced or eliminated. Our voting rights are under attack. Our voices in the workplace are being suppressed… all the while, the rich and corporations (represented best by the GOP), continue to have it better and better.
        Even the Supreme Court is not in full agreement as to just what is constitutional and what is not. What are you referring to when you are talking about sticking to the constitution?
        Do you really think that the 1%’s continued grab of wealth and power is good for the country? Only in America could people who are concerned with fairness, and sticking to the constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
        A strong democracy needs and healthy and dynamic middle class.

        Move to Amend!

        • middleclasstaxpayer

          Amendment accepted…you made some excellent points! Thx.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        Nobody disagrees with the need to balance the budget, stop borrowing, and stop accumulating debt. Where we disagree is on the best approach to achieve those goals.
        The problem with the sequester, which at first glance appear benign if you think it is limited to a 2.4% reduction, is that since it exempts Social Security and MEDiCAID, it is more in the neighborhood of 7%. Even if its immediate impact is relatively benign, its long term impact on the ability of our government to invest in infrastructure, R&D, new technologies, and education are far from being inconsequential.
        The saddest part is that it did not have to happen. After 3 years of continuous demands for spending cuts in lieu of tax increases for the wealthy, the GOP took advantage of the ceiling debt fiasco in 2011 to demand concessions in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. That gave birth to the sequester approach. A few weeks ago, what was unthinkable in 2011, became a reality when the GOP refused to close loopholes and terminate unnecessary subsidies. They used the sequested as a wedge issue to get more concessions on social program spending reductions from the administration. When those concessions did not materialize, the sequester became a reality.
        A game of brinkmanship influenced by partisanship and ideology backfired and we are now dealing with a problem that is likely to dwarf the recent fiscal cliff fiasco. The basic problem is the intransigence, fueled by political considerations, that prevents our lawmakers from pursuing what they know is best for our country.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

          Like your comment except the part about “nobody disagrees with the need to blance the budget” – I do. Balanced budgets and federal governments don’t mix for two reasons – focusing on balancing a budget is nothing more than allowing congress to play the GOP’s game of Rob Peter to Pay Paul as a way to solve every problem the government faces – like wanting to cut social security or medicaid or some program that supports needy people to pay for fixing a disaster like Sandy or Katrina. No single segment of our people or any worthwhile project should suffer to pay for something everyone in the country should be responsible for fixing. Using debt in these kinds of situations creates one other beneficial Federal Government function – providing an ultra safe place for investors to put their money – AKA US Treasury Bonds. The GOPs obsession with balancing our budget is a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not saying a federal government shouldn’t focus on prudent budgetting – but being obsessed with balancing the budget is pure nonsense. This is just one more example of why you can’t run a federal government like a house or a corporation. Being self contained entities, they have the ability to pick and choose which function in their house or company is going to suffer to pay for a disaster; it’s not fair to do that kind of thing with a federal government – it just gives irresponsible legislators the right to play rob peter to pay paul.

    • alumahead

      I’ve read many of your posts and you always have a level head. Why are you not running for or in office somewhere?

      • joeham1

        Alumahead, don’t be fooled by Dominick. The sequester was guaranteed by the president’s lack of negotiation skills. He demanded another tax increase (we just had one 660 billion 6 weeks ago.) he knew the right would not do it again, he also knew that he could use it as a political football to try and blame the right. The sequester amount is one month of our current annual deficit.

        If the right wants less spending and won’t agree to tax increases, the left says they are for the rich. In the mean time we have 6 trillion in new deficits in 4 years. I personally think that much in new deficits would be fine if unemployment was 5.5% and we had 3% growth. The facts however show that the economy is not improving and unemployment is not getting better.

        Both Parties are to blame not just one!

        • alumahead

          I’m not fooled by anyone. Nearly everyone agrees the sequester was never supposed to happen regardless of whose idea it was. And yes, both parties went along with it as the super committee (not so super) was supposed to come to agreement, so both parties can take some of the blame.

          But, to say both parties are equally to blame for slow growth or other problems we face doesn’t ring true for me. First, the tax increase was not an increase, but an expiration of a policy that was slated to end two years ago and was a major driver to our debt. Very recently Boehner was open to revenue increases through closing loopholes. Now he’s dug in his heels.

          Those loopholes are part of the reason more money is siphoned to the top. Taxes are still at 50 year lows. Most Americans agree that we can’t cut our way out of this and the top earners are not contribution a fair share. As a result, the middle class is shrinking and inequality has never been higher.

          Republicans took over the House in the 2010 midterms in part because they ran on jobs, then attached abortion riders to everything, knowing they’d never see the light of day. In the mean time, McConnell was in the Senate filibustering everything that came down the pipe in his bid to make Obama a one termer. He continues that tactic to this day. Therefore, I see blame for both parties and Obama, but I certainly blame the Republicans more for lack of growth.

          • droptheBS

            the tax increase was not an increase, but an expiration of a policy that was slated to end two years ago …

            No matter how you dress it, taxes went up. Politicians are so afraid to admit truth it takes a ruling by the SCOTUS to say a tax is a tax, even if you call it a penalty.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

          The so called tax raise on 1 January 2013 wasn’t a tax raise. That money came about because the Bush 2 taxcuts that were suppose to expire in 2010 was finally allowed to expire for the rich. If that had happened in 2010 the Country would be in better condition today.
          No Joe the voters say the Republicans are for the rich because they will not go along with stopping corporate welfare to companies and corporations that post millions and billons in profits yet do not pay any taxes. We see people like the Koch brother, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryman, and most of the members of Congress that are worth millons either pay less in taxes percentage wise than their secretaries do or don’t pay any taxes at all because of all the tax loopholes that is in the tax code which the Republicans fight to keep open after saying that they would close tax loopholes, the only tax loopholes they have tried to close are the few loopholes that the middle class and working poor have. There are many more reasons and things that the Republican party do that has given them two nicknames, the party of no and the party for the rich. Yes both parties are the reason for the sequester, Republicans 98% and the Democrats 2%.

    • idamag

      Absolutely! There are those greedy corporations are salivating over the prospect of privatized, Social Security. schools, post office, and any other government service. Their lackies are fighting to give them what they want.

      Our state has privatiazed the prison system and we have periodic new scandals.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    There was no way the GOP was going to allow men like the Koch billionaires to be forced to pay 30% tax rates. Mind you, these are the same men who have helped escalate over $33 trillion in unpaid taxes in offshore tax free havens for decades now.

    The GOP was not going to allow corporations who rely solely on help from taxpayers to pay their bills while they stuff their record profits into their salaries, bonuses and perks. Their salaries NEVER stagnate. They get an annual increase every year all while they help themselves to our tax dollars, our infrastructure is aging and crumbling and our most vulnerable citizens are savaged by price gouging of the most disgusting kind.

    If Americans cannot see the noose the 1% and Corporate Welfare State has tied around the necks of individual taxpayers, this will make it far easier to remodel a government of the people, for the people, by the people into a for profit corporation with a CEO and Executive board making all the “chief decisions.” What does that make the rest of us? Low paid employees with no benefits, not future growth of our incomes and no hope that we can EVER get ahead no matter how many more jobs we cobble together to earn what one American job paid in the 1970s.

  • lana ward

    The WH made Woodward take his his statement back just as they make all who expose them take it back. Lanny Davis is now saying the WH threatened him too!!! Lets see if the WH makes him take it back too!!!!

    • awakenaustin

      Troll.

      • lana ward

        Obama ass licker

        • roguerunners

          NEXT ALREADY!

        • whodatbob

          Lana you were doing ok. Don’t get upset and go off track!

          • lana ward

            Omuslims mask is coming off! People are finally seeing through him and what he is doing! FINALLY!!

          • 4sanity4all

            Stop with the insulting name for the President.

          • lana ward

            George W Bush

        • 4sanity4all

          Stop with the dirty language.

    • roguerunners

      NEXT!

    • 4sanity4all

      Woodword himself said he was not really threatened, after the full statement in context came out. He made it sound like a threat by taking only part of the statement out of context, in the tradition of Faux news that you are so enamoured of.

      • lana ward

        Woodward was threatened. The WH made him take it back

  • montanabill

    Memo to National Memo: quit searching the weird blog sites for your lame news and get the real, verified news. News flash: Woodward is an old style reporter who actually verifies his stories and doesn’t leave out pertinent information. This world could use a lot more of the old style, actual reporters.

    A factual account of exactly what the White House proposes to resolve the sequester he proposed and signed. Let’s see. Obama wants more revenues (duh). He refused to accept the power to determine how best to apply the cuts (that would make him responsible for something). After days of warning of utter disaster, he now says, it really won’t be an apocalypse. But he needs to talk to Maxine Waters.

    Just how in the world are we expected to have a government get by on just a 2% increase in already outrageous spending? We will have more people lose their jobs than are actually working. (by Maxine Waters numbers)

    • highpckts

      Verifies news?? From who?? Woodward, who hasn’t been significant since Watergate! He just wanted his 15 min. of fame again! Boehner wanted the seuester just as much when he said he got 98% of what he wanted and now he can just sit on his butt!!

      • montanabill

        Do your homework.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UHE4MJP5FHMFIEAOGEQHETUGDQ Rvn_sgt6768

      ol’ three card monty the troll here again. Thought you had ridden off into the sunset (please, please).

  • latebloomingrandma

    Boehner went on Meet the Press and LIED. He looked at David Gregory and stated flatly that the president had no plan. Gregory countered him on that and he just gave a weasly answer. Plus, he said that the House already voted twice on their plan, it was now up to the Senate. Those 2 votes were in the previous congress, and would need resubmitted for a vote in the present congress. I just can’t believe this guy is the Speaker of the House.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      What’s really sad commentary is that a completely clueless mental incompetent like John Boehner is the best thing that the GOP can come up with as Speaker of the House. Do many Americans realize that this gutless, shiftless individual is 3rd in line to be president??

      • plc97477

        makes your skin crawl doesn’t it?

    • plc97477

      I have a hard time seeing him as even human.

    • 4sanity4all

      Look at Boehners eyes. Sagging, half-mast, dark bags underneath. Looks like he’s been hitting the sauce. That would explain a lot.

  • David Turrentine

    it is a shame that Republicans cannot give a damn about the poor and middle class people of this country. No one is any good except a rich son-of-a-bitch to a Republican.

  • clarenceswinney

    BLAME CLINTON
    A writer, Gaius Publis, wrote in the Smirking Chimp an article trying to transfer Bush Disastrous Economy onto Clinton past policies.
    It will not work. The numbers are real:
    Bush 8 budgets took an 1800B Budget to 3500B or an 80% increase: a Surplus to a 1400B Deficit:
    a 5800B Debt to 11,900 or 112% increase; 237,000 net jobs per month to 31,000; peace to two wars ; a tax cut, primrialy, for top incomes and borrowed 1900B that helped the rich get richer instead of paying our bills. Bush 8 gave us the Great Recession. Unemployment at 10%.
    It will take years to recover fully. Good paying jobs. Full employment.-Tax wealth to pay down that debt. In 2011, top 1% got 91% of income increase. Tax them they are the ones with the incomes/wealth that can afford it. Get rid of the Koch Tea Party in the House.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UHE4MJP5FHMFIEAOGEQHETUGDQ Rvn_sgt6768

    I believe the reason Boehner missed this little item was that he had one of his “blackouts: from binge drinking and Cantor whispered his version of how we wanted tings to appear and so this is what Boehner has been spouting. Of his 22 years in Congress Boehner has probably missed a large part of it this way. When I look into Cantor’s face I see the hate in his eyes and the knife in his hand ready to strike in his bid for power. The other ones like the “Riddler” Ryan who has the look as if he just filled his pants with a mess and got away (he thinks anyway) with blaming it on some Democrat are not even worth considering.

  • TheOldNorthChurch

    The Sequester highlights clearly that the only way to win against an ever expanding intrusive Federal Government is to force its reduction across the board.

    Sequester 1, was a win in reducing the rate of increase. Government spending is still increasing.

    Sequester 2, must target an across the board reduction in the Baseline Budget of 2%. It should be targeted at Top Level spending and allow the administrators of all programs determine where the cuts will take place. Keep in mind this is all spending. All spending is discretionary.

    We are still not solving America’s long term problem which is Social Security and Medicare.

    Myth #1 – I paid into these funds and therefore I am entitled to them.

    Fact #1 – I paid for those on Social Security and Medicare for the last 30 years and so I need future workers to do the same.

    Proof #1 – If no one pays another dollar into Social Security the Trust Fund would only last 3.7 years, Medicare Trust Fund would only last 7 months. Average person on these systems needs twenty years of support.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGC4BGWVYXV76PHZBPSPOOU5GA Independent1

      Sorry, but government spending has been decreasing for the past 3 years – and for the first time that’s been done since Truman reduced spending for three straight years after WWII. Obama has reduced the 1.6 trillion in deficit spending Bush passed him to 1.1 trillion in deficits for the 2011-12 year – that’s a 1/2/trillion reduction within 3 years. Any faster reduction in spending would have thrown the country back into recession. Desite John Boehner’s constant nonsense. SPENDING IS NOT THE PROBLEM!!!!

      The problem lies in more than 1 trillion in deficit revenues because GOP has refused to help get the country rolling again as quickly as it could have if they had passed at least one of the two jobs bills Obama sent to the House. The American Jobs Act (see it at whitehouse dot gov), will create millions of jobs across the country in many different areas if the GOP nitwits in the House would stop what I think are their treasonous actions, and pass the bill (treasonous because what they’re doing is just as detrimental to America as someone who passes military secrets to the enemy which some have paid for with their lives during my lifetime). Cutting spending would have a reverse effect by increasing the deficit. How, by throwing the country back into recession (just like virtually every country in Europe); which will create more unemployment and lower tax revenues, which would require more cuts in spending, and on and on in a downward spiral. Sound familiar?? That’s exactly what happend in the early 1930s under Hoover which eventually led to the Big Depression. Did the GOP learn from it?? They created it back then. So apparently they don’t learn much from the disasters that they create. Which is virtually all the party has done for the past 80 years – create one disaster after another (except for a brief respite in the 1950s while Eisenhower was in office).

      • TheOldNorthChurch

        Your incorrect. Spending 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 = 3803.4B, 3795.6B, 3603.1B, 3456.2B. In 2007 Federal Spending = 2728.7B

        The Obama programs implemented in 2009 & 2010 simply didn’t work. Federal spending to stimulate the economy beyond a very short term has never worked.

        • 4sanity4all

          Stop listening to Fox news, and read some factual figures. YOU are incorrect.

          • TheOldNorthChurch

            The numbers are not from Fox News, they are from the CBO! Should I not listen to them either? Provide your facts and there source or is the truth just to hard to face?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

        The jobs act for Vets was a Republican member of the House idea and who pushed it for it to be passed. It wasn’t pass because the Republicans thought by helping vets get jobs the President would look good so they voted against a Republican member’s bill.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

      Since 1981 when Reagan started his trickle down policy, baby boomers have paid 2/3% more into Social Security they were suppose to.,
      The increase in SS funds were suppose to help keep the workers of today from having to pay a lot more in SS taxes to pay our SS payments and the 2/3% extra was suppose to be put in the fund in away so that the extra SS taxes would make the baby boomers retirement better. But what Reagan did was to turn around and put the extra SS money and the rest of the SS funds into the general funds and use it and other SS money to make it look like his trickle down policy. He did this on the advise of Alan Greenspan who told him no one would know the money was gone until 30 years later(which would be the time that the largest number of baby boomers would retire) and what would it matter then. Well it matters a whole lot. Since we did pay into Social Security for 40 or more years, in which we paid 2/3 % more that we required by law for 20 or more years. Part of the money that we paid into SS was for the people that were already on SS and the other part was to toward our SS and the extra we paid was suppose to be for our SS retirement payment only. So TheOld North Church the truth is I did pay into SS for over 40 years and paid extra SS taxes for over 20 years, therefore the SS check I get each each month made up of mostly of money that I and other baby boomers paid into SS during our working years. So if Congress wants to cut entitlements why don’t they start by stop giving rich companies and corporation welfare and who in most cases do not pay any taxes at all and close loopholes that allow the rich to pay very low taxes or no taxes because of the loopholes in the tax code that seems to have been written only for the rich, and cut perks and benefits that Congress has given themselves over the years.

      • TheOldNorthChurch

        You need to do a little more research. Here are the facts:

        There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been “put into the general fund of the government.”

        Most likely this question comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the “unified budget.”

        While the Tax Rate was increased during Reagan to solve the issue of the eighties, it still does not solve the issue of today. What is the solution? Increasing taxes or changing eligibility ages? What if we went back to the original concept of the OASDI was all about?

  • alumahead

    I’ve got far more respect for Ezra Klein than Bob Woodward and none for the House GOP. The House GOP doesn’t even try to hide their charade any more. Saying no to everything and being willfully ignorant is just too easy for them.

    • plc97477

      Hopefully, it will hurt in the elections.

  • empiremed

    WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The Obama administration has incorrectly stated on three separate occasions the effect of the $85 billion in sequester cuts.

    CBS News reports that the statements came over the past 10 days.

    The first time came Feb. 24 when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on “Face the Nation” that teachers were getting fired because of the cuts.

    “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,” Duncan said. He later backtracked, saying he “misspoke” when no evidence was found to his claim.

    When President Obama held a press conference about the sequester cuts on Friday, the president said that janitors at the U.S. Capitol would have to receive a pay cut. CBS News reports that Carlos Elias, the superintendent of the U.S. Capitol building and the Capitol Visitors Center, had to email his employees after Obama’s statement saying it wasn’t true.

  • BDC_57

    Wonder how many times he came to drunk?

  • joeham1

    The problem with Dominick is he is a white house staffer. Anyone who can constantly lie and say the things Dominick says knowing they aren’t true is a total partison. The crap that the GOP protects the rich and the dems protect the poor and middle class is obviously bull!
    The president wanted the sequester for something else to blame on the GOP. He and the GOP had 18 months to work something out. He negotiated on the last day for 7 minutes. He demanded more tax increases and they said no! Thank God! 6 weeks ago the President got the GOP to raise taxes 660 billion. He knew for sure they wouldn’t raise them again. Not to protect the rich but to protect the economy. Dominick’s lies about cutting SS, medicare, and other social programs is his white house paid attempt to lie to stupid people. The Government accounting office just came out with 260 billion wasted or duplicated programs by the federal government in 2012. If we need more revenue that would be the best place to get it. If the president really cared about anything but “GETTING” the right we might have more jobs or less then a trillion a year in deficits. It’s time to wake up people! Hacks like Dominick know the truth. But they will never stop demonizing the right!

    Now Dominick will even demonize Bob Woodward a loyal and faithful Democrat just because he disagrees with Obama! The white house threatened him and the media calls him washed up! We have the most dangerous man in the white house that we have ever had!

  • YeOldCodger

    Yes.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LN7AKHBWP73KEGKSNYDPQEXRSE Mike

    Heck, I think I am on your side. You certainly get it.

    Good stuff.

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