The headings of today's e-mail brought it to my mind too, but Congressman Morgan Griffith was closer to the action and called it first: Sequestration will lead to deliberate efforts, from those who'd prefer to raise taxes and spend more money, to use the Washington Monument Ploy, target the most popular uses of federal funding for cuts, "cause pain"...From Morgan Griffith's newsletter:
"The SequesterIn August 2011,
the President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate reached a deal to
raise the debt ceiling and, in exchange for the House agreeing to raise the debt
ceiling, there would be cuts to Washington spending. If an agreement to cut
Washington spending could not be reached, then there would be automatic, blind,
across the board cuts in 2013. These automatic cuts are called
The small group of House and Senate leaders charged with
reaching an agreement by the end of 2011 failed to do so.
tried to avoid the automatic Sequestration cuts by passing smarter, targeted
cuts not once, but twice in 2012. Neither the President or the Senate ever
proposed alternative cuts. To be fair, a few weeks back they came out with a
plan that changed the deal to tax increases and some cuts. But that is not the
deal made in 2011 with the American people and the House.
Now we have
In the first year, the Sequestration cuts are expected
to be roughly $85 billion nationwide, which is approximately 2.3 percent of what
the government spent last year.
Like many of you, I am concerned about
our nation’s debt and am frustrated by Washington’s lack of spending
discipline. I generally don’t care for cutting across the board, and prefer
smarter, targeted cuts instead. Having blind cuts in the deal is one of the
reasons I did not vote for Sequestration in 2011.
officials and some in the media have been speculating on the impact that the
Sequester may have. Some of these speculations seem to be overstated,
overblown, or just plain wrong.
As David Gergen, a former advisor to
Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, wrote last week: “… This sounds
suspiciously like the ‘Washington Monument syndrome’: the tendency of federal
bureaucrats faced with budget cuts to shut down the most visible services first,
causing screams and forcing the cuts to be rescinded.”
Earlier this week
on Jim Bohannon’s America in the Morning radio show on the Dial Global
Radio Network, economist and University of Maryland professor Dr. Peter Morici
said that President Obama “is purposely imposing pain on the American people,”
and that “the President could manage these cuts in a way that this didn’t
happen, because it’s really not all that much money. But he’s choosing to
punish the American people because he’s not getting the [his sic] way. What
we’re seeing is a Presidential tantrum.”
Again, these cuts make up
roughly 2.3 percent of what the government spent last year. In programs where
the President authorizes cuts that may be too severe, we will have to go back
and make targeted cuts elsewhere in order to reinstate the necessary funding.
Among programs I am particularly concerned about are those relating to children
and public safety.
If we have gotten to the point where the federal
government cannot responsibly cut 2.3 percent of spending, then we are worse off
than I thought we were.
Congress must share in the exercise of
tightening our belts. Just since I’ve come to Congress two years ago and with
the Sequester in effect, my office budget will have been cut by nearly 16
percent. I am still able to provide constituent services, perform legislative
duties, and communicate with residents of the 9th District.
As we move
forward, I remain willing to look at smarter, targeted cuts. But the bottom
line is this: we need a disciplined spending reduction plan in order to decrease
our deficits and our more than $16 trillion national debt. Trimming our
deficits and debt will encourage investment in the economy, create jobs, and
lessen the burden on future generations. "