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Old 01-24-2013, 10:50 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The Sequester and/or Government Shutdown Approacheth

Anybody else ****ing fed up with this shit? 2013: Year of the Cliff.

Sequester hits March 1st. Government shutdown hits March 27th.

Here's the conversation on the fiscal cliff. Here's the conversation on the debt ceiling (which we'll be returning to by May... sigh).

The White House discusses the entirety of the impact in post 136. It's devastating.

Here's the FAQ on the sequester (from September):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ter-explained/

The sequester, explained
Posted by Suzy Khimm
on September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The White House has released its plan explaining how the sequester’s mandatory spending cuts to defense and domestic spending will be implemented in 2013. Here’s the background on what the sequester is, how it happened and what happens from here:

What is the sequester?

It’s a package of automatic spending cuts that’s part of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011. The cuts, which are projected to total $1.2 trillion, are scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, evenly divided over the nine-year period. The cuts are also evenly split between defense spending — with spending on wars exempt — and discretionary domestic spending, which exempts most spending on entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid, as the Bipartisan Policy Center explains. The total cuts for 2013 will be $109 billion, according to the new White House report.

Under the BCA, the cuts were triggered to take effect beginning Jan. 1 if the supercommittee didn’t to agree to a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package by Nov. 23, 2011. The group failed to reach a deal, so the sequester was triggered.

Why does everyone hate the sequester so much?

Legislators don’t have any discretion with the across-the-board cuts: They are intended to hit all affected programs equally, though the cuts to individual areas will range from 7.6 percent to 9.6 percent (and 2 percent to Medicare providers). The indiscriminate pain is meant to pressure legislators into making a budget deal to avoid the cuts.

How would these cuts affect the country?

Since the details just came out, it’s not entirely clear yet. But many top defense officials have warned that the cuts will lead the military to be “hollowed out.” Democratic legislators have similarly warned about the impact on vital social programs. And defense, health care and other industries that are significantly dependent on federal spending say that major job losses will happen if the cuts end up taking effect.

At the same time, if legislators try to avoid the sequester without replacing it with real deficit reduction, the U.S. could face another credit downgrade.

Why did Congress and the White House agree to the sequester in the first place?

The government was approaching its debt limit, which needed to be raised through a congressional vote or else the country would default in early August 2011. While Democrats were in favor of a “clean” vote without strings attached, Republicans were demanding substantial cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.

President Obama and congressional leaders ultimately agreed to the BCA, which would allow the debt ceiling to be raised by $2.1 trillion in exchange for the establishment of the supercommittee tied to the fall-back sequester, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explains. The deal also includes mandatory spending reductions on top of the sequester by putting caps on non-entitlement discretionary spending that will reduce funding by $1 trillion by 2021.

Who supported the debt-ceiling deal?

Party leaders, the White House and most members of Congress supported the debt-ceiling deal: The BCA passed on a 268-161 vote in the House, with about one-third of House Republicans and half of House Democrats opposing it. It passed in the Senate, 74-26, with six Democratic senators and 19 Republican senators opposing it.

Can the sequester be avoided?

Yes, but only if Congress passes another budget deal that would achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Both Democrats and Republicans have offered proposals to do so, but there still isn’t much progress on a deal. The political obstacles are the same as during the supercommittee negotiations: Republicans don’t want to raise taxes to generate revenue, while Democrats are reluctant to make dramatic changes to entitlement programs to achieve savings.

What happens from here?

No one on Capitol Hill thinks any deal will happen before Election Day. After Nov. 6, Congress will have just a few weeks to come up with an alternative to the sequester. The challenge is complicated by the fact that the Bush tax cuts, the payroll tax, unemployment benefits and a host of other tax breaks are all scheduled to expire Dec. 31. The cumulative impact of all of these scheduled cuts and changes is what’s popularly known as the fiscal cliff. There’s already talk of passing a short-term stopgap budget plan during the lame-duck session to buy legislators more time to come up with a grand bargain.

Last edited by Direckshun; 02-09-2013 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:35 PM   #16
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
It kind of makes me laugh that people argue with a straight face that we need to raise taxes and give more money to these jokers.
This.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
It kind of makes me laugh that people argue with a straight face that we need to raise taxes and give more money to these jokers.
Amazing, isn't?
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:51 PM   #19
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If the R's don't want to close all the corporate welfare loopholes like
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end tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas,
no taxes on American companies running casinos in Asia etc. .......... then let the sequester happen.
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I'm not saying it's morally right or wrong, but does it make the child because of it? Think about that for a second.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:01 PM   #20
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Klein ****ing nails it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-theyre-wrong/

Republicans think the sequester gives them leverage. They’re wrong.
Posted by Ezra Klein
on January 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Now that Republicans have delayed the debt ceiling for three months, their next point of attack, they say, are the deep spending cuts in the so-called “sequester.” House Speaker John Boehner told the Wall Street Journal editorial board that the sequester is “as much leverage as we’re going to get.” He meant that to sound reassuring to conservatives. But I can’t figure out why they’re reassured.

The problem with the GOP’s plan to use the sequester as leverage is evident as soon as you stop using the vague term “sequester” and instead call the policy what it is: A bunch of very dumb — but extremely Democrat-friendly — spending cuts.

To understand the problem Republicans are going to have using the sequester as leverage, you need to understand the bargain they made when they created it. The policy dates to the final days of the 2011 debt-ceiling fight. Both sides realized that the only way out of that mess was to kick the can down the road. So they formed the “supercommittee,” a bipartisan group of legislators charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

The problem with the supercommittee was obvious: If Congress couldn’t agree on a deficit-reduction package, why should the supercommittee have any more luck? The sequester was meant to be the answer to that question: If the supercommittee failed, the sequester would cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion automatically, but it would do it in such a mindless, blunt way that neither party would be able to live with the consequences.

That suggested an obvious design for the sequester: Half taxes, which Republicans hate, and half spending cuts to programs Democrats care about. But Republicans refused to vote for anything with taxes in it — even though the point of policy was for both sides to fear it. So they made a concession to the Democrats: If the sequester was to be all spending cuts — $984 billion, to be exact, which, when added to lower debt payments, totaled $1.2 trillion — then the spending cuts would leave the main Democratic priorities untouched.

And so the sequester doesn’t touch Medicaid, Social Security or Pell grants. It exempts most programs for low-income Americans, like food stamps. Veteran’s benefits are home free, as are federal retirement benefits. Medicare providers see cuts, but Medicare beneficiaries don’t. And fully half of the cuts come from the military — a huge reduction in defense spending that Democrats couldn’t dream about achieving any other way.

That’s not to say Democrats will love the sequester. It slashes deep into everything from the National Institutes of Health to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education to the Environmental Protection Agency. Worse, the cuts are done with a cleaver rather than a scalpel. Rather than giving agencies control over how to apportion the spending cuts, every affected program simply sees the same reduction. Democrats don’t much like that, but given the sequester’s disproportionate focus on the military, it’s even worse for Republicans.

“Both parties dislike the sequester and they should,” says Bob Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “It’s a terrible way to cut budgets. But it’s not clear to me why Democrats would hate it more and back down first relative to Republicans.”

Moreover, policies like the sequester rarely survive for very long. “The truth is we have a very weak record of things like the sequester actually coming to pass,” says Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and the top economic adviser to John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “In the end, the Budget Control Act” — the legislation that created the sequester — “is built on discretionary spending caps. They’re violated more than they’re adhered to.”

This is the kind of perverse policy outcome that’s the consequence of the GOP’s no-tax pledge. They could get a deal from the Obama administration that would cut Medicare and Social Security and all the other spending Republicans want to cut so long as they’d also raise taxes. And they wouldn’t even have to raise tax rates — they could just get rid of loopholes and tax breaks in the code. Instead, they’re threatening to cut the spending they care most deeply about using an unreliable mechanism that was designed to be so objectionable that they’d never let it become law.

But this is the corner they’ve backed themselves into. Having lost an election, and having tied themselves to a no-tax pledge, they’re so desperate for leverage, so desperate for a hostage they can actually shoot, that they’re willing to point the gun at their own head and threaten to pull the trigger.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:58 PM   #21
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Financial Times:

Quote:
Unlike the fiscal cliff deal – which was widely anticipated – the sequester would cause a big hit to 2013 growth forecasts. According to forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, the sequester would knock 0.7 percentage points off growth in 2013, taking its forecast down from 2.6 to 1.9 per cent.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #22
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...y.html?hpid=z1

Deep spending cuts are likely, lawmakers say, with no deal on sequester in sight
By Lori Montgomery
Jan 30, 2013 01:57 AM EST

Less than a month after averting one fiscal crisis, Washington began bracing Tuesday for another, as lawmakers in both parties predicted that deep, across-the-board spending cuts would probably hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies on March 1.

An array of proposals are in the works to delay or replace the cuts. But party leaders say they see no clear path to compromise, particularly given a growing sentiment among Republicans to pocket the cuts and move on to larger battles over health and retirement spending.

Adding to the sense of inevitability is the belief that the cuts, known as the sequester, would improve the government’s bottom line without devastating the broader economy. Though the cuts would hamper economic growth, especially in the Washington region, the forecast is far less dire than with other recent fiscal deadlines, and financial markets are not pressing Washington to act.

Cuts to the military and the defense industry remain politically problematic. But Tuesday, even some of the Pentagon’s most fervent champions seemed resigned to the likelihood that the cuts would be permitted to kick in, at least temporarily.

“I think it’s more likely to happen. And I’m ashamed of the Congress, I’m ashamed of the president, and I’m ashamed of being in this body, quite frankly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), an Air Force Reservist who has been working for months to develop a bipartisan plan to protect the Pentagon.

“How do you go to somebody in the military who’s been deployed four or five times . . . and say, ‘For your good work over the last decade, we’re going to ruin the military; we’re going to make it harder for you to have the equipment you need to fight, and we’re going to reduce benefits to your family?’ ” he said.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was only slightly more optimistic, saying there is a “real” threat that the sequester will strike in March. The odds, he said, are “probably even.”

As the deadline approaches, legions of corporate executives, nonprofit officials, mayors and governors are working the phones and trekking to Capitol Hill in hopes of securing a last-minute deal. Cuts to government contracts have already triggered layoffs, particularly in the defense industry. And agency officials are warning of mass furloughs of government workers that could delay medical research, leave national parks understaffed for the peak vacation season and otherwise disrupt federal operations.

“A lot of people on the Hill see the oncoming train,” said Marion Blakey, president and chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, who led a delegation of chief executives to the Capitol on Tuesday. “We’re going to keep fighting this.”

Origins of the sequester

The sequester is a product of the 2011 fight over the national debt, when the new GOP House majority insisted on spending cuts equal in size to the increase in the federal debt limit. The result: spending caps that would force President Obama to slice $1 trillion from agency budgets over the next decade, along with $1.2 trillion in additional cuts that would hit automatically on Jan. 2, 2013, unless Congress agreed on a plan to replace them.

The sequester was designed to be abhorrent to both parties. With the exception of a few programs spared by Congress — including Medicaid, Medicare benefits and food stamps — every government account would be sliced by roughly the same amount. Many Republicans were queasy about a projected 9.4 percent reduction in military programs. And many Democrats were alarmed by the prospect of a 8.2 percent cut to Head Start, air-traffic-control operations and community development block grants.

Despite the threat, lawmakers riven by larger ideological differences over taxes and spending have not agreed on an alternative plan to generate $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. Late last month, in the throes of negotiations over the “fiscal cliff,” the White House and congressional leaders informed rank-and-file lawmakers that the sequester would kick in on Jan. 2.

That sparked a furious lobbying campaign by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who helped secure a deal to delay the sequester for two months. The White House and congressional leaders agreed to cover half of the $24 billion cost by reducing spending caps even further over the next two years; the other half would come from a tax gimmick that Democrats counted as new revenue.

The agreement eased the impact of the sequester. Instead of lopping nearly $110 billion from agency budgets this year, the cuts will amount to about $85 billion, according to a recent analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Most Pentagon accounts would drop by 7.3 percent, the analysis said, while most domestic agencies would lose 5.1 percent.

Digging in on both sides

But the agreement did little to pave a path for further compromise. Indeed, Obama is now insisting that any fresh debt-reduction measure be evenly balanced between spending cuts and new tax revenue.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Democrats will push to replace the sequester “in short increments” of a few months at a time. But any proposal, he said, “should be a balance of spending cuts and revenue.”

Republicans have ruled out further revenue, saying they will give Obama no more than the roughly $600 billion in new taxes on wealthy Americans that he won in the fiscal cliff talks. Instead, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Republicans will let the sequester kick in, making it easier for them to persuade conservatives to keep the government open when the current funding bill expires March 27.

The sequester “is the only cuts we’ve got right now,” said Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

That would clear the legislative decks for a broad ideological fight centered on a budget framework for 2014. Obama is due to deliver his budget request for the coming fiscal year in early March, with Ryan and Senate Democrats expected to follow with their blueprints in the weeks thereafter.

But there is deep anxiety in both parties about how to proceed. In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is resisting calls from Democratic leaders to raise additional revenue through tax reform. “That has to be resolved,” Baucus said.

And in the House, some veteran GOP lawmakers worry that Ryan’s pledge to wipe out deficits over the next decade will produce a budget so austere it cannot win approval, even among House Republicans — sparking a new internal crisis just as Congress faces its next deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling sometime this summer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:37 AM   #23
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Just for the record, this is why the sequester matters:

The economy shrunk a tad at the tail end of 2012, largely because there were drastic cuts in defense ahead of all the Congressional standoffs that are slated for 2013.

Half the sequester is a big, dumb, immediate cut to defense, by hundreds of billions.

It would almost certainly tank the economy in the near term.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:37 AM   #24
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My suggestion would be for Obama and dems to get their act together and propose something the reps can't refuse.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:41 AM   #25
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
My suggestion would be for Obama and dems to get their act together and propose something the reps can't refuse.
The Democratic Party should propose a Republican solution.

Brilliant. Because that hasn't been tried before.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:30 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
The Democratic Party should propose a Republican solution.

Brilliant. Because that hasn't been tried before.
I said give them an offer they can't refuse, not necessarily what they want.

Reps already caved on taxes. Now its Obama's turn to dance.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:39 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
If the R's don't want to close all the corporate welfare loopholes like
$4billion to oil companies,
farm subsidy's to big corporate farms to not grow anything,
end tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas,
no taxes on American companies running casinos in Asia etc. .......... then let the sequester happen.
Why didn't the Democrats do any of that when they had the House, Senate and White House with a Super Majority?
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:27 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
I said give them an offer they can't refuse, not necessarily what they want.
Ah, offer them rightwing Republican ideas.

Why don't Democrats ever do this!??!
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:28 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
Why didn't the Democrats do any of that when they had the House, Senate and White House with a Super Majority?
They were working on a century-long issue of healthcare reform.

The word is, that's what they're working on now.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:34 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Just for the record, this is why the sequester matters:

The economy shrunk a tad at the tail end of 2012, largely because there were drastic cuts in defense ahead of all the Congressional standoffs that are slated for 2013.

Half the sequester is a big, dumb, immediate cut to defense, by hundreds of billions.

It would almost certainly tank the economy in the near term.
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