In fact, they’re nowhere near as bad as people think, thanks to the fact that (a) we’re talking about a cut of less than ten percent of just this year’s deficit spending and only 2.2% of the overall federal budget in FY2013, and (b) Congress can undo them after they hit anyway. That’s the point of CBS’ web report, although their broadcast report from Scott Pelley and Major Garrett sounded a lot more dire last night:
Lots of warnings are going out now. A few months ago, the same White House tried its best to block those layoff warnings, when the sequester suited them. CBS doesn’t think they’ll matter much, anyway:
But as the U.S. economy careens toward its second “cliff” in two months, realization that a third waits at the base of the crevasse has moved some to observe that while sequestration is far from an ideal way to budget, the darkly-cloaked March 1 is not likely to yield the decade-long nightmare that has attracted handwringing by Democrats and Republicans alike. …
During a discussion Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C., Mr. Obama’s former debt commission co-chairs Erksine Bowles – Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff – and Alan Simpson – a former Republican senator from Wyoming – laid out their proposal to achieve $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Bowles said that Congress is unlikely to coalesce before March 1, but will feel pressure to act once Americans begin to experience the effects of the sequester.
“When you guys have to go out here to [Washington, D.C.’s] Reagan Airport and you have to wait three hours to go through airport security, you are going to be pissed, and so is everyone else,” Bowles said, referring apparently to the sequester’s widespread furloughs expected to impact TSA and FAA workers.
That, by the way, would become an annual problem as Congresses in the future have no requirement to abide by the sequesters anyway. I’ll have more later on the Simpson-Bowles plan and what it means.