ABC: Devastating sequester cuts? Give me a break!

posted at 8:01 pm on February 22, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

If we lived in a perfect world, it would be Job No. 1 of every single news report on the sequester to give context to the cuts, so Americans know just how huge minuscule they are. Unfortunately, instead of illuminating the numbers, too many reports just regurgitate President Obama’s or Jay Carney’s or Sec. Ray LaHood’s fearmongering.

Is it a sign the theatrics have gone too far that Jon Karl of ABC offers this headline and takedown today? “Devastating sequester cuts? Give me a break!” He starts by poking fun at the melodrama:

The Sky is Falling! Maybe, but it really shouldn’t be.

The Obama administration’s list of what will happen if upcoming spending cuts go into effect is downright terrifying. In recent days, officials have warned of more forest fires, workplace deaths and, heaven-forbid — chicken shortages.

Then:

There’s no doubt that the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on March 1 will cause some real pain and many economists believe they would hurt the economy. But all the dire warnings give the impression the cuts are much larger than they actually are.

Take today’s White House example: The Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation’s budget for 2013 is $74.2 billion. The automatic spending cuts would slice $1 billion out of its budget: that is a cut of less than 1.4 percent.

And consider this: even if the cuts go into effect, the Department of Transportation will spend more money this year ($73.2 billion) than it spent last year ($72.6 billion).

The administration is saying that the Department of Transportation cannot squeeze 1.4 percent of its budget without sending air traffic controllers home and that they cannot find a way to operate effectively this year with a budget that is actually larger than the budget they had last year.

That may be true, but it raises larger questions about the government’s ability to find relatively modest savings without cutting essential services.

If it’s true at the moment, they need to try harder.

Here’s Karl lightly taking LaHood to task for his histrionics:

The public’s aversion to cutting comes partly from a misunderstanding, willfully perpetuated by politicians and usually the press, of the word “cut.” Most Americans would disagree that an increase in year-over-year budget constitutes a devastating “cut,” but they’re rarely informed that in Washington, cut usually means smaller increase than we expected. Thanks to Jon Karl for making the numbers clear while LaHood was clouding them. More, please!

ABC has also compiled this list of 57 Terrible Consequences of the Sequester, which shows at least hint of skepticism while keeping track of the doomsaying.

Speaking of illumination, economist Veronique deRugy has done some with this chart. Click for the large version:

Sequester

She writes at The Corner:

I have said it before, but it bears repeating: Even if sequestration goes through, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that spending will continue to go up over the next ten years, from $3.538 trillion in FY 2012 to $5.939 trillion in FY 2023. Even given inflation and population growth, it’s hard to see these projections as reflective of devastating spending cuts. Also, in FY2023 will be back to running $1 trillion deficit. And that’s before our real fiscal troubles start.

Although this tweet rather succinctly summed up my feelings on the matter this week:


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…where was ABC a year or two ago?

KOOLAID2 on February 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Histrionics-In-Chief.

hillsoftx on February 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM

That graph doesn’t jive with the panic program does it…

workingclass artist on February 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Obama’s sequester..

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM

I haven’t seen numbers on this — is Defense actually getting less money than last year, or is it just a smaller increase?
Does that change when you remove veterans benefits from the figure?

Count to 10 on February 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM

…I think LaHood just plays with whatever is under his hood!

KOOLAID2 on February 22, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Whaddaya mean sequester cuts? Everything is supposed to be free!

- typical moronic Obama voter / Obamaphone – O’crack-o-pipe user

viking01 on February 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Democrats piss me off!

KCB on February 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

The damage is done.

All the LoInFo voters hear is “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

It’s too late to try and ‘educate’ them that, No, it really isn’t.

0 knows who he is targeting, and so does the LSM, and unfortunately, they are winning the war on dumbing down the dumb and dumberers… ;-)

Scrumpy on February 22, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I disagree these cuts are a disaster. People have voted for free stuff and any cuts are like cutting drugs from an addict. No matter how small it hurts.

They can’t afford to cut anything. Increase or die.

CW20 on February 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM

We’re being mugged, and as God is my witness,,, my patience is beyond thread-bare.

wolly4321 on February 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM

I shan’t comment again cuz I am getting that stupid scripting error!

Only when it’s an ABC video… ugh…

Meanwhile: Americae extremis est a summo descendit

Scrumpy on February 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Emergency responders are finished..
Border Patrol agents…finished
FBI agents …finished
Federal prosecutors….finished.
Criminals will be rampage in the streets..
Air traffic controllers….finished
Airport security…..finished
Thousands of teachers and educators….finished
Tens of thousands of parents scrambling to find childcare
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care

44 Billion apparently goes a long way…

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

The damage is done.

All the LoInFo voters hear is “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

It’s too late to try and ‘educate’ them that, No, it really isn’t.

0 knows who he is targeting, and so does the LSM, and unfortunately, they are winning the war on dumbing down the dumb and dumberers… ;-)

Scrumpy on February 22, 2013 at 8:13 PM

The best cure for that is to let it happen, and then point out that the sky hasn’t fallen after everyone survives.

Count to 10 on February 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Who would have ever thought we’d see the leader of the free world acting like a histrionic 16 year old girl?

ButterflyDragon on February 22, 2013 at 8:18 PM

I wonder what we get for a Trillion…

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:19 PM

The public’s aversion to cutting comes partly from a misunderstanding, willfully perpetuated by politicians and usually the press, of the word “cut.”

Including nominally conservative editorialists, such as those at this very website.

Fenris on February 22, 2013 at 8:20 PM

MKH: you clearly aren’t drinking enough kool-aid…

/

Khun Joe on February 22, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Trolls have been quiet. Expect them on Day 1SQ.

itsspideyman on February 22, 2013 at 8:23 PM

I wonder what we get for a Trillion…

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Big Bird fricasse.

katy the mean old lady on February 22, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Stimulus = $800 Billion. Didn’t create jobs. White House creates new phrase. Stimulus created or “saved” 400,000 – 900,000 jobs (reports vary). Sequester oh so slightly reduces spending increases in the future. THERE ARE NO CUTS. Yet… Sequester will cause 800,000 Pentagon layoffs/furloughs. No more chicken, airport delays, no EMTs to answer emergencies, and on, and on, and on

drivingtheview on February 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Hi Ken, Hi Scrumpy, Hi EG

….evening all

Scrumpy I get that too on the ABC video threads. No idea why. I have an issue with the Rs for not getting the “message” out but I blame the MSM more. It is their job to speak truth to power. They only do that when there is an R in the White House and only on “their” issues.

CoffeeLover on February 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

CoffeeLover on February 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Good evening..

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:28 PM

The UK was downgraded today; how much longer before we’re downgraded again…

CoffeeLover on February 22, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Who would have ever thought we’d see the leader of the free world acting like a histrionic 16 year old girl?

ButterflyDragon on February 22, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Who would have thought that the media wouldn’t call him on it.

Sequestration = Party like it is 2011. We are still spending more than we did last year and the rat-eared bastard and his cadre of fellow travelers call it cuts.

Somebody should have asked Ray LaHood when he “happened” to show up at the White House “press” briefing to talk about furloughing air traffic controllers what it is about sequestration that he can’t run his department within the budget he had two years ago. But instead the “press” is predicting planes falling out of the skies as a result of a 2.2% decrease in government spending. Really really pathetic.

Happy Nomad on February 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

I don’t think if a drunk who drinks 48 beers a day has to cut back to 47 beers a day he will run a very big risk of the devastation of sobering up.

VorDaj on February 22, 2013 at 8:34 PM

It’s already proving a hardship for the military at unit level. Right now.

Flying hour programs cut more than half. Operational funds are a fraction of recent years budgets. Soldiers on guard stations again at installation entry points. DACs and GS jobs in the aviation field affiliated with military contracts are going to take a beating. Green suiters being expected to run simulations centers that used to be run by contractors. Just to name a few.

It’s already happening. But this is what everyone wanted, right?

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Good evening CL!

KCB on February 22, 2013 at 8:38 PM

It’s like a Tucson city council meeting writ large.

Don’t want to raise taxes? Fine. Kiss police and fire goodbye. We want your guns. And we are funding more “art” projects. More “infrastructure” projects like bike lanes in the city with luner crater potholes….

And on progressives roll.

Seven pos dems run Tucson. Micro DC. Same shite.

wolly4321 on February 22, 2013 at 8:40 PM

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

So does this mean the military won’t rescue Americans under assault from muslims for hours anymore? If so, what is the change?

VorDaj on February 22, 2013 at 8:42 PM

It’s already happening. But this is what everyone wanted, right?

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

At this point it is probably well beyond the point of what anybody wants. The expanding debt is going to have to be dealt with and that will mean massive cuts everywhere. It will be worse because they will keep putting it off for as long as they can, increasing the amount of damage that will be done.

sharrukin on February 22, 2013 at 8:43 PM

What continues to remain unsaid by everyone is that the $800 BILLION stimulus is now part of the budget every single year!

So, the sequester is a 10% cut to a 33% increase in federal spending.

I’d like to return spending to where it would have been without the stimulus and then start cutting.

This Chicken Little routine is total BS.

But thanks to the media blackout the public doesn’t know that the stimulus is baked into the budget.

Charlemagne on February 22, 2013 at 8:44 PM

It’s already happening. But this is what everyone wanted, right?

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

DoD took the bulk of the hit because Dems hate the military. They thought it a win-win situation. Either the GOP cave to raising taxes or they get to gut the military quicker than they had hoped. This was supposed to be the firewall that made the GOP cave and agree to tax the rich.

As it stands, the civilian employees of the DoD are being forced into a 20% reduction in wages (while most agencies remain untouched). Contracts will be cancelled or not renewed. Maintenance and flight/steaming hours reduced to bare minimum. Exercises cancelled.

But hey! Not all bad news. I’m sure that the Air Force, Secret Service, and other organizations have more than enough money to finance the Obama family vacations. Including the million it costs so that one of the worthless Obama brats can go with her fellow liberal schoolmates on Spring Break trips to other nations.

Happy Nomad on February 22, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Even Bob Woodward is calling 0bama & Co. Liars on this subject.

I find it interesting that all the cuts that LaHood and other czars are threatening are the ones that actually do any work.
No administrative, executive or bureaucratic cuts are going to be made, only the ones who deal with the public; only the ones who do anything vaguely worthwhile.

The Czars and Emperor 0bama are intentionally punishing the peasants so that they will force their (supposed) representatives to give The Punk what he wants.

But I bet that no more than a few of the Repubicans will actually make any effort to tell their constituents the truth of what is happening.

LegendHasIt on February 22, 2013 at 8:45 PM

I heard the list this afternoon. My first thought was “isn’t this a glaring admission that the federal government is unable to perform all the tasks it’s assumed?”

If I went to my boss and said here’s a list of things I won’t do anymore because I didn’t get a raise, I’d get laughed at and then canned. Why do liberals so readily admit their own incompetence?

Lost in Jersey on February 22, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Seven pos dems run Tucson. Micro DC. Same shite.

wolly4321 on February 22, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Yep, police, roads, & firefighters are hostages when it comes to cutting spending or rejecting tax increases. Those arts districts are way more critical [to siphoning funds off to the politicians and their cronies].

AZfederalist on February 22, 2013 at 8:48 PM

It’s already happening. But this is what everyone wanted, right?

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Just where are all those $700 billions of dollars going – double that of 2002 by 2011?

VorDaj on February 22, 2013 at 8:53 PM

What continues to remain unsaid by everyone is that the $800 BILLION stimulus is now part of the budget every single year!

So, the sequester is a 10% cut to a 33% increase in federal spending.

Charlemagne on February 22, 2013 at 8:44 PM

I hammer that home every single time people bring up the Senate not providing a budget. That inflated spending is the whole reason why the Senate hasn’t voted on a budget or drafted one.

It’s by design. Democrats want to keep the elevated spending from that year.

ButterflyDragon on February 22, 2013 at 8:59 PM

The public’s aversion to cutting comes partly from a misunderstanding, willfully perpetuated by politicians and usually the press, of the word “cut.” Most Americans would disagree that an increase in year-over-year budget constitutes a devastating “cut,” but they’re rarely informed that in Washington, cut usually means smaller increase than we expected. Thanks to Jon Karl for making the numbers clear while LaHood was clouding them. More, please!

This same, tired kabuki theater has been played out since the early 1990′s. As for some great awakening among the press, pols and average citizens… well… perhaps your expectations are simply to high…

elgeneralisimo on February 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM

From last week, here’s Ralph Peters’ take on the defense cuts under sequestration;

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/asking_for_defense_cuts_JMVPBqujQudb1Jc68tKeVP

It looks like the Pentagon brass are, once more, gaming the system to protect their staffs and their favored high-ticket weapon systems, that may or may not even work (coughF-35groundedagainahem).

The people who are joining The One and Congressional Dems in the Chicken Little routine are professional bureaucrats who have no intention of giving up their future increases in funding, let alone what they’re spending right now.

And in the Pentagon, choices are increasingly being made on the basis of empire-building, not actual defense requirements.

We cannot let the military become “just another bureaucracy”. Other bureaucracies do not hold the safety and security of this country in their hands 24/7/365.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 22, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Emergency responders are finished..
Border Patrol agents…finished
FBI agents …finished
Federal prosecutors….finished.
Criminals will be rampage in the streets..
Air traffic controllers….finished
Airport security…..finished
Thousands of teachers and educators….finished
Tens of thousands of parents scrambling to find childcare
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care

44 Billion apparently goes a long way…

Electrongod on February 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Well, considering how little use The One has for the Border Patrol, I’m amazed it even still has a budget.

And criminals running loose in the streets don’t seem to bother his Chicago cronies. (If they weren’t, where would all the vigorish come from?)

As for airport security, and teachers progressive political indoctrination specialists, if anyone thinks The One, Cass Sunstein, and Janet Napolitano will give any of them up, I’ve got some really nice, dry land I’d like them to consider buying.

It’s smack in the middle of the Louisiana bayous.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 22, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Waiting for baby boomers to accept they need to take cuts on their SS and medicare. Waiting……. cmon guys, why are you so selfish?

davemason2k on February 22, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Anyone want to bet that within two weeks the repubs shit backwards on us?
John and Mitch, “It’s the best we could get” rather than telling Obama “We get this one for free.”

arnold ziffel on February 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM

The sequester may be inconsequential in terms of total debt/spending, but the impact to the DoD is massive.

blankminde on February 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Take a look at that spending graph and then think about the fact that the last budget produced by a Republican House, Republican Senate, and Republican President was passed in 2006 for FY 2007 and featured:

Receipts: $2.568 Trillion
Outlays: $2,729 Trillion
Deficit: Less than $161 Billion

Revenues for FY 2013 are projected to be over $2.7 Trillion…

If we capped FY 2013 Spending Outlays to FY 2007 dollar amounts, we would be very, very close to a balanced budget!

How much of a raise has the average American seen in the last six years? Many Americns are making less now than they were six years ago. Let’s force our government to live on the same amount as six years ago.v

ITguy on February 22, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Obama and the Democrats are setting up a scenario where they can blame the sequester (and the Republicans) for anything negative that occurs in the economy in the next year or so. And it will probably work.

TarheelBen on February 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM

The sequester may be inconsequential in terms of total debt/spending, but the impact to the DoD is massive.
blankminde on February 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM

All part of the plan.
Obama and his co-conspirators WANT to make the USA weak.
(In all ways… But militarily weak, disarmed populace and economically crippled are the main requirements before all the others can be achieved.)

LegendHasIt on February 22, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Newt had a good idea on Hannity: set up a website and let people share their thoughts on what wasteful, asinine spending there is ongoing — shame the MSM and Obama and the RATS

matthew8787 on February 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Newt had a good idea on Hannity: set up a website and let people share their thoughts on what wasteful, asinine spending there is ongoing — shame the MSM and Obama and the RATS

matthew8787 on February 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM

They probably don’t want to hear from me. Not a lot of love.

arnold ziffel on February 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Senator Tom Coburn has written a free pdf book entitled “Department of Everything”, detailing how $67.9 billion can be cut from the Defense budget – such as projects studying how people use different slang words while twittering.

You can get it by going to his site coburn.senate.gov and look in the press releases for November 15, 2012.

VorDaj on February 22, 2013 at 11:56 PM

LOOK AT THE DAMN GRAPH!

No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .
No cuts; Reduction in the rate of growth . . .

Do I make myself clear?

BigAlSouth on February 23, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Rush covered this several days ago.

Great way to lead from behind. You wait till the lamestream media starts questioning it.

ChuckTX on February 23, 2013 at 8:55 AM

The last time, the scare tactics were that seniors wouldn’t get their SS and soldiers wouldn’t get paid. This time, it is air traffic controllers, border control, etc. Notice they never mention not paying POTUS or the congress or cutting federal workers in DC ?

fight like a girl on February 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I have a suggestion for budget cuts. How about fewer vacations, golf outings and parties with Beyonce?

fight like a girl on February 23, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Is the media discussing devastating gasoline prices?

Cindy Munford on February 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

but are the 52% too dumb to get it?

CW on February 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Is the media discussing devastating gasoline prices?

Cindy Munford on February 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

-
Yes… I heard just this morning that a study predicts that they will start dropping by Memorial day… Or did they say should start dropping?/cover for Barry

RalphyBoy on February 23, 2013 at 1:05 PM

2% cut is chump change, but LaHood, the suit, is too much of a chump to handle it.

billrowe on February 23, 2013 at 4:31 PM

It’s already happening. But this is what everyone wanted, right?

hawkdriver on February 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

What you’re seeing there is sequestration hysteria. Look at the graph, it’s a reduction in the rate of growth, not actual cuts.

Odysseus on February 23, 2013 at 4:59 PM