There should be absolutely no room for negotiating away the pathetically small amount of spending reduction the government imposed on itself to raise the debt-ceiling by $2 trillion. For god’s sake, we’re talking about trims of around $110 billion annually. The 2013 budget alone will spend about $3.8 trillion and using constant dollars, federal spending has increased 50 percent over the last decade (see table 1.3, center column, page 27). The simple fact – amply illustrated by the chart somewhere to the right – is that sequestration cuts, split between defense and non-defense discretionary spending, amount to very little in terms of total federal spending. If such tiny, wafer-thin cuts cannot in fact be enforced, then we should simply give up now and really max out the credit cards and party like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously, go ahead and just finish the whole tub of ice cream already.
The one good argument against the mechanics of sequestration is that it enforces across-the-board cuts that take indiscriminately from the overall budget in each affected area. That’s not smart but fear of that sort of jagged-saw approach to budgets was supposed to be one of the spurs to get the so-called Super Committee to really roll up its shirtsleeves and reach an agreement. It didn’t work, of course, which is a testament to fecklessness of the people involved.