Answer: Yes. Congress could pass a one sentence law repealing it. Done. Tada! We just figured out in seconds, what Congress has yet to figure out, and now as of March 1, the sequester is officially kicking in. After a half-hearted one hour “summit” today (can you have a one-hour summit? we thinks not…) there is still no decision on what to do about the automatic spending cuts. Based on one of the more awesome quotes to come from this whole debacle, however, we’re hopeful that our leaders are beginning to see the light.
That’s right, the president called the whole thing dumb. We couldn’t agree more. more
See, what’s extra frustrating about this whole situation is that this crisis is entirely manufactured; and not just by one side or the other. Both the GOP and Obama are perpetuating this stalemate in their own ways, blaming each other, and avoiding a long term solution. Obviously, despite GOP claims, the impetus to avoid a sequester is not on Obama alone - he only proposed this strategy to deal with an intransigent GOP whose tomfoolery had resulted in the US’s credit getting downgraded. Their strategy of not negotiating and instead reminding us that it was ”his idea” is cynical (surprise!) and more than a little cowardly. Still, though we know that as of now, a majority of Americans will blame the GOP for these unpopular cuts, Obama and the Democrats (those that haven’t signed on to the CPC or Grayson/Takano letters circulating that call to simply repeal the sequester) are a part of the problem too. They are banking on the fact that Republicans will be blamed for this ineffective and harmful strategy, and, like the GOP, are participating in a game of chicken. They make dire warnings about what will happen (you mean we’ll have to wait at the airport longer?!?! AHHHHHH!) yet seem willing to let the cuts start in order to increase their leverage. Why participate? Why not suggest the madness? THAT would get popular support and increase your leverage. Blurg.Now that both sides have met to look like they did something, the outlook remains bleak. It’s frustrating because, though perhaps the sequester is ultimately a bastardized GOP dream, Democrats did not get all of the tax increases they sought. They took a terrible deal in the fiscal cliff negotiations and now they’re getting it handed to them by the Republicans. Shouldn’t they have seen this coming?
Well, We did, and who are we? Geniuses, that’s who. Republicans “caved” on a lame tax increase and now they’re done giving revenues. Duhh. How many tax increases do you think a Boehner-led Congress is actually going to go along with? If we’re to glean anything from a post summit quote this morning, it’s that the answer is: none.
This is why we said their bargaining strategy was poorly conceived. Duh…
Either way, lets revisit the sequester itself.
Here’s what we now know: Though it was never intended as an actual solution, the sequester won’t even be a good stand-in for a solution. We’ve already been warned that it will slow growth and result in job losses, but the Bipartisan Policy Center says that the cuts in the sequester only hold off our national debt reaching 100% of our GDP by two years. Basically, in 24 months we’re going to have a crippled state and and it will all have been for naught. Our debt is huge, our economy is slow, and this policy is going to either exacerbate or not address those problems. Check out the chart below.
Now we know that “sequester” is a noun meaning a general cut in federal spending, but it’s also a verb meaning to isolate or hide away. According to us (two geniuses), there are plenty of things we could sequester without having a negative impact on the economy. If we must sequester something, here is a list of things that would be far better to cut than all that spending:
1. Our rent (it’s too damn high, amiright?)
2. The price of flowers
3. The cost of the colorful pens that make shopping for office supplies so much fun. Do you know how many colorful pens it takes to make a podcast and write a blog? It’s sending us to the poorhouse.
4. The quantity of processed food in the American diet (the brain trust has differing opinions on this. One of us would wipe out all processed foods permanently (Lila) while one us us realizes that many dishes around the holidays need cream of mushroom soups (Brent). [Note: only one of us is from the Midwest. Can you guess which one?]
5. The Tea Party. Sequester them away far away. Space potentially.
Feel free to add your own suggestions below the depressing chart!
So seriously people, can we end the insanity and just decide to not have automatic spending cuts? The answer is a simple yes. And if they want to include an amendment to cut our rent and send the Tea Party into space while they’re at it, we certainly won’t stand in their way.