Okay, follow me here. We’ll start with the word sequester. Webster’s Dictionary says sequester means, to set apart; segregate; to separate, or isolate. So then sequestration refers to the action of separating from a certain thing. In the case of the government we’re looking at portions of the budget needing to be reduced automatically. It can only be halted if the members of Congress vote to eliminate the sequestration.
A certain amount of money has been designated for elimination from the budget. I realize you may be stifling a yawn at this point, but stay with me. This is all smoke and mirrors and is a classic shell game. It’s slight of hand in an attempt to distract the populace while other things are actually taking place. Here’s where I’m going with this. The following is taken from the web site, usa.gov, specifically identifying the issue of sequestration.
“Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies.
Congress included the threat of sequestration in the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a way to encourage compromise on deficit reduction efforts.
Congress couldn’t agree on a budget by the deadline set in the Budget Control Act, so mandatory budget cuts were scheduled to go into effect on January 2, 2013.
Congress stopped the cuts from happening by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January 2. This law pushed the budget cuts back until March 1, 2013.
If Congress cannot agree on a budget to reduce the deficit by March 1, then sequestration would happen and $85 billion in spending cuts would go into effect.
These reports give detailed information about the amount that programs may be cut and which programs are exempt from sequestration:
Congressional Budget Office Report on Estimated Impact of Automatic Budget Enforcement Procedures Specified in the Budget Control Act
Congressional Research Service Report on Budget “’Sequestration’ and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules” (PDF)
First, the current administration has not passed a budget since taking office in January of 2009. Our government is functioning with an open checkbook. Is anyone paying attention to what is being spent? A budget at least is an attempt to keep the government from running away with spending. Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has refused to bring a budget before the Senate for a vote.
Second, the “cuts” as they are called pertaining to the sequester, are not cuts. The proposed budget for 2013 is more than the budget from 2012. The “cuts” affect only the increased amount in the budget.
So let’s say your annual budget for your family in 2013 is $130,000. But for 2023 you calculate your budget will increase to $200,000. That’s an increase to your personal budget of $70,000. In reviewing your costs and expenses, you realize you need to cut back. You decide to cut 2.4% from your budget over ten years. You will now need to operate with a budget of: $195,200. That 2.4% comes out to $4800.
This is why all of the caterwauling and fear-mongering is laughable, except that many people do not understand what is taking place. If you still end up with an increased spending, why is it necessary to cut back on things easily covered in the previous year’s?
“Federal spending will explode from $3.6 trillion to $6 trillion over the next 10 years, but the much-maligned sequester will cut only 2.4 percent of this spending.” (The Heritage Foundation) Did you catch that? Our spending will go from 3.6 trillion to $6 trillion from 2013-2023. Yet the percentage of the sequestration is 2.4%. Multiplied out those numbers are huge. Sequestration will cut $144 billion. That’s a whole lot! But remember: It’s only 2.4% of $6 trillion over ten years!
So when you hear the Chicken Little’s screaming about having to operate with only one aircraft carrier; and the FBI won’t be able to function effectively; and programs for this and that will need to be cut or eliminated, look back at these numbers and remember: this is all nonsense.