Friday, March 1, 2013

Top 5 Reasons the Sequester Sucks

1. We the People don't want it.  51 percent say it's a bad idea (only 21 percent say it's a good idea) in the NBC/WSJ poll, 62 percent say it would have a negative effect on the economy in the WaPo/Pew poll, and both polls say more people will blame Republicans in Congress than the President (both men and women, btw) for the sequestration actually happening.  A separate ABC/Post poll that just came out yesterday said 52 percent disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy, but 67 percent disapprove of the way the Rs are handling the economy.

2. It hurts real people.  A lot of them.  Indiscriminately.  People who already got smacked with the payroll tax hike.

  • 10 Industries That Will Be Hurt Most by the Sequester - ones that build things for the government and provide transportation and education and social services.  Meaning that for a whole bunch of people on the fighting edge of surviving the down economy, everything will get harder.  This after the payroll tax hike.  So how much consumer confidence are those people going to have right about now?  Summary: 
    • Defense.
    • Public schools. 
    • Road, bridge and tunnel construction. 
    • Remediation and environmental cleanup. 
    • Guns and ammunition. 
    • Colleges and universities. 
    • Steel framing. 
    • Public transportation. 
    • Airports. 
    • Social services facilities. 

"Government activities have large multiplier and network effects; those of the vast majority of private companies do not. As such, the extended effects of blunt actions -- such as the sequester -- tend to be sizable and quite unpredictable.  This is particularly concerning at a time when the country has emerged from the global financial crisis still structurally impaired; when income and wealth inequalities have already worsened considerably; and when unemployment remains way too high and joblessness is getting embedded more deeply in the structure of the economy (particularly among the most vulnerable segments of the population)." [Emphasis mine.]

3. Let's talk about "indiscriminately."  I say indiscriminately, and I mean it, because the ability for politicians and administrators to control where the cuts will hit is limited, but there's another side to this.

In reality, by focusing on cuts rather than raising taxes, we will be hurting the very people who keep taking it on the chin in this economy.  The people we need to be spending money to rev up our long-term economic growth.  The people who make daily decisions about whether they can afford to buy more stuff.

You know, consumers.

So we're hurting more vulnerable people and directly causing them to have less money to choose to spend.  Great decision.  Real long-term thinking there.

4. It's Chicken-S*** in the extreme.  Indulge me in a Soap Box Moment:  I mean, Really.  Just friggin' DO YOUR JOB.  Yes, nobody can tell you what to cut, and when you ask the public what to cut, they don't want to cut anything.  But that's because they don't know the details of what we spend and what we waste and which spending works the best - is most effective.  Congress and the President, in contrast, DO have that information, and in theory, the ability to discern which cuts and tax hikes would be most effective.  They have just been CHOOSING not to do it.  So this is one big political ploy, an attempt to get budget cuts while pretending that they are not choosing which ones or to cut anything at all.  Dude, we can see you.  We are mostly smart enough to realize what you are doing.  My three-year-old is more subtle.  DO YOUR JOB.

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5. It will hurt the economy.  Don't take my word for it.  Ask Ben Bernanke.  Ask the CBO (Congress' own budget analysis office) - they say it could cost 800,000 jobs, and seriously hurt economic growth.  That's stupid.  Why do that?

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