Today South Carolinian's got a look at the impending doom that sequestration cuts will bring. After reading the press release from the White House it looks more like a castration. 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed. 1400 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. 12.5 million in education funding would be cut putting 170 teacher and aide jobs at risk. Both parties say this would be bad. But if nobody wants this, why is it happening?
Quick history lesson. July 12, 2011 Gene Sperling, whom I thought was a pitcher for the A's in the 80's, but is actually the White House National Economic Council Director, made a suggestion. Here's the President telling him "awesomesauce".
the white house via flickr
Gene suggested "a compulsory trigger that would go into effect if another agreement was not made on tax increases and/or budget cuts equal to or greater than the the debt ceiling increase by a future date. The intent was to secure the commitment of both sides to future negotiation by means of an enforcement mechanism that would be unpalatable to Republicans and Democrats alike. According to those in the meeting President Obama immediately loved the idea while Boehner and Reid both put up heavy objections. Obama sold it to both leaders over about a two week period. Then Reid, and Bohener took it their camps. On July 31st, Barack Obama celebrated with VP Biden, the phone call he received informing him the sequester idea had passed.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
They look pretty proud of themselves! Now it was a deal that almost everyone immediately regretted. Both sides started trying to undue what they had done. But it's like the night after you slept with some bar skank you stumbled home with. You got whatever you got! There's no undoing that. Here is the President, just a few months after they signed the deal, talking like the sequester is some tough medicine to swallow, but both party's have to take it. Around the 4 minute mark he says "I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts. There will be no easy off ramps on this one".
Even Wolf Blitzer seemed a little shocked that President was ignoring his Secretary of Defense who was screaming that cutting 600 billion from Defense in this manor would "hollow out the nation's defense". Wolf isn't easily shocked as we learned when he was demoted for a week from CNN to BET. He handled his demotion from The Situation Room to The Crys Popping, Platinum Room with class and even worked well with a new co host, Dougie Doug.
Last week the Pres may have finally seen the err of his ways. Because he gave a speech with first responder's all around him. As I listened I thought 'those responder's must be there to revive people who drop dead after hearing the coming apocalypse'. Then I realized they were just some of the people who would lose their jobs if these cuts happen. "If Congress allows this meat cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness. It will eviscerate job creating investments in energy and education and medical research. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutor's will have to close cases and let criminals go. We will have to cut back on air traffic controllers. Already the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an Aircraft Carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. And as our military leaders have made clear, changes like this, not well thought through, not phased in properly, affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world. These cuts are not smart and will hurt our economy, and add hundreds of thousands of American's to the unemployment roll.
Aren't these the cuts that you had to sell to Harry Reid and John Bohener, because they thought they were not smart and would hurt the economy? And then you said if anyone tried to stop the cuts you would veto it, because there's no easy off ramp. But now you're telling us if we don't get out of this planes are going to have mid air collisions, and prisoners will be running amok, and our military won't keep us safe from the terrorists, on the off chance we don't die at the hands of one of our many newly released criminals, or in a plane crash. You're right Mr President, this is some tough medicine. But my folks never told me how crappy the medicine would go down before they gave it to me. Maybe for future tough medicine we have to take to try to bury it in something else. You know like applesauce-penicillin. Right now you're giving us brussel-sprouts-sequestration with a side of mass death and unemployment. I, along with all American's, are giving you the yucky face.