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    Jon Stewart vs. Sequester Hysteria

    Jon Stewart vs. Sequester Hysteria

    Jon Stewart mocks the sequester hysteria.

    Yes, he targets Republicans towards the end. But it’s still pretty funny.(h/t my wife)

    I’m not a Jon Stewart fan, but he wouldn’t be popular if he wasn’t tuned in. Does his cavalier approach to the sequester reflect a popular skepticism to the sequester hysteria?

    Scott Rasmussen writes in Sequester puts Elected Washington on Trial:

    The expectation was that voters would rise up and protest the automatic spending cuts with such vehemence that it would force Republicans and Democrats to work together. But it hasn’t happened. In fact, just 36 percent of voters want Congress and the president to stop the automatic cuts.

    As a result, the White House and many media organizations have been trying to raise the alarm. President Obama himself used his State of the Union address to say, “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.” To make sure voters understood his concern, he added, “They’d devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

    Still, the voters haven’t come around. The president proposed replacing the across-the-board spending cuts with a combination of tax hikes and specific spending cuts. Only 39 percent favor that proposal. Forty-two percent oppose it and prefer the automatic spending cuts, instead.

    Charles Krauthammer exposes the cynicism behind those hyping the hysteria:

    Think of the cynicism of that. The worst case scenario is that the government makes a small, minuscule cut in spending on the way to beginning of a journey of recovery in to fiscal health, and that it doesn’t hurt us, we actually come out of it alive. And, that to them, is the worst case. It means, think of how they are weighing the national interest, which needs a cut in spending and these parochial special interests.

    Jon Stewart might be on to something. Maybe the public has become inured to the Firehouse Syndrome.


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    These sequester antics are publicity stunts by public officials. The tactic has been a staple of California budget negotiations for years.

    Every year, the teachers get pink slips. Every. Damn. Year.

    It happens because there is one party in charge for decades, and it is not going to cut its contracts on behalf of its donors (mostly, unions). The voters care about the schools. So, the schools are endangered, every year.

    LukeHandCool | February 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    We went through furloughs at LAPD for a couple of years. The doomsday scenarios our union painted never materialized.

    My wife and I just adjusted. Oh, who am I kidding? I adjusted, she continued to spend like crazy.

    The Pentagon will discover it has a few layers of fat.

    Uncle Samuel | February 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    The politic elite will cut everything and create pain for the little people, but will never ever cut their paychecks, perks and pork.

    Alas, Republicans are in this instance again making weak arguments in terms if their ability to counter Obama’s banging away at all the supposed terrible cuts in services that a 2% reduction in budgeting will trigger. They say, 2% is not much; we need to rein in out-of-control spending, deficits and debt; Obama already got his tax hike; the sequester was his idea, etc. All of this is true — but none of it tells the average mostly uninformed citizen why and how 2% can easily be cut with little or no noticable change.

    Anyone who has ever worked in a government agency at any level — federal, state or municipal — as I have, knows that you can cut 2% of any budget without a bead of sweat. In fact, in many agencies, budgets handily have 2% hidden in all manner of obscure budget lines or accounts — hidden for just such a contingency as an across-the-board cut — that central budget managers can only guess at. Second, before touching personnel, most agencies have loads of fluff they can do without or cut back — excess travel, conferences, internal “training” that can be deferred, outside consulting contracts that can be postponed or renegotiated, etc. Third, what about the across the board 1% pay rise for federal employees that Obama announced recently? Maybe employees deserve it, although most federal employees are well paid by any standard, but since 80% of most agency costs in the discretionary budget are for personnel and since times are tough, not granting that 1% would amount to a big chunk of the sequester requirements. Finally, government employees generally — not all — work so inefficently that if pressed to do so, managers can readily come up with ways to live very nicely, thank you, with far deeper cuts in headcounts than this sequester will require. The trick is to actually press them by requiring them to come up with real cuts.

    The Congressional GOP and various conservative groups have the detailed budget knowledge and expertise to counter Obama’s claims about what any particular agency will need to do by citing chapter and verse of exactly what it could do instead. Simply dismissing his claims is not enough. Besides, most Americans do understand that government is wasteful, inefficient and over-staffed.

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