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View Diary: There's one foolproof plan to avoid the looming budget sequester: repeal it (66 comments)

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  •  Completely wishful thinking (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, JeffW, dinotrac, nextstep

    The sequester was the President's proposal last time around in order to get a deal with the Republicans.  And when the President talks about how much he's cut spending, he counts the sequester as spending cuts he's enacted.  

    Unless you think that you're going to convince the Republicans that we don't need to cut spending any more, there's no chance in hell that the sequester just gets repealed.  And, as long as spending hovers around 24% of GDP, there's no way that you're going to convince Republicans that we don't need to cut spending.  

    If the President, tomorrow night, takes a tact of "I've changed my mind since 2011 when I proposed the sequester, we don't need to cut spending," there were but ZERO chance that the sequester doesn't happen.  If he does that, there won't even be a deal to replace it with something else at that point.  People like McCain would never -- not in a million years -- simply agree to give up those spending cuts in exchange for nothing (as they see it).  

    I don't want the sequester to happen.  That's why I hope the President DOESN'T adopt the view you are advocating, because I think that would be the surest way to assure that the sequester DOES happen.  

    •  But if the sequester actually happens, there (0+ / 0-)

      will be real pressure on the GOP because the sequester makes significant cuts in defense spending -- maybe not as much as we really need, but a lot more than anybody's been willing to actually do.

      Those lovely defense contractors will be making a lot of noise to deal.

      A smart negotiator will leave some of them unhappy.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  dino - I think the consensus among the GOP (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, nextstep, coffeetalk

        is growing that the sequester is the only budget cuts that are going to happen during the 113th Congress so, while they don't like the defense cuts, it's the price for spending reductions and they will take it. The House isn't going to put more revenue on the table for the balance of the 113th Congress unless it is part of a comprehensive tax deal. I think the GOP would respond to a different set and maybe a somewhat smaller number of cuts, but as long as the President requires more revenue, the sequester will happen.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:09:59 AM PST

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        •  I think that's exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, VClib

          As I heard one Republican say this weekend, "why would I give up spending cuts in exchange for tax increases?"  

          And as some pointed out, only something like 15 of the House Republicans come from districts the President carried, so the fact that they are opposing the President won't hurt House Republicans at all.  

      •  dinotrac, Republicans will not make cuts to the (0+ / 0-)

        defense budget, without deep cuts to the social insurance programs.

        So how is this "austerity measure," a winner for the American People?

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:35:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans will be between a rock and a hard (0+ / 0-)

          place.

          The cuts will already be made, and the cuts to Defense will be the biggest cuts of all.

          Medicate will be only lightly touched and Social Security not at all.

          It'll be like a zero-based budgeting session -- give a little, get a little.

          But Defense has a lot more to give.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:49:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, dinotrac, I'm for defense being cut, as (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            I've previously stated, but I'm wondering how you're so sure that there will not be cuts to Social Security?  Where did you hear this?

            And Medicare touched "lightly?"  That's news, too.

            I hope that you are correct, believe me.  

            But I'm very dubious because of all that I've read and heard, including the President's own words from his February 5th Press Conference (below).

            Both the President and Jay Carney (as his Press Secretary) say that he is willing to cut "entitlement programs."

            This is documented.

            Here's a brief excerpt, and link to just one incident.

            PRESIDENT OBAMA:  The proposals that I put forward during the fiscal cliff negotiations in discussions with Speaker Boehner and others are still very much on the table.  I just want to repeat: The deals that I put forward, the balanced approach of spending cuts and entitlement reform and tax reform that I put forward are still on the table.

            I’ve offered sensible reforms to Medicare and other entitlements, and my health care proposals achieve the same amount of savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that have been proposed by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.

            These reforms would reduce our government’s bill -- (laughter.) What’s up, cameraman? (Laughter.) Come on, guys. (Laughter.) They’re breaking my flow all the time. (Laughter.)

            [This transcript is linked directly to the White House website.]

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:19:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can read about it here: (0+ / 0-)

              www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42050.pdf

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:52:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Respectfully, this document has nothing to do (0+ / 0-)

                with the subject that I'm discussing.  

                Since you didn't "point out what you believe is pertinent in this document," I'll venture to guess that you may mean this:

                Section 255 contains a list of programs and activities that are exempt from sequestration.

                • Social Security benefits (old-age, survivors, and disability) and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits.

                • All programs administered by the VA, and special benefits for certain World War II veterans. . . .

                This list has nothing to do with my point.

                I am aware that the social insurance programs were not written into the "sequester" legislation.

                That is a given.  Had they been, Social Security and Medicare could not have been used as pawns, or bargaining chips "to avoid sequestration."

                I'm not sure how much more direct that I can be.

                Here's the bottom line:  If there was a true desire to ensure that our social insurance program remain intact, the sequester would be appealed.  But the Administration in a formal Press Conference, took that possibility "off-the-table."

                Now, that obviously gives the Republicans the "upper-hand" in demanding that entitlements be cut, in exchange for the tax revenue that the Administration desires.

                Between that explanation, and the scores of references in the Mainstream Media regarding the Administration's willingness to put entitlements "on-the-table," I can't offer any more proof.

                The brief that you cite, simply explains that the programs in the list are not a part of the sequestration package.  

                No where does it say that the Administration cannot "bargain with" these programs, in order to stop sequestration.

                Get back to me, if you can point that out, LOL!  But, seriously, pretty sure that won't happen.  

                That's what this entire "Kabuki Theather" is all about.  It's to set up the excuse ("hostage taking") that the Administration "had no choice" but to cut Social Security and Medicare if they wanted more revenue.

                And yet, we all know that they could have let all the Bush tax cuts expired (and then reinstated the middle-class tax cuts), if there sole purpose had been to raise tax revenues.

                It looks like we'll just have to 'agree to disagree' on this one.  :-)  But thanks for the discussion.

                Mollie

                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:22:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You need to understand how negotiations work. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  musiccitymollie

                  Basically, each side has goals they wish to achieve and trade concessions in order to achieve their goals.

                  Look a little more carefully at that document and try to understand it in the context of negotiations:

                  Social Security is off the table.
                  Medicare is scarcely touched.
                  In fact, things like Medicaid, housing assistance, lots of stuff directly related to caring for the needy are untouched.

                  Non-defense programs are cut by a smaller amount than defense programs.

                  In other words, after the sequester, Democrats have a stronger hand than Republicans. They can offer very generous concessions fro defense programs in exchange for maintaining or even increasing current non-defense programs.

                  Seriously, Republicans are badly screwed by sequester if Democrats will simply have the courage and intelligence to play their hand properly.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:20:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hey, I appreciate your response, but I give up (0+ / 0-)

                    trying to explain what I'm saying.

                    As as far as "understanding how negotiations work"--I understand quite well.  

                    As I've mentioned to coffeetalk, I have over 20 years with the DOD, and budgeting was a part of my duties as the Administrator over the entire branch of Army Community Services.  I believe that I understand very well what is going on, and why.

                    I believe that you view this process not from the budgetary standpoint (as I do), but from a political strategic or tactical standpoint.  And I believe that's why we aren't communicating effectively, LOL!

                    But, that okay.  As I've said, we can just "agree to disagree."

                    I actually hope you're right.  But I am convinced that most of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations will be implemented, including the several recommendations to cut Social Security.

                    If I am wrong, and if this has not happened by the end of the President's second term, I'll be more than happy "to eat crow."  And I'll even find you! :-)

                    Mollie

                    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                    "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                    by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:52:52 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I hope I'm right, too. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      musiccitymollie

                      This is the best chance we've had in years to actually put a dent in defense spending, which, as you know, is very well protected by a web of interlocking contracts that give every person in Congress a vested interest in, at the very least, preserving it.

                      But you're right, too.  Nothing guarantees that the hand will be played properly.  It will take a little bit of courage and a little bit of skill.  Makes me long for Bill Clinton, frankly.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:36:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

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