56 days! That's right! Only 56 days of screaming as we finish crossing the fiscal street. Having stepped off the fiscal curb at 2:00 o'clock in the morning (by Senate reckoning) and at 9:00pm the night of the 1st (by House reckoning)---put those together and that's quite the hangover you're dealing with there--- we are all now crossing the fiscal street, and headed for the next fiscal curb.
One snazzy term pollutes the air from the idling traffic as Congress staggers forward, reeling off the hood ornament of a '67 Chrysler Imperial: SEQUESTER!
"A half a trillion in Defense cuts!" screams the GOP and their Military-Industrial-Complex masters. They HATE sequester.
"A half a trillion in Non-Defense cuts!" scream the Kossacks and people of compassion. They HATE sequester.
But its worth looking at the terms of the deal that gave both sides the sequester, both for what's IN the Sequester, and, more importantly, what's OUTSIDE the sequester. Details below the Orange Snow Fence that got run over by the snow plow....
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities HERE what a LOT of people are forgetting (on these boards) or ignoring in DC (ALL of the GOP and most of the media) are the terms of the sequester agreed to in August of 2011.
First of all, the $1.2 trillion whack in spending is spread over TEN YEARS, MINUS the interest savings on debt that would NOT be incurred over those same 10 years, bringing the total down to right at $1 Trillion.
Now, divide that by 10 years and you get $100billion/ year, so the 56 day screaming match we are facing on Fiscal Boulevard is a manageable size for 2013.
Next, of the $100 Billion, 1/2 is to be from defense spending (which the GOP hates) and 1/2 from non-defense "discretionary" spending (which the Left is hyperventilating about already) BUT with an important proviso!
According to the 2011 agreement that the White House sold out America for/dissed the FDR legacy for/confirmed his Caver-in-Chief-ness (choose one or add your own) the following programs are EXEMPT from these sequestration cuts:
>Social Security. Period. Full Stop. (So by just sticking to the sequester language that BOTH McConnell and Boehner agreed to in August, 2011 AND their caucuses agreed to, we can refuse to even talk about Chained CPI since it is EXEMPT.)
>Medicaid. If it says Medicaid its safe from the sequester. Period. Full Stop.
> Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will bear on this, by the sequester AGREED TO, the GOP is NOT ALLOWED to propose cuts to let sick children get sicker or die, as much as they are itching to do so.
> SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps). The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to let people go hungry or starve, as much as they are itching to do so.
> Child nutrition programs. See SNAP, above.
> Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to workers who are disabled, sick, or otherwise impaired who are drawing an SSI lifeline, as much as the GOP are itching to do so.
> Refundable tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC and the CTC just got extended and renewed in the fiscal curb votes this week for 5 years...so obviously Obama has BLUNDERED by already locking that into place and not leaving here in the sequester. It also means the GOP has already AGREED to leave these alone, not only in August of 2011, but they RENEWED their promise on January 1!
> Veteran's benefits. The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT propose cuts to the TROOPS who are retired, as much as the chicken hawk yellow dogs are itching to do so.
> Federal retirements. The GOP AGREED in the sequester to NOT follow the Scotty Walker example from Wisconsin and propose cuts to pensions of people who worked in the federal government for decades while the GOP members were sucking at the teat of Ayn Rand and doing lines of coke with Grover Norquist. (Crazy threesome!)
>Pell Grants. The GOP AGREED in the sequester deal to NOT propose cuts to college students (who are just being turned into DFHs anyway, right?) by messing with their grant packages and adding to their student loan debt, even though the GOP is itching to do so.
> Medicare can ONLY be cut by 2%, and ONLY in compensation paid to providers, NOT in benefits to recipients. The "doc fix" in the fiscal curb bill just passed may impact this, but obviously this is ANOTHER BLUNDER by Obama by agreeing to that fix that may take this provision out of the sequester.
So all this means Obama/Shumer/Sanders/Pelosi/Reid/the Left HAVE THE LEVERAGE TO SAY, "We choose to honor the sequester limits of the August, 2011 deal YOU AGREED TO, since they make sense to begin cutting our long-term debt that you turkeys are mostly responsible for.
"But YOU stinking bastards on the other side want to WEASEL OUT OF the deal you made in August 2011. YOU were LYING then and we can assume you are LYING NOW. Your word means NOTHING.
"Nonetheless, ABIDING BY THE EXEMPTIONS AGREED TO IN 2011 THAT WE ARE NOT THEREBY GOING TO EVEN TALK ABOUT, as far as other NON-Defense cuts that total $50 Billion in 2013, we propose whacking $4Billion right off the bat by ENDING all oil and Gas and coal and nuclear subsidies, since we believe they are no longer infant industries in need of help or protection from foreign competitors.
"We propose ending $3bill./year in cotton subsidies, $3.5 Billion/yr. in sugar subsidies, another $3billion in wheat subsidies.
"So far we are $15 billion cut and economic efficiency improved. Agriculture starts with "A" and we have 25 letters left to go......"
Screaming? Oh yeah. Spending Cuts available? Piece of cake.