There are nine more years of budget austerity to go and that means the federal government must dig in much tougher places to find savings — like forcing early retirements for workers and winding down grants that fund scientific research and allow states to keep infrastructure up to par.In the meantime, it just gets slowly worse and worse with government being able to do less and less as employees hours—and paychecks—are cut. Even if President Obama were to recognize that deficit reduction has been achieved and further slashing will grind to a halt or even reverse the slow economic improvements we've seen and stops with the grand bargaining and calls for cuts, it wouldn't be enough. There's still the tea party that's taken the government hostage.
“It’s a diet that gets worse every year,” said Barry Anderson, a former senior White House Office of Management and Budget official who made the previous sequestration cuts in 1991. [...]
“As far as I can tell, we’re going to be operating under the sequester for the foreseeable future,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “At some point, it’s going to start hurting. And if you look at local newspapers throughout the country, there are a lot of good programs being cut. But it’s all too local right now and hasn’t reached a critical mass in the national debate.”
Making matters worse: Washington’s attention has shifted away from the fiscal fight and the fallout that comes with $1.2 trillion slashed from the Pentagon and most domestic agencies. The budget debate will inevitably return when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and a House-Senate-White House deal is required to avert a government shutdown. House Republicans are also still demanding concessions from President Barack Obama before they approve an extension to the country’s debt limit. [...]
Asked when he thought Congress might start moving spending bills again through regular order, Manley replied, “Tell me when the tea party is going to start losing its hold over the House Republican caucus and I’ll give you that answer. But until that happens, a once-proud tradition is gone by the wayside.”
However, if the White House and congressional Democrats started making a real case with the public that these mindless cuts are hurting real people, are holding the economy down, they'd have a better chance of breaking the tea party's hold. The majority of public opinion is and always has been behind creating job growth and is behind increasing taxes on the wealthy and is behind programs that help the needy. Standing with the people on this wouldn't be a dangerous thing for Democrats to do at all, unless they think the real danger for them is in pissing off The Village.