On a tip from Phil McCafferty
Weren't we all supposed to die today or has that been cancelled?
Barry's looking out for your best interest by threatening to veto a bill to let him do less harm.
Article by the WSJ
If you're reading this after midnight on Friday, March 1, the dreaded Beltway hour of doom known as the "sequester" has arrived and the news is that the world has not ended. You can pinch yourself to make sure. This does not mean there won't be more political histrionics, but the beginning of applying reason to Washington is understanding that it is possible to cut at least some federal spending.
President Obama's goal, by contrast, is not to cut any spending in the here and now, only sometime in the "out years," to use the Washington phrase, presumably when he'll be out of office. That's the only way to comprehend the White House statement Thursday that the President will veto any Republican bill to give him more flexibility to minimize any sequester damage.
We think the President already has more than enough authority to avoid harm to air traffic control, national parks and the like, as we wrote earlier this week ("The Sequester Revelation," February 27). We wish Republicans like Paul Ryan would say so. But in any case House Republicans are offering to give Mr. Obama even more flexibility, yet the President won't take yes for an answer.
Mull that one over: The President wants to deny himself and his executive branch the authority to do less harm. Don't stop me before I kill again.
The White House political calculus seems to be that if Americans see that cutting 2.3% of federal spending is possible without catastrophe, they might learn something from the experience. They might even conclude that government doesn't need to be as large as it is, or that government should do some things well but not many others poorly. They might even learn that governing is about choosing, as opposed to merely allowing the government to grow willy-nilly year after year to gather more clients who depend on government.
Thus we get Obamageddon. Mr. Obama and his Cabinet officers feel they must cry havoc so loudly, and try to implement the sequester in such a malicious fashion, that the public will blame Republicans, who will then cancel all of the $85 billion in sequester cuts—which are really only about $43 billion for the rest of fiscal 2013 through September 30.
But that's not all. Mr. Obama doesn't want merely to cancel the sequester cuts. He says he won't even sign a bill cancelling those cuts, or letting him do less harm, unless Republicans also agree to raise taxes again. He calls this a "balanced" approach to deficit cutting, but his fiscal cliff bill in January was all tax increases and no spending cuts. Now his sequester demand is more tax increases and no spending cuts.
For a look at this "balance" in action, consider the sequester-reprieve bill offered Thursday by Senate Democrats and endorsed by the White House. To replace the $85 billion in cuts this year, the bill proposed various tax increases and some defense and farm-subsidy cuts over 10 years that add up to—zero net spending cuts.
The Congressional Budget Office "estimates that S. 388 would increase direct spending by $62.4 billion and revenues by $55.1 billion over the 2013–2023 period. Thus, the cumulative deficit would increase by $7.2 billion from those changes," said CBO in its report on the Senate bill.
So a bill that purports to reduce the deficit as much as the sequester, only in a more "balanced" fashion, doesn't even reduce the deficit at all. It increases it. And it does so despite imposing the "Buffett tax" that amounts to a minimum tax rate on capital gains of 30%, only two months after the capital-gains rate increased to 23.8% from 15%.
No wonder the bill failed to pass the Senate, 51-49, as three Democrats running for re-election in 2014 voted no. They are Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Apparently they also disdain the President's "balance."
Perhaps the real political question is how long this catastrophe charade can continue before it's laughed out of town. Some of the Beltway's older hands seem to be losing patience, including journalist Bob Woodward, who is being excommunicated from the Revelation Church of Obama by the more devoted media worshipers.
Mr. Woodward's sin was to report that the sequester was Mr. Obama's idea in 2011 and that the terms did not then include a tax increase. The blogs have been filled with pseudo-drama over whether White House aide Gene Sperling threatened Mr. Woodward, or not, for reporting facts so impertinently. But the bigger news is that someone in the establishment press is finally pointing out the Obama habit of dissembling about what he once committed to. This is why John Boehner and senior Republicans don't believe a single word Mr. Obama says.
All of this suggests that Republicans, for once, may be winning the political argument. If they hold firm on the sequester, they know the government will have to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond March 27. If no such bill passes, the government shuts down.
Do Democrats really want to be responsible for shutting down the government because Republicans won't raise taxes but will give Mr. Obama more flexibility to reduce the harm from spending cuts? With this willful President, you never know. But some adult Democrats may want to whisper to the President that if he keeps up this Obamageddon act for too long, the voters may figure out how they're being conned.
In all likelihood this will turn out to be another crutch for him. Blaming Bush is wearing pretty thin. Condemning that "do nothing congress" is also getting long in the tooth. The next time the unemployment rate goes up or a negative quarter of GDP he'll use the sequester as the fall guy.
Because even though he's the quarterback it's alway's somebody else's fault. What's funny is Barry described himself as at least the fourth-best president in history.
I guarantee you when the history books are written it ain't going down like that!