Inquiring Minds should want to know ...
What is this "Automatic Sequester" thing, and what's does this "Cliff" really look like?
The Sequester Explained (pdf)
The Budget Control Act (BCA) requires a cut of over $1 trillion in spending through a sequester. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is given authority to carry out the sequester. We do not yet know OMB’s interpretation of the Act, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assumes that the sequester is intended to make cuts to discretionary appropriations and mandatory spending that add up to $1.2 trillion over nine years, beginning in 2013.
* For fiscal years 2014-2021, cuts would be achieved by lowering the original BCA caps on defense (which does not include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)) and non-defense discretionary budget authority, and by cancelling budgetary resources for some mandatory spending programs.
-- 2013 is dealt with differently. There are no new discretionary caps. Rather, the cuts will be made regardless of Congress’ appropriation levels. (Note: Our interpretation is that this cut will include OCO.) Unless resolved by September, agencies will have to begin their fiscal years with a high level of uncertainty about their funding levels.* Real level of program cuts is $984 billion. This is because $216 billion of the $1.2 trillion will come from assumed interest savings.
* Most mandatory spending is exempt from the sequester, including: Social Security, retirement programs, veteran’s benefits, refundable tax credits, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), unemployment insurance, food stamps (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and a host of other programs (mostly those benefitting individuals with low incomes).
* Medicare is subject to the sequester in the form of provider payment cuts, but those cuts cannot exceed 2 percent.
White House Details Potential Effects If Automatic Budget Cuts Go Through
by Jonthan Weisman, nytimes.com -- Sept 14, 2012
Under the terms of those cuts, most military programs face a 9.4 percent reduction, while most domestic programs would be sliced by 8.2 percent. Medicare would be trimmed by 2 percent, while other social programs -- excluding Social Security -- would be sliced by as much as 10 percent.
White House officials said cuts to Medicare would fall on health care providers, not beneficiaries. But the impact on health care professionals could affect the elderly if deep cuts prompt doctors and hospitals to shun Medicare patients. Total payments to hospitals through Medicare would be cut by more than $5.8 billion next year, while prescription drug benefits would be trimmed by $591 million.
The White House report details how $108 billion in cuts would be meted out next year, the start of what would be a decade’s worth of cuts on that scale.
Big cuts would hit the military. Defense Department operations and maintenance would lose $3.9 billion next year alone. Air Force and Navy aircraft procurement would be sliced by more than $4.2 billion. And money to strengthen Afghanistan’s security force the year before the United States plans to withdraw its own forces would fall by $1.3 billion.
Pain would be spread widely. The National Institutes of Health would lose $2.5 billion. Rental assistance for the poor would fall by $2.3 billion; nutrition programs for women, infants and children would lose $543 million.
Domestic priorities more associated with Republicans would also take a hit. The Customs and Border Patrol budget would fall by $823 million, and the budget for the border fence would drop $33 million.
That's one way to get the Military's attention, hey? Take away the magic checkbook ...
But why are Politicians using this "Automatic Sequester" to play their typical game of "DC Chicken" ... again?
Why is "paying our bills" just another cynical opportunity for them to get their "rhetorical ponies"?
Like the perennial favorite of the GOP: "Entitlement Reform." Like the poster child of the Dems: the Sunsetting of the Bush Tax give-aways, even though that one -- was actually written into the original Public Law.
by Suzy Khimm, washingtonpost.com -- Sept 14, 2012
Why does everyone hate the sequester so much?
Legislators don't have any discretion with the across-the-board cuts: They are intended to hit all affected programs equally, though the cuts to individual areas will range from 7.6 percent to 9.6 percent (and 2 percent to Medicare providers). The indiscriminate pain is meant to pressure legislators into making a budget deal to avoid the cuts.
How would these cuts affect the country?
Since the details just came out [Sept 2012], it’s not entirely clear yet. But many top defense officials have warned that the cuts will lead the military to be "hollowed out." Democratic legislators have similarly warned about the impact on vital social programs. And defense, health care and other industries that are significantly dependent on federal spending say that major job losses will happen if the cuts end up taking effect.
Can the sequester be avoided?
Yes, but only if Congress passes another budget deal that would achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Both Democrats and Republicans have offered proposals to do so, but there still isn’t much progress on a deal. The political obstacles are the same as during the supercommittee negotiations: Republicans don’t want to raise taxes to generate revenue, while Democrats are reluctant to make dramatic changes to entitlement programs to achieve savings.
Well, there is another way ...
How about we quit writing "blank checks" to these guys:
U.S. Department of Defense -- Contracts
Day-after-Day; Year-after-Fiscal Year; Decade-after-American Decade.
What in the world, are these guys spending all those hundreds of Billions on anyways?
And exactly WHO is the enemy again?
Inquiring Minds should want to know. Are we getting the bang for our Military buck? Our Billions upon Billions of Military bucks.
Or is it really just a bottomless "Entitlement Program"?
Americans believe in World Peace, right?
SO WHEN are we going to re-focus OUR Taxes, on "Building Bridges instead of Bombs"?
Probably not soon enough ... unless inquiring minds demand to know ... Just WHY does our Military-Industrial-Complex feel so "damn entitled" to unscrutinized funding, without end?
Without public say?
When it comes to Military Might, it's almost like America has an addiction problem. And the habit just MUST be maintained ... No matter its collateral costs ...