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My understanding of the sequester is as follows:

In the summer of 2011, we were approaching the debt ceiling.  Democrats and the most reasonable Republicans agreed that it should be raised by enough to get us through the 2012 elections.  Republicans were demanding deficit reduction as the price of their approval.  All Democratic proposals to achieve the deficit reduction targets included tax increases.  Republicans refused to accept any increases in taxes.  Finally admitting to the urgency to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans and Democrats came up with a plan whereby they would raise the debt ceiling immediately and authorize a committee to craft the deficit reduction plan.

To provide incentives to the committee to compromise, the sequester was designed to cut programs indiscriminately that were favored equally by the left and the right.  It was deliberately stupid and cruel to avoid its implementation.  If Congress doesn't reduce the deficit by X amount in a given fiscal year, that amount is simply sequestered.

The CBO just revised this years deficit projection down by $200 billion which far exceeds the sequester's requirement for this year.  Why is it still in effect for the remainder of the year?  Shouldn't every year affected by the sequester get relief for any deficit reduction that exceeds the amount required for that year?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Think Those On Our Side Who Designed Or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    contributed to its design are around 20 years behind the times in understanding who the opposition are.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:51:44 PM PDT

  •  It's all quite academic to me, as today (0+ / 0-)

    I got my letter informing me the final number for my agency: zero to forty hours of LWOP between now and Sep 5, depending on how our FY13 "close-out" goes.

    The numbers are firm. The deficit level is irrelevant -- it's a very legal, brutal formula we're up against.

    Our agency has been bravely cutting back on our work, but have been informing our congressional contacts (only staffers so far, amazingly, for a Bureau as important as ours) that an FY14 at this funding level will not allow our science to be of the quality the National (and world) expect, and that we should be doing.

    It's just all soooo STUPID.

  •  I think the FY 2013 sequester... (0+ / 0-)

    is based on appropriation levels that are already baked in the cake, so to speak. So we're pretty much stuck with it through the end of the fiscal year.

    All is not lost however, the decrease in the deficit will result in a delay in the need to raise the debt ceiling. That will forestall the GOP chest-beating for a bit.

    It's really a pity that this story got lost in all the "scandal" coverage this week. It's quite significant.

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