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U.S. Capitol building at sunset.
Thanks, guys.
While Republicans set the stage for a deeply unpopular government shutdown, let's not forget the suffering already being caused by one leftover from past Republican hostage-taking and refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy even the weensiest bit. There may be nothing to compare with canceled White House tours as far as congressional Republicans or the media are concerned, but sequestration is hurting a lot of people around the country:

And let's not forget the 1.6 million jobs the Congressional Budget Office says could be killed by keeping sequestration in place through 2014. Except that forgetting all that is exactly what Republicans are trying to get us to do, by slapping a new set of fiscal traumas on top of it.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks Laura. I've had this sinking feeling (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    argomd, IndieGuy, pollwatcher, dharmasyd

    lately that maybe we're kind of getting played here. Boehner has said that the sequester gave them 99% of what they wanted, so, while we're gleefully laughing and pointing at the idiocy of the ACA defunding demands (see also Overton Window), the likely CR that will come to pass will keep sequester level funding and this only until December.

    Senate Dems can do something about this by increasing CR funding and sending back to the House but that's not at all a done deal and knowing Reid he'll likely take the path of least resistance...meaning more of the same hurt described in this diary.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:57:35 AM PDT

    •  There was no Grand Bargain (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      argomd, Victor Ward, IndieGuy, nextstep

      but there was the "Little Bargain" raising the top income tax rate from 35% to 40% and capital gains tax rates from 15% to 24%, and cuts in defense spending, all of which the Dems like. In return social programs also took a hit, and the deficit is dropping significantly, which the GOP likes. The combination has created a political stalemate where no one will say anything in public, but many members of Congress are satisfied with the "Little Bargain".

      There is no chance that spending levels above the sequester limits would ever pass the House, unless it is to increase defense spending.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 09:30:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So you believe Boehner? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vigilant meerkat

      He doesn't want any of these programs to be funded at all, and he didn't want Defense to be touched at all.  

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:36:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The house won't sign off on increased.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....funding. Think about what you are saying. The House WANTS a shutdown so they can then negotiate with the nation on its knees financially.

      If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

      by Bensdad on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:04:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your point being....? Plenty of people think this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensdad

    is just what the doctor ordered: trim the military budget, stop ENTITLEMENTS, pay the piper, whatever. As long as the gummint's grubby hands aren't picking their pockets (or so they think), it's all good.

  •  The Justice Department is still overfunded (0+ / 0-)

    31%, the majority, of all federal criminal defendents, are for drug crimes.  And the vast majority of those are non-violent offenses.  Given that, why does the Justice Dept. need another dime?  So they can keep right on throwing people in jail for years for smoking weed?

    I'm glad the "justice" system is being devistated.  I'm glad the fascist war on drugs is running out of funding.  I'm sick to death of my tax dollars going to pay for that shit.  Long live the sequester!

    Here, I'm going to do Holder's job for him, for free.  If the Justice Dept. doesn't have enough funding, then throw out 1/3 of the cases!  Problem solved.

    No, the war on drugs does not need more funding.  Is this a fucking joke?

    •  Overfunded, and underfunded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      charliehall2

      Prosecutions of massive financial fraud and war crimes would be pretty expensive. Let's fund those!

      Given that it's a policy problem, not really a budget problem, I don't see how cutting the Justice Department's funding would help. It might just make them even meaner.

      It's like the flip side of the argument to cut NASA's budget because we should be feeding the poor. It's not as though if we stopped flying to space, as a consequence the poor would get fed...

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:53:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most drug prosecutions are at the state and local (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norm in Chicago

      levels. And there are MASSIVE discrepancies in how these are handled.

      For example, in NYC minor drug arrests almost always get prosecuted aggressively. In most of Westchester County the police basically ignore marijuana completely -- even though the drug problems in the suburbs are far greater.

      That and not the DOJ is the problem.

      •  31% of DOJ cases are drug cases (0+ / 0-)

        They can cut 1/3 of their caseload by getting their nose out of drugs and worrying about real problems.  DOJ does not need a funding increase.  All they will do with that money is keep prosecuting drug cases that should be dropped.

  •  Too late. (2+ / 0-)

    I was thinking of Congress when typing this, but then I read a couple of the comments above. Seems some people hereabouts like sequestration. God help us all.

    •  I like sane funding priorities (0+ / 0-)

      Sometimes tightening the belt is a good thing, as it forces people to prioritize their goals and push for what is truly needed.

      For example, do we want to fund Head Start, or do we want to throw pot smokers in jail for years?  Can't have both, have to pick one.

      Without the sequester, the gov't would keep wasting money on everything.  With the sequester maybe sanity will win out (I know, a long shot).

      Fund preschools, or fund the prison industrial complex.  That's the choice.  Yes, I like that the choice is being made clear.  God help us for maybe getting an end to decades of fascism?  And end to the jailing of millions, all that loss of liberty and economic production?  Just the opposite.

      •  The sequester... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, librarisingnsf, dharmasyd

        ...throws the baby out with the bath water.

        •  Yep. It makes politicians work for a living (0+ / 0-)

          When everything is fully funded and the debt is racking up, the politicians just sit on their ass and do nothing.  When the funding is cut, they actually have to make hard choices - you know, actual work.  They're getting paid for it after all.  They can quit if they don't like it.
          When the baby gets thrown out is when people finally wake up and start demanding action.

          For head start, the sequester cut $400 Million from an $8 Billion budget.

          The annual cost of the war on drugs is ~$50 Billion, with another ~$40 Billion in new tax revenue available from legalization.

          So you want that $400 Mil back for preschools?  There it is, $90 Billion just sitting there.

          Let me give you a corporate example.  We used to have a worthless CEO who flew his private jet from Chicago to California each weekend, just to play golf.  Now when times were good and the stock price was high, no one cared how much money he was wasting.
          But when hard times hit, and a 10% across the board cut was imposed on all departments - a corporate sequester - why all of a sudden people started noticing how much money that sad sack of shit was costing us.  No more private jet.

          •  Yeah, well, um, (3+ / 0-)

            I think with the Great Recession (and jobless recovery) most people are pretty well-acquainted with the idea that times are tough. Not really seeing why the sequester was neccessary to pile on some more and "raise the stakes".

            You really think there's gonna be a big push to reinvest in pre-school, Meals on Wheels, or even basic infrastructure? Because of the sequester?

            Or are all those cuts going to happen simply so we can spare cutting from the defense budget, like it was obvious from the start?

            I think you're trying to convince yourself that the sequester is somehow a good thing. "It forces people to make tough choices". Yeah, that's what my Republican governor says when he cuts people off Medicaid.

            Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

            by Boogalord on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:08:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're aware that the sequester is cutting (4+ / 0-)

        things like Meals on Wheels and pre-K and that kind of stuff, right? I'm not hearing anything about for-profit prisons being closed or a lack of funding for the War On Drugs.

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:02:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not yet, but we should be (0+ / 0-)

          Where is the Dem leadership on that?  If Meals on Wheels needs money, and the PIC keeps wasting money, isn't that a perfect fit?  End the war on drugs, and use the money to feed the poor.  Win-win.

          Instead, you keep giving us this false choice that we have to do BOTH.  We have to fully fund feeding the poor AND fully fund the War on Drugs.

          No!  There isn't enough money to do both.  We run budget deficits when we do both.  Time to balance the budget by cuting the waste fraud and abuse.  Otherwise known as the War on Drugs.

          If Dems want to lead and fund Meals on Wheels, they know where the money is.  Why do they refuse to act?

      •  The time to have that argument, Norm..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago

        ...is when you make the budget -- not when you are being asked to pay the bill for the budget you already passed.

        If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

        by Bensdad on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:06:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity opens public spaces to privatization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm in Chicago, dharmasyd

    Let's not pretend that austerity is the preferred budget outcome of Republicans alone. The Democratic Third Wayers are believers in neoliberalism and are selling off our public spaces to Wall St under the guise of austerity. Chained CPI was an Obama WH idea.

    Rahm Emmanual, Antonioa Villagarosa, Jared Polis, Corey Booker, Michael Nutter, Arne Duncan, Obama & Democrats for Education Reform ALL sell school privatization by identifying lack of funding as one rational.

    Rahm lied about the budget shortfalls as justification to close 50 Chicago Schools. Chicago Teacher's Union found his slush fund that he is using to fund new charter schools and real estate developers.

    Obama's & Duncan's preschool initiative is not goingto be directly funded equitably. Duncan is going to bribe states with a Race to the Top scheme that lets him funnel millions to third party cronies. They've signaled Preschools as an open market for Wall St investors. Notice the cronyism in this  preschool investment scheme?

    http://www.edweek.org/...

    Pre-K Program Attracts Investors Out for Returns
    By Sean Meehan

    An unusual partnership involving Goldman Sachs , a school district in Utah, and several community charities to expand the school system’s early-education program is intended to save taxpayers money and provide a financial return for investors.

    This fall, Goldman Sachs and the investor J.B. Pritzker will pay for the expansion of an early-childhood program in the 67,000-student Granite district through a social-impact bond, also known as a pay-for-success loan. Social-impact bonds are loans that seek to achieve a positive social outcome, and reduce future costs, by investing in prevention and intervention programs in the public sector.

    If successful, the venture would be the first investment of this kind to finance a public school program, according to officials at Goldman Sachs...

    The Dems need to be called out. Their gamesmanship is a distraction from their real, privatization agenda.
    •  Thanks for saying this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grimjc
      The Dems need to be called out. Their gamesmanship is a distraction from their real, privatization agenda.
      and...
      Chained CPI was an Obama WH idea
      It's evident, "more and better" democrats are not getting the job done.  Maybe "better" could, but first we must make sure they are "better."

      In order to move to the "better" though, we need to see clearly what is, to analyze and to understand.  We must be willing to look at the idea of "more and better" realistically, critically, and accurately.  

      Then we must demand that they indeed do become better.  Rahm Emmanuel may call himself a Democrat, but closing &/or privatizing schools is not what I would call "better" democracy.  It is privatization; privatization is not democratization.

      the war being waged...is the relentless ...struggle... by the rich against the poor. " by Andrew O'Hehir in "Salon"

      by dharmasyd on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:13:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OK, ok, the sequester sucks. (0+ / 0-)

    It still spends more on programs we like than any conceivable compromise between Democrats and Republicans, and it spends less on programs we don't like than any (etc. etc.).  People who pine away for something better than the sequester with the current composition of Congress are wasting everyone's time starting with their own.  There's no road to a better budget that doesn't start, middle, and end with fewer Republicans being elected.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:35:41 PM PDT

  •  agree, agree, agree - the deal that the parties (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmasyd

    made on the budget

    austerity for us all as a policy

    the games hide the reality of what damage has already been done and will continue to be done

    why are not the dems hanging the repubs out to dry?

    because they are part of the same game

  •  A lot of people blame sequestration on Obama. (0+ / 0-)

    In fact, I've heard people actually call it: "Obama's sequestration."  Lose-lose situation.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:40:28 PM PDT

    •  Well, he did sign it. (0+ / 0-)

      Let's not propagandize ourselves and sugar-coat it. If we can't deal with it forthrightly, how are we going to have a chance at stopping the "grand bargain?"

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:54:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is slicker than slick-willie!

      "Lose-lose situation"?  Nope.  Almost everybody loses except slick-willie and his Wall Street buddies.  

      the war being waged...is the relentless ...struggle... by the rich against the poor. " by Andrew O'Hehir in "Salon"

      by dharmasyd on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:19:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More right wingers need to see this. (0+ / 0-)

    They think it's not hurting people because it's not hurting them directly.

    29, male, lifelong resident of LA-4.

    by Shreve on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:43:05 PM PDT

  •  Exactly - we need to keep it in the headlines (0+ / 0-)

    Keep throwing the big, bright light of publicity on ending the sequester cuts. Do whatever is necessary to keep it front and center.

    I'm not locked up in here with you. YOU'RE locked up in here with ME.

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:44:04 PM PDT

  •  They'll remind us about the lost jobs (0+ / 0-)

    ...just lie about the cause.

    Because in their minds, those jobs were destroyed because Obamacare.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:51:38 PM PDT

  •  The volcano pictured? My house sits 25 miles.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....from the summit.  Kilauea is erupting now, but in a nice, peaceful Hawaiian way, as it has been doing for about 25 years. However, in 1960 it destroyed a small town. In 1990, it took a Hawaiian village called Kalapana, along with it a cherished recreational area with warm saltwater pools and baths.

    We like living on this beautiful island where new land is created almost every day. But we also like our volcanoes to be monitored. It's in a national park that receives millions of visitors every year, from around the world. Volcano research here serves the cause of science worldwide.

    There is nothing silly or trivial about monitoring volcanoes. I remember Bobby Jindal sneering about this. Well, I used to live in New Orleans and no one sneered about monitoring hurricanes.

    Whether you regard it as a public safety issue or as a point of national pride that we are maintaining our scientific acumen (which often has technological spillover effects), we can afford to monitor volcanoes within US borders.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:03:37 PM PDT

  •  Reservation schools are already taking big hits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmasyd

    in their funding.  Funding to Bureau of Indian Education schools was never overflowing but the water level of funding is going down fast.

    •  Yes! It is always ... (0+ / 0-)

      ...those who can least afford any more cutbacks who receive the cuts.  All rez services, as with all poverty services, are the first cut.

      the war being waged...is the relentless ...struggle... by the rich against the poor. " by Andrew O'Hehir in "Salon"

      by dharmasyd on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:24:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  why nobody's complaining about the sequester now (0+ / 0-)

    Didn't Obama come up with the sequester idea as an alternative to his Grand Bargain to give large cuts in Medicare and Social Security in exchange for not defaulting on the national debt in 2011?  Didn't Obama's own budget proposal for the upcoming year leave those sequester cuts intact?  If the House loves the sequester cuts (except for air traffic, to which Obama agreed to make an exception), and Obama wants to keep his sequester plan intact until there's a return to sanity by the Republicans in the distant future, how can one blame Reid for not putting the sequestered funds back in the continuing resolution?  The Republicans have everything they could hope for in the CR, including their desire to make a big propaganda issue out of the impossible idea of defunding the ACA.  There's really nobody to lobby on the social service, education, and research funds being taken away by the sequester.

  •  You are wrong about scientific research (0+ / 0-)

    "Taking a hit" is not accurate. "Being devastated" is more like it. It may take a generation to recover.  

    •  Science is not going to recover in the US (0+ / 0-)

      It is "recovering" in the EU and China just fine. What we are seeing is the US returning to its traditional scientific non-stature, which was interrupted for a generation by Hitler - who kindly sent us all the Jewish scientists in Europe. Now things are going back to the status quo for the US.

      This is a anti-intellectual culture which is much more comfortable with advertising lies than with knowledge that requires hard study. All Americans need is their Bible and their Shotgun... that's what makes us so "exceptional".

  •  A feature not a bug (0+ / 0-)

    The pain caused to the 99% by the sequester is sweet to the Wall Street Austerians -- who intend much more pain for all the useless eaters who don't even have one million dollars to their names.

  •  I sent emails and made calls to my Senators and (0+ / 0-)

    Representative that this should not be allowed.  So far.....crickets.......  The whole "defund Obamacare" is a cover for these cuts to be made permanent....and it must be stopped.

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