Sequestration

So this is the first of what I expect to be several posts regarding sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that will take effect next Friday unless Congress and the President take action to avert them.  Many say that the budget cuts will hurt the economy, and most agree that some important services will be cut if the sequestration goes through.  Others say that these budget cuts are a necessary to reduce the size of the federal government.  If sequestration goes through, who is to blame?  Or is sequestration a good thing?

22 responses to “Sequestration”

  1. Carolyn4 says :

    It’s been clear from the beginning that a compromise must be made between the Democrats and Republicans to best manage the upcoming budget cuts. To answer the question who is to blame, I think it is obvious that both sides, represented by President Obama and John Boehner, are to blame. However, I think Obama is more at fault here. By bringing those firefighters, policemen, and other emergency workers to stand behind him in his speech, he makes his argument difficult to contest. Yes, it is true that many Americans will lose their jobs, such as the noble emergency workers that stood behind him, but this maneuver will make it difficult for any compromise to be made. It is evident that many people will lose their jobs- there is no denying that. But if there are no budget cuts made, our already 16.5 trillion dollar debt will not rebound at all. If Obama continues to make excuses for the poor Americans that will lose their jobs, or lose their welfare from programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, then no cuts will be made at all and no deal will be established. Obama cannot protect everyone, and he needs to prioritize. On the other hand, Boehner needs to be more vocal at this time, meet with Obama, and work to compromise. Both sides are to blame, but at this time I think the weight falls more on Obama.

  2. Christina4 says :

    I really don’t think this is Obama’s sequester. Congress is on vacation and Boehner has the responsibility to take this issue to the floor and for a vote. Republicans have been labeling these cutbacks to cover their asses if the sequester takes place, like Fiscal Cliff 2.0. Congress passed this sequester plan and the president signed it. This deal to put in place the sequester was pushed by Republicans as well, so acting like it’s Obama’s isn’t entirely true. The Republicans wanted to implement this to “hold Obama accountable.” But in actuality, I think it was a way to make the POTUS a one term president (as they expressed their desire for a sequester in 2011 in an internal PowerPoint). The sequester that could possible take effect next Friday is pretty much exactly what was in that PowerPoint Boehner’s office developed with other Republicans. There are plenty of bipartisan plans that even Obama endorsed in his SOTU but there has been a lot of talking about how reasonable these plans are but no action. There are just too many Republicans and Democrats are just at two opposite ends of the spectrum, which makes me think another half-assed deal will be implemented in the 11th hour. Go back to work guys (at least you have jobs unlike many).

  3. jack7 says :

    With our federal government being the biggest it has even been, I think budget cuts are inevitable and in our best interests. Obama is being a hard-liner and, like Carolyn said, is making compromise on budget cuts for our government’s greatest expenditures (social security, medicare/aid) difficult. As a second-term president, I think he shouldn’t be trying to please so many people. At this point, he is out of the running for reelection, and therefore can afford to take more risks that may not be popular. In those ways, I think he is partially at fault. Budget cuts are necessary to some extent, but I don’t think that they are needed at the TSA or emergency services. As an armchair critic, I can’t really say where they would be best made, but my hope is that Obama could be a little more lenient and allow some cuts to be made, but to a lesser extent than is currently set to take effect.

  4. Liz7 says :

    Like it or not, the federal government cannot sustain this debt and this high level of spending for much longer. Budget cuts should happen, but this debt is not going to be reversed by just closing tax “loopholes” like Obama insists, or just by cutting welfare or social security benefits like the GOP wants to. I don’t think either party is solely responsible for the sequestration; I think its a result of delaying and resisting budget cut legislation and not wanting to look like the evil Congressman who wanted to cut defense spending or put policemen out of work. There simply isn’t room to trim spending without forcing people out of jobs or cutting the military budget. These cuts may not be pleasant, but I don’t think many other options even exist if the federal government truly wants to reduce the deficit.

  5. Akhil7 says :

    The era of big government has to come to an end one day. Obama even said in his SOTU, “We need a smarter government.” We can’t keep spending our way to freedom, it’s only digging a bigger hole. Now this sequester cuts will be harmful, there is no denying that. Cuts to defense, cuts to medicare providers (not benefits), and cuts to labor will be bad. But of course cuts don’t go into effect right away. As soon as the offices receive their new budgets, they’ll begin to adjust their spending. At this point, it may be April, they’ll start to send employees on unpaid leaves (this is the plan of the Federal Aviation Administration) and gradually ease into their new budget. Now this ripple effect from federal to state to local will likely take the rest of the fiscal year, roughly 7 more months. This was a deal between Congress and the president in 2011 and clearly, there are no actions being taken on both sides to create a better deal. Tackling jobs is another issue but the budget remains the top priority at this point and its not like much progress is being made in discussions about a better plan.

  6. 4thomas says :

    Sequestration is a good thing. When it comes to our country’s current economic issues, the President and most democrats are willing to recognize the flaws in our taxing system (the money coming into the government), but fail to recognize the need to cut government spending (the money going out). On the other hand, John Boehner and most of the Republicans recognize the governments spending flaws, but fail to see the need for a better taxing system. Due to the lack of meetings between the two leaders, it is clear that Obama does not actually want to prevent this from happening. He probably recognizes the need for these cuts and is truthfully just trying to protect his political image by saying he doesn’t want them. A loss of jobs and program funding is the price that needs to be paid here, but budget cuts are necessary.

  7. Emily1 says :

    I believe that the issue of budget cuts has been put off for two long, and both parties are to blame here. I do believe that some of the blame falls on the shoulders of Obama: but I also agree that he should not be the sole person making the effort to resolve these issues and come to a joint conclusion. What people have to face is the idea that budget cuts are going to have to happen eventually. The debt ceiling can not grow exponentially, and government spending needs to be cut to some degree. As a result of spending cuts being put off, these budget cuts are going to be drastic. Seeing firemen and police officers that may lose their jobs standing behind Obama during his speech is heart-wrenching: but like Carolyn said, we need to prioritize and also bring Republicans and Democrats together to make some sort of agreement, before all of America suffers.

  8. Crawford4 says :

    I am the first to say that both sides, republicans and democrats, are to blame for the lack of action in washington. But honestly, I am tired of watching Obama stand up with firefighters and police men and women preaching about how the republicans are causing them to loose their job when he refuses to even hear out the other side. The president is the ultimate leader of the United States and our government and it is his job and obligation to see that compromised is reached. He puts too much weight in putting on a good show than getting any real legislative action done. He should emulate LBJ and go down to capitol hill and actually try to accomplish something and if he cant do it send Biden at least he has the ability to move legislation. Obama is embarrassing himself by trying to play hardball, something he is not cut out for.

  9. govrobin1 says :

    In order to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, budget cuts are necessary however, sequestration is not the way to go about these budget cuts. Both parties need to pull it together and actually compromise in the basic sense of the word. Create a give and take with some wins and some losses in order to find a middle ground that will be most effective in helping the country as a whole. This is obviously easier siad than done, but that is exactly what congress should be focusing on as the week progresses in order to avoid the cuts that could take place on Friday. Personally, I believe that the cuts to first responders and other areas are not the place these cuts should be made, but if it does come to it I don’t think sequestration would be the “be all end all” of our countries economy. I think the economy would get worse, but more from the publics physiological response to the sensationalized media as opposed to the actual effects of sequestration.

  10. Ellen7 says :

    I agree that this issue is not the fault of one party or the other and that sequestration is not necessarily a “good thing.” People are losing their jobs and unemployment is again increasing. However, in the position we are in, it seems to be the only option. As Liz said “there simply isn’t room to trim spending without forcing people out of jobs or cutting the military budget.” Although this is not an ideal solution, it is what needs to be done in order to at least try to improve the situation and eventually these jobs can be brought back in. Obama needs to stop trying to sugar coat it though. I don’t really understand how bringing in the people who held the positions of the kinds of jobs that were going to be cut was helpful. It’s like he’s trying to be a big “Mr. Nice Guy” when he just can’t be.

  11. Ryan4 says :

    It’s hard to dissect this situation without pointing fingers, and really for once that’s actually not happening – not publicly anyway. The fact that Obama is yet to meet with Republican Congressional leaders is staggering. As President he can’t just sit and give up on compromise. That goes for Boehner and all the other Republican leaders in Congress as well. Now is the time to stop ignoring each other and take action against the issues of sequestration. We need to cut back our deficit before our country goes down the drain, and clearly bad things were bound to happen with the budget cuts. But, some sort of plan needs to be implemented to deal with the thousands about to loose their jobs. Obama needs to quit trying to guilt trip everybody into thinking the reason these public workers are loosing their jobs is because of the republicans. As president, he should be the first one out there trying to compromise.

  12. Connor1 says :

    When it comes to who is to blame for this huge budget cut that will increase the already extremely high employment rate that our country is facing, I think Obama owns a lot of the responsibility. Is it entirely his fault? No i don’t believe so, but the fact that he has yet to meet with the Republican leaders about the topic since being newly inaugurated is absurd. Nothing is ever going to get done in our government if the leaders don’t take initiative and make the changes that need to be made, because they aren’t going to be made themselves. During the election, one of most important segments of Obama’s agenda was jobs for American citizens; he is clearly off to a great start. As much as i think budget cuts for our ever-expanding country is a good idea considering the increasing debt that the U.S has been struggling with, it is difficult to establish what is more important, that aspect, or employment. For our country to get going in the right direction again, i think that jobs are a crucial part in taking making that big step. Only time will tell to see whether or not sequestration is a good idea or not, but i personally think that jobs should come first and that increasing the unemployment rate is only going to take the U.S further from where it wants to be.

  13. 4mary says :

    This is really frustrating. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you can’t be happy with how your party has handled this situation. If it’s such an awful thing, why isn’t either side willing to compromise? You would think that if this was all as bad as the media makes it out to be leaders would be happy with a “less bad” outcome (which would be a compromise). If it really is as bad as it seems, then it’s just selfish of people to be this stubborn and it’s certainly NOT for the betterment of the country. We need our politicians to work for us, not their own careers.

  14. emmar4 says :

    I agree with Mary– I think that a lot of the blame should be put on our Congressmen as well as on the president. It definitely is not okay that Obama has yet to meet with any Republican leaders, but also why haven’t any congressmen come forward and propose a deal or meeting or form a group to work this out? Both sides need to reach out, especially when this sequester will seriously hurt the workforce. As to the firefighters, policemen, etc. that Obama brought on stage with him, I think it proves a point (and a point Obama that needs to take into account as well). The point that they prove is that congressmen shouldn’t be working for their own careers, like Mary said, but for the people and for the workers up on that stage. If congressmen didn’t have to worry about constantly pleasing constituents, then maybe more would go out of their comfort zones and reach across the isle to help fix this problem.

  15. sarahb7 says :

    This is not the fault of either party, rather, the fault of extreme partisanship and lack of willingness to cooperate. I think sequestration is inevitable at this point, and a shock like that is maybe what our country needs to make the party leaders realize that they have to act. If budget cuts are going to occur, as I think they definitely should regardless of whether they are forced to take place by the deadline set by Congress, I think that the government has to look carefully at which areas they cut from, because I’d rather see some “wasteful” government programs go before Congress cuts budgets in critical things like defense and education.

  16. katiepetrino4 says :

    I agree with Christina. Though Obama is likely to take the blame for this sequestration, the blame should be placed on Congress. This was a purely political action to help Republicans during election season and gave no thought to the American people. Spending cuts are necessary, but they need to come from reforming programs. This brinkmanship on both sides of the aisle is completely unacceptable. And I will say that it is also unacceptable that there have been few or no meetings between Speaker Boehner and President Obama. The intransigent attitude in Washington right now is toxic.

  17. Jonas1 says :

    Some might point fingers at Obama, but I think Congress is to blame if the cuts go through. The President only has so much power. He cannot singlehandedly fix this problem nor can he possibly negotiate with such an uncooporative Congress. I think we definitely need to cut back our spending, but blindly slashing at the budget isn’t the way to go about it. Congress should really look at what we need and what we don’t in order to come up with a reasonable compromise. What should be a pragmatic, cooperative process has turned into a game of threats and politics. We know we’re in trouble when Congress can’t even fix the problems it creates.

  18. langston4 says :

    I agree with Sarah mostly, except I place the blame on both parties. Neither party has willingly tried to cooperate with the other and this is the result. While I believe that budget cuts are necessary, the government must thoroughly go through the budget and make cuts in less important areas that could be considered “wasteful spending” instead of cutting important things like education, and Congress and the President really need to come together with a willingness to cooperate and compromise with each other to fix this issue.

  19. Chad4 says :

    I think both the President and Congress are to blame if the sequester takes place. I think the President is to blame because I believe he is taking the possible effects of the sequester out of proportion. Now, that doesn’t mean that I believe that the sequester is a good thing or should take place. I think Congress is to blame for passing laws that made these cuts something that is even possible. I believe that Congress should come to a deal where cuts do take place, but not as many should happen at one time.

  20. Chad4 says :

    I think both the President and Congress are to blame if the sequester takes place. I think the President is to blame because I believe he is taking the possible effects of the sequester out of proportion. Now, that doesn’t mean that I believe that the sequester is a good thing or should take place. I think Congress is to blame for passing laws that make these cuts something that is even possible. I believe that Congress should come to a deal where cuts do take place, but not as many should happen at one time.

  21. mattgiannottione says :

    I believe that this sequestration needs to happen in order to wake up the country. Congress has been pushing this back in the fiscal cliff deal and if it is postponed again, what’s to stop it from being pushed ahead again and again? Sure it will be nasty and will hurt the country, but what we need if for things like this to never happen again. What I would like to think is that when Congress surveys the damage of this sequestration, it will frighten them to the degree that they will try everything they can to prevent another one from happening. As necessary as these deadlines and looming threats are, it is depressing that partisanship has lead to this devolution in cooperation. I know that congressional approval ratings are almost irrelevantly low, but imagine the numbers once this happens. There will be more than just cries for change; something has to be done about this.

  22. molly4 says :

    I understand the desire to point fingers; isn’t it easier to find a scapegoat than a solution? But playing the “whose fault is it” game is neither productive nor necessary. It is time to stop arguing along party lines and produce a pragmatic solution to the economy. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to find a permanent fix, rather than half-assing another deal.

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