PAINTER: Compromise needs to put an end to sequester

I can still remember my parents and grandparents talking about the Great Depression.
Mar 6, 2013

Of course, they lived through it. My parents were just kids, but they felt the sting of those difficult times.

They, like many parents who lived through the Depression, often reminded us kids “how good we have it.”

While their reminders registered with us, it wasn’t until I read Jonathan Alter’s book, “The Defining Moment,” did I realize how close our economy came to a complete collapse. Our democracy was in trouble.

Alter’s book touches on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days.

As many of us have read in history books, Roosevelt took office in 1933, the height of the horrible economic situation that was gripping the nation. Historians estimate that unemployment was as high as 80 percent in some areas. Business investments were down 90 percent from 1929. Banks were closing in droves.

Roosevelt swung into action on his very first day in office, declaring a “bank holiday,” in which all of the nation’s banks were closed for several days.

Some prominent Americans called on Roosevelt to assume the role of “dictator” so that he could push through his programs to turn the economy around.

Roosevelt instead chose to ignore the calls to become a dictator. He took the opposite direction, deciding to work with Congress to implement programs that were crucial to an economic recovery.

There are many safeguards in place to ensure that we never again endure another Great Depression. There are social programs to help the needy. Our money in banks is insured by the federal government. This means that, if a bank closes, we can still get our money. That wasn’t the case during the Depression.

Roosevelt and Congress steered our nation back on course. Democracy is alive and well because of them.

Fast-forward to 2013 and we have another crisis looming. Because President Obama and Congress were unable to reach a budget deal, $85 billion in deep, automatic budget cuts are taking place. This past weekend, many congressmen left Washington rather than trying to reach a last-minute budget deal. Both sides are blaming each other for the across-the-board budget cuts.

Therefore, automatic budget cuts were implemented.

Washington officials use the term “sequester” to describe the budget cuts. The term stands for a group of cuts to economic spending. The sequester plan was developed as an incentive to cut $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Because our leaders were unable to come up with a deal, some key programs face significant budget cuts. They include $42.7 billion in defense cuts, $28.7 billion in domestic programs cuts and $9 billion in Medicare cuts.

Americans will suffer because both sides are unwilling to compromise.

I know that there are many Americans who feel strongly that budget cuts are necessary. I won’t argue against their point. We need to reduce our budget deficit.

But, at the same time, the safety and welfare of Americans must be kept in mind. I just think it is imperative that the two sides get together and work out an agreement.

Roosevelt and Congress knew they had to do something to prevent an economic collapse. So why can’t our current president and Congress do the same?

While today’s situation isn’t nearly as grim as it was in the 1930s, Obama and Congress need to show the American people that they are working to help them. The sequester should be put to rest so that Americans can continue to prosper.

Roosevelt and his Congress worked too hard to turn things around. We don’t need to slip into economic chaos.

 

Comments

Boater

It's not like we aren't spending more money than we did last year. The cuts are in the increases. BO can (if he chooses) micro manage the cuts so it won't hurt the people. But he won't do that. He is trying to make a point because he over stated the effects of the cuts. The cuts constitute maybe 10 days of spending. Give me a break. We waste so much money, we over spend, and what the people need to understand is that Washington DC doesn't have any money... They take ours and spend it, foolishly, I might add.
We are told to do with less, but Government never does. That is wrong.
The same week as they announced they are not allowing tours of the White House because of budget restraints, Secretary of State Kerry is over in Egypt giving them $250,000,000.00 of our tax dollars. Tell me where that makes sense? We are do to with less, but Egypt gets more, of OUR money?

Vladtheimp

The operative words in the article are : "The term stands for a group of cuts to economic spending. The sequester plan was developed as an incentive to cut $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years." This description unfortunately leaves out a few salient facts: (1) That it was "President Obama who came up with the Sequester Plan; (2) as Boater noted, these are not "cuts" but "cuts in the rate of growth" already cooked into the government books; and (3) President Obama's "compromise" to alleviate the impact of his own plan is to raise taxes and make cuts. Let's go into the not so Way Back Machine: With everyone in Washington wee wee'd up over the Fiscal Cliff, President Obama campaigned incessantly for his Balanced Approach - tax increases on the rich and some unspecified tax cuts. He won the election and Republicans compromised, by agreeing to a tax increase on the wealthy while putting off what the tax cuts would be, if not the cuts in the Sequester. Now, having won a tax increase on the rich which President Obama signed on January 3, 2013 (actually, it was auto-penned since he was vacationing in Hawaii at the time), he has now proposed to get to the "cuts" portion of the "Balanced Approach" by --- raising more taxes on the so-called rich.

This is not a Compromise, this is more Presidential Prevarication (lying) by insisting on My Way or The Highway. And Len Painter wants compromise? How about Obama sticking to what he originally proposed, taking his already won tax increase on the rich and agreeing to reach the other part of his "Balanced Approach" by actually cut spending (He was happy to cut $750 Billion from Medicare to get Obamacare passed - surely he can find a paltry $85 billion from the bloated Washington bureaucracy! ) And remember, as an additional compromise, last week Republicans offered the President the authority to make smart "cuts" instead of the across-the-board Sequester approach - Obama threatened to veto it.

I would hope Len Painter has forgotten this history leading up to the budget "cuts" required by the Sequester rather than pushing for a non-compromise as defined by the White House.

Lanivan

Why does the term "creatio ex nihilo" comes to mind?....

Vladtheimp

Because, as is made even clearer in the Lanivan's additional post below, it is a physical and intellectual impossibility for an Obamaphile to grasp and admit the truth.

To quote the United Negro College Fund, A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.

Lanivan

I think a sequestration of your impalement is in order...

As a Rand Paulian, you apparently would have preferred Congress not raise the debt ceiling, which was the hostage the Republicans took to force Obama to sign (gee, Vlad, what was he wearing when he auto-signed?) the sequester. Republicans didn't want to pay the bills they themselves were largely responsible for creating. If we think the sequester will do damage (projections are that 700,000-2.14 million jobs will be lost in 2013 alone), just think how the world would spiral out of control if the US, for the first time ever, didn't pay it's bills.

Obama has already made over a trillion in spending cuts and has begun long-term deficit control. The sequester is just another way for Republicans to show their disdain for working people and the poor. Why did Obama sign it? Maybe he just decided to give the Republicans what they wanted.

As far as truth and wasted minds goes, more of the first and less of the latter would be nice, wouldn't it?

trangerfan

VERY WELL PUT! and to the point exactly!.. The problem in Washington is reflected exactly in the remarks by "V" .... Bigotry is alive and well in 2013!!.especially in Congress!
Referring to the President of the United States as "BO" and only by his last name is nothing more than another way of saying we don't like the color of your skin so you can't possibly be intelligent enough to make any decisions.
NOTE THE TOP STORIES ON RIGHTHAND COLUMN:. MOST TALKED ABOUT.
Racial Intimidation and Racism....
And we wonder why our children are having these issues in school? Look to the "intellectual" adults in their lives!

Vladtheimp

Can we please be at least honest in our analyses instead of using "Washington Speak" talking points to mislead everyone? Does anyone really believe a budget can be "cut" if you are spending more than you did before the "cut?" Ultimately, if one needs to mislead folks it is because their basic premise is false. Obama has not, in fact, "made over a trillion in spending cuts and has begun long-term deficit control."

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Obama's claim comes from comparing projected deficits to a baseline projection of the 2010 budget, allocated in 2009, excluding stimulus funds. Under the government's "baseline budgeting" rules, budgets are increased every year by around 6% to account for population growth and inflation. Ultimately the concept that government spending grows with inflation is not unreasonable, but it is often misused by politicians, leading to Newspeak situations where a spending increase in actual dollars can be called a "spending cut" if the increase is less than the preordained increase. Obama therefore can spend 2.5% more each year and claim that he's cutting spending by 3.5%. http://www.americanthinker.com/2...

Certainly, some people (and economists) believe in Keynesian theory that you spend more to get out of a recession. Some people also believe that it is more important to spend more now to take care of what they consider are basic human needs than to worry about the debt in the future. If you believe that, Lanivan, please simply confirm your beliefs instead of indulging in slight of hand to try to convince people that Obama has cut spending. He hasn't!

To respond to Peter56's well intended post, although he is correct about the tenor of some remarks, not necessarily in this thread, he is wrong about robust argument and debate, which is as American as Apple Pie - look at the political campaigns of the early republic. Permitting the other side of an argument to go unchallenged because of fear of being labeled as something is indeed self-censorship, and not a way of eventually getting to the truth. Political wrangling has nothing to do with racism and bigotry unless the arguments are on that specific topic - like whether members of all races can be guilty of bigotry and racism.

Lanivan

I'm not sure what is more offensive: Your questioning my honesty, my intelligence, your adept usage of the "Newspeak" of which you speak so derisively, or your insistence that Obama has not cut spending, when there is so much information showing he has indeed cut the deficit through spending cuts. My pick - all of the above.

I suppose it does get confusing when it is indeed the GOP that has the record of increased spending and decreased revenue, resulting in huge deficits. And then the current crop of your GOP chums are camping out in Washington, seemingly lacking the adult mind power to solve the problems they themselves created. Talk about sleight of hand!

But I'm sure your intent would never be to mislead when it comes to your president, now would it?

Vladtheimp

Since it appears that you actually believe the pap you repeat coming out of the Obama administration and the mainstream media, I was wrong to question your honesty and I apologize.

Lanivan

Of course I believe what I write....I respect my and others time, and do not write what I know to be false or not reflective of my beliefs. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com... Liberal pap to you, truth to me.

An early Happy St Patty's Day to you....have a few Irish bitters on me, in absentia! You deserve it.....

Vladtheimp

With all the talk of sequestration and its supposed “austerity on autopilot” (as characterized at Voice of America — your tax dollars at work against you), it’s useful to look at what has really been happening with federal spending over the past six years, something the establishment press is very reluctant to do.

On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released its February Monthly Budget Review ahead of the Treasury Department’s official report which will arrive early next week. It estimates that the federal government ran a one-month deficit of $205 billion. It also shows that year-to-date spending through five months of the government’s fiscal year is up by 2.7 percent, and is up even after adjustment for timing quirks...

The federal government has historically run deficits in February, but it’s useful to see how dramatically reported (and for 2013, estimated) February spending and deficits have risen in just the past six years, because it’s clear that the increase is almost entirely due to higher spending (all numbers are billions):

February 2007 — Spending, $240; Deficit, $120
February 2008 — Spending, $281; Deficit, $176
February 2009 — Spending, $281; Deficit, $193
February 2010 — Spending, $328; Deficit, $221
February 2011 — Spending, $333; Deficit, $223
February 2012 — Spending, $335; Deficit, $232
February 2013 (estimated) — Spending, $332; Deficit, $205
These days, the apparent definition of “austerity” is “trying to level off spending now that it’s almost 40% higher than it was just six years ago.” The press never, ever reports on how long-term spending has exploded, but instead assumes, as does the administration, that the current level of spending is the new normal, and that any attempt to reduce its growth trajectory will cause unspeakable hardship. http://directorblue.blogspot.com...

Lanivan

It's rough when your position is so weak, you must rely on others to come to your defense....

Lanivan

As a rebuttal to your obscure deficit copy and paste data, I offer the following sage advice from, following in your footsteps, Vlad, another (national) treasure, statesman and former Vice President Dick Cheney, and I quote verbatim, "Deficits don't matter".

Lanivan

The Great Depression was a real and terrible economic disaster that took years of recovery and bold government action. The Sequester is the exploitation of a manufactured crisis based on the theory that we actually have a deficit problem, and is the result of a group of extreme Republican, unprecedented hostage-taking in order to continue the fallacy.

I think we can all agree the deficit should be reduced over time, but coming out of the severe Recession of 2007-2009, our congressional leaders should be reading and learning everything they can about the Great Depression. A lesson they might learn is that government stimulus and job creation during a (current) weak economy is highly effective in getting people back to work, increase demand, and build up revenue.

Meanwhile, our sluggish economy now finds itself in an untenable situation with corporations sitting on $1.6 Trillion due to lack of demand, and an increase in unemployment and services due to the sequester.

A recent poll shows 70% of Americans support a balanced approach of raising taxes and cutting spending; 19% support spending cuts only. Maybe, as time goes on and the full effects of the sequester take hold, tens of thousands of people lose their jobs, and services are cut, our congressional leaders will begin to think compromise might be beneficial to the country after all,....or at least help them get re-elected.

EINSTEIN

I agree with Boater....we should quit giving our hard earned tax dollars to other countries. These gifts should be repayable loans if there is truly a need for our money. We should not be buying friendship. That is never a good policy. What really irks me is that we are giving money to countries that despise us and laugh at us for being so foolish. Giving monetary gifts,supplies, and services to our enemies is just plain stupid. Whoever makes these decisions should at least explain the reasoning behind this to the tax payers of our country.

Peter56

There is something more important here. It is the soul of our country it is being destroyed with every wedge driving comment and ugly polarizing statement we separate a little more. Unity has been lost because common decency is not so common anymore, giving someone the benefit of the doubt has become a sign of weakness, holding your tongue is censorship. If you wonder where our children come up with their racist and bigoted ideas they are not being imported they are already here.

LessThanAmused

Wow, thanks for the excellent post Peter, certainly food for thought first thing in the morning.

dyankee

Aww Peter, how wonderful. Why don't you start by grabbing LTA and both you dream warriors can begin spreading your message in downtown Muskegon Heights. Then, report back to us how fast your Subaru got you back to the safety of the draw bridge regardless, of the sweat pouring off your brow and the 4x normal breathing pattern you'll be experiencing.

MaHubah

Lanivan is the definiton of insanity. Keep repeating what does not work with hope for a different result. Tax and spend. Europe as our model. If Lanivans solution is to reduce our defecit over time, what length of time would be appropriate? Over 1 trillion dollar deficits every year since your Savior took office. Your "balanced approach" is just media talk straigt from the Oval Office. The GOP said your boy could cut wasteful spending as He saw fit, but he balked and chose the sequester which was his idea in the first place. Oh,ye hippocrates!

Lanivan

Clearly, you actually didn't read what I said, or you simply can not comprehend. I suggest you do some independent reading and research. For example, your comment "Europe as our model" as a tax and spend strategy is totally outdated prejudice - Europe is currently in the midst of deep austerity measures and growth has come just about to a standstill.

Check it out.....if you can handle the truth.

RenegadeX

Vladtheimp,

I'd like to think our paths have crossed, but please know what a regional treasure you are. These forums are often an electronic version of a stall at a highway rest stop with all the witless graffiti. Your intellect, wit and good manners are a refreshing contribution to what passes for "conversation" in these fora.

Thanks much for keeping it real!

dyankee

Agreed. Well said RenegadeX

Many of times, I find myself nodding with profound approval with the Impalers posts, occassionally yelling right on! Nailed it brother!(no pun intended)

Our Country, culture, and community faces an onslaught of concerns and attacks from Progressives everywhere that despise most everything America has stood for for nearly 240 years. It is refreshing to see one voice with the persuasion, intellect, and topic authority to dominate & educate young and old alike. Job well done Vladtheimp.

MaHubah

You know its bad when even SNL mocks Robin Hood.

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