Texas Republicans: "Sequester Shmequester!"

Categories: Politics

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Senator John Cornyn, one of many Texas Republicans dismissing looming sequester cuts.
The $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday -- assuming Congress doesn't reach an alternative deficit reduction deal -- was designed to be so stupid and indiscriminately painful that any rational human being would do whatever possible to avoid it.

But rationality is not Congress' strong suit, which is why the U.S. government is about to speed off this particular cliff without even tapping the brakes. Instead, discussions have devolved into a partisan blame game that has all the maturity of a middle-school brawl with none of the entrainment value.

In a last-minute attempt to force a compromise, the White House released a state-by-state breakdown of the sequester's impact. In Texas, the cuts would fall most heavily on the military ($275 million in cuts to Army installations) and education ($119 million less for public schools and special education), though seniors, the poor, environmental initiatives would also suffer.

But with the deadline fast approaching and no deal on the horizon, Texas Republicans are promulgating a new message: The cuts really aren't that bad..

U.S. Senator John Cornyn told Fox News that Obama is using the sequester as a way "to scare people in order to grow the size of government."

He elaborated yesterday on Facebook:

Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year, and 30% more than it spent in 2007. Government spending on nondefense discretionary programs will be 19.2% higher and spending on defense will be 13.8% higher than it was in 2007.

The always colorful Steve Stockman, a House member from the Houston area, has penned an ongoing Twitter jeremiad downplaying Obama's sequester threats as a scare tactic.

"Once it passes and the next day the sun comes up and people still have water and they still have children, it's going to be an interesting take," he told the National Review.

The Republicans' rationale for dismissing the sequester threat is effectively summed up in an op-ed by Brooke Rollins, who heads the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank in Austin:

Texas' portion of the cuts looks impressive: some $334 million--until one considers that Texas is due to spend $92.5 billion in the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. This means that sequestration threatens to reduce Texas' budget by 0.36 percent--about one-third of one percent.

In addition, the Department of Defense would see cuts of about $275 million in Texas, furloughing 52,000 workers for a total reduction of about $5,300 per worker.

As a portion of Texas' $1.33 trillion economy, the $334 million of threatened cuts in federal state government funding and $275 million in defense expenditures amounts to 0.046 percent, or less than five-hundredths of one percent of the economy.

Such sentiments aren't limited to Texas, either. There's a sizable contingent of elected officials in Washington who think that sequestration will be neutral, even good, which doesn't bode well for a last-second compromise.


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32 comments
holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. - George Will

I hope America fails - President Obama

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

I blame Bob Woodward for yanking back the curtain and revealing the great and powerful Obama "let no crisis go to waste" machine

NOWiGETit
NOWiGETit

So let me get this straight, Congress fails to renew the payroll tax, effectively increasing everyone's taxes by 2% and they sell it as small.  An adjustment that families just have to get used to.  We ask our gov't to simply decrease the rate at which they're increasing spending (not even a cut) and THAT'S a big deal?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I'm curious as to how one goes about figuring the entrainment value of a middle school brawl, much less how one would find the entrainment value of political blame games in order to form a comparison of the two.  One has to wonder, are these DART trains, Freight Trains, Amtrak?

jason008
jason008

I'm still waiting for true spending cuts. This is just a decrease in the rate of increase of spending. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I am appalled the press continues to carry the water for the thugs in the White House.  We will spend $15 Billion more than we did last year even after these piddling cuts, and ICE just released hardened criminals onto the public before the cuts take place.  Who ordered that release? 

When these criminals kill someone the White House hopes to politically profit at the mid-terms.  Fear. 

Shut down airline traffic.  Fire teachers (a state and local issue). Shut down meat inspectors . . . these threats are outrageous.  

The CBO projects the cost of the federal government during the 10-year budget period from 2014-2023 to be $47.2 trillion.  Sequestration generates automatic cuts for each of nine years, FY 13-21, totaling $1.2 trillion. It reduces the cost of government by less than one percent.  And it's not even a cut in spending, but a reduction in the projected base-line increase in spending from 6.7% per annum to around 5%. 

It does not touch Entitlements.  Only “discretionary” spending and Defense. 

And it’s back loaded.  The big cuts only happen in later years.  For this calendar year, we are only talking $22 Billion in cuts on 3.7 TRILLION spent – far more than we spent last year.  A rounding error.  Where is the $3.7 TRILLION we are borrowing and spending THIS year?  

Press – give it up.  The guy is a Lame Duck.  It doesn't matter anymore.  It’s ok to now start rebuilding your objectivity again.  

Unless you are worried about his legacy.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

With all the numbers being bandied about, the best I can tell is that there will be a 2-5% decrease in federal spending across the affected areas under the sequester.  That is the equivalent of losing 1-2 hours pay per week for the average worker.  You dial back on the "frivolous stuff" and keep going.

smithjosh
smithjosh

Wait a second - no alarmism over how draconian and painful these cuts are going to be from the Observer? Did they really just recite the facts and let people decide on their own? Sorry for trolling, but I'm shocked. I'm sure there will be a Schutze article soon about how the sequester was designed to make Preston Hollow people wealthier while screwing the old and sick.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Battle over the debt ceiling in 2011; the Fiscal Cliff of 2012; the Sequestration 2013.  What the hell next?

ruddski
ruddski

Time for Dear Leader to seize the National Checkbook, declare martial law and save us.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx ice released zero hardened criminals, thus far, these appear empty   Of course the federal budget doubled on Bush's watch, there should be ample areas to cut

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@holmantxI don't disagree with anything here, just have a question on this point:  "The CBO projects the cost of the federal government during the 10-year budget period from 2014-2023 to be $47.2 trillion.  Sequestration generates automatic cuts for each of nine years, FY 13-21, totaling $1.2 trillion. It reduces the cost of government by less than one percent. "  1.2 trillion is actually 2.5% of 47.2 trillion.  Sure it's splitting hairs, but at those values, the hairs being split are close to Redwood girth.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I'll tell you what won't be next -- Harry Reid won't do his constitutional duty and put a budget up for vote in the Senate, just like he hasn't done for the last 1400 days.  (That's over 3 and a half years.)

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@scottindallas @holmantx What budget?  

Here are some categories of detainees who were released from ICE detention over the last week:

Aliens convicted of drug offenses, theft, identity theft, forgery, and simple assault;

Aliens who were arrested and charged with local crimes, but turned over to ICE for deportation in lieu of prosecution;

Aliens who were bonded out on local criminal charges and were placed in ICE custody as a result of a detainer (typically a public safety or flight risk); under new ICE detention priority purposes, these are "non-mandatory, non-criminal detainees", because aliens are not considered to be dangerous or criminal until they have been convicted;

Repeat immigration offenders (despite ICE leadership claims that these are "enforcement priorities"); and

Recent border crossers (also supposedly an "enforcement priority").

Among those released in the past week was Anthony Orlando Williams, 52, a Jamaican immigrant who spent nearly three years in a detention center in Georgia.  He was detained in 2010 by a sheriff's deputy in Gwinnett County, Ga., when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse.

ICE has released thousands.

ICE spokespersons have taken pains to point out that all of these ex-detainees are still in deportation proceedings, but the reality is that there is much less chance that they will be sent home now, even if the courts ever get around to their cases, because many of them (especially the worst offenders) will simply disappear instead of attending their immigration court date. Currently, there are 850,000 people in the United States who have been ordered removed but who are still living here, according to ICE. The number of absconders has gone up 50 percent since 2008, no doubt due to these catch-and-release policies.

When they kill, it's Republicans' fault.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @holmantx  $22 Billion cut this fiscal year on discretionary spending is less than 1%% $3.7 Trillion spent this fiscal year.

I am assuming the rest will be tossed on the basis it's just too painful.

I think the Fear and the blame it will inflict upon the Republicans will work and they will cave.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@holmantx Ahh ok, I see.  Your budgetary math is spot on, just your writing and organization is lacking.

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