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Please remind me: Whose idea was the sequester again?

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-01-13 06:06 AM
Original message
Please remind me: Whose idea was the sequester again?
Edited on Sun Sep-01-13 06:25 AM by No Elephants
As you may recall, the attempt to reach a Grand Bargain failed. Among those who supposedly did not want to go along with cuts to entitlement programs was then Senator John Kerry. Kerry never made it to the Presidency, but he recently made it to his second choice post, Secretary of State.

Upon failure of the Grand Bargain, the sequester went into effect. As you may recall, the sequester was the stick that was supposed to force both Republicans and Democrats into a Grand Bargain. The theory behind the stick supposedly was that Democrats would not be able to bear the thought of cutting "entitlements," (snort) while Republicans would not be able to bear the thought of cutting the defense budget.

Well, guess what? Both sides overcame their supposedly unbearable thoughts. And, an across the board cut supposedly went into effect, "across the board cuts" being denounced by almost everyone as the most stupid way to cut the budget.

Then ensued a debate about who had initiated the idea of the sequester, with Republicans claiming that it had been the WH, while the WH claimed that it had been Republicans. The White House denied that it had been the White House. Then, someone in the WH emailed that he had done it. The "least dishonest" explanation of the earlier WH denials was that the WH had not proposed the sequester in the exact form in which it had ultimately been adopted. (Is anything ever enacted in the exact form in which it is first proposed?)

Soooo, in googling something else this morning, I accidentally happened upon this AP story, last updated November 13, 2009, in a 2009 post, right here on DU, by a poster named Steven Johnson.

Here is a link to his post. The link that he gave in the post now leads nowhere. However, the link following the excerpt below link leads you to the same AP story as Steven Johnson quoted in his post.

The Obama administration has alerted domestic agencies to plan for a freeze or even a 5 percent cut in their budgets, part of an election-year election-year push to rein in record deficits that threaten the economy and Democrats' political prospects next fall.


White House budget director Peter Orszag said Friday that it is imperative to start curbing the flow of red ink in coming years so as not to erode the fledgling economic recovery and raise interest rates. But he called it a balancing act and said acting too fast could undercut the recovery. Orszag wouldn't comment on the specifics of the upcoming budget, which will be unveiled in February, right after Obama's State on the Union address in which the initiative is sure to be a major focus.

Democratic officials in the White House and on Capitol Hill say options for locking in budget savings include caps on the amount of money Congress gets to distribute each year for agency operating budgets. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to frankly discuss internal deliberations.

"As part of that fiscal 2011 budget, we will be putting forward proposals that will put us back on a fiscally sustainable path and that have lower deficits," Orszag said in a recent Associated Press interview. "I'm not going to get into the mix between spending and revenues. Obviously deficit reduction requires some combination of those two." Excerpts from the story are below.

See, all you doubters? He (or someone advising him) does indeed know how to play fourteen dimensional chess. Trouble is, we're the ones it gets played against. Put another way, we're the ones being played.

But, you knew that long before now, right?
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-01-13 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. As far as whether Obama's motives were indeed to help Democrats in midterms,
check out this article, also from November 2009:

As Obama administration focuses on deficits instead of jobs, Democratic majority circles the drain
by: Chris Bowers
Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 16:09

Quick thought experiment--which of the following two scenarios would put Democrats be in a better position for the 2010 midterm elections?

Shrinking deficits, with stagnating unemployment;

Shrinking unemployment, with stagnating deficits.

You would have to be living in a pretty walled-off, abstract world to think that voters care more about the deficit than unemployment. Not only should the far greater importance of jobs be obvious on a gut level to anyone with a job in politics, but polling currently shows more than three times as many people citing jobs and the economy as the top national issue than cite spending and the deficit.

In order for Democrats to avoid a Republican landslide in 2010, creating jobs is far more important than reducing the deficit. This is especially the case given that unemployment is not expected to drop at all until next summer, at the earliest. If you think polling is worrying for Democrats now, and you would have good reason to think that it is, imagine what the polls will look like after another eight or nine months of 10% unemployment. Wipeout city.

Gee, Bowers did not even have to wait for 2010 midterms, or for 2013, when a 28 year old UMass grad student exposed champions of austerity, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. (I again remind you that I believe the true, and only, function of economists is to let us know how justified our leaders are.)

So, there is Obama's 5% across the board cut proposal floated in 2009, and here is a 2013 article saying Reinhart and Rogoff became famous in 2010. Hmmmm. do you suppose there's a connection between those two things?

As an aside: Oddly enough, the alternet site offers many negative articles about Obama. Yet, whenever I go to the site, the site asks me to sign some internet petition or another that supports Obama. Today, it was "I heart Obamacare." snort

:wtf: do you suppose that is all about?

(Putting aside that signing an internet petition is the biggest joke on internet users that I can think of.)

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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-01-13 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The Reinhart and Rogoff coding error
was no error at all. That's my suspicion anyway. They got the results they wanted all along.

There is so much deception going on. I would like to understand the motive behind pushing all the wealth to the already wealthy. But we never will get the whole story. We can never know for certain who is misleading us and who is being honest and why. Is the nation's surveillance-propaganda mechanism under the direction of ideologues that believe poor people just aren't working hard enough? Are those in control little more than misguided modern day versions of Charles Dickens characters? Are they just characters in a government subsidized think tank that believe they know what is best for us?

You wonder about Alternet? Me too. I wonder about all of it. I am suspicious of all internet and print media information sources. I have a special dislike for those in my party that are righties masquerading as liberals, like the third way assholes.

Then there are the full time employees and professional misinformationists that infest internet message boards. They are on full display on DU3. These professional misinformationists existed from the very earliest days of the internet. Were misinformation and surveillance the original motives for creating the internet? My only question is, are tax payers paying the wages of these actors? I suspect tax payers are actually paying for their own misinformation. And to what end? We are already beaten. What is "their" motive? Do they want to pulverize us into dust under their Fascist boot heels? They do seem to have a special disdain for "useless eaters" just as their ideological brethren, the 20th Century Nazis. Do they even recognize that they are little more than better funded modern day Nazis?
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-01-13 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Well, Reinhart and Rogoff re-affirmed their position after the error was pointed out
and nations of the world, including the US, still talk and act as though no one ever pointed out no stinkin' error.

I would like to understand the motive behind pushing all the wealth to the already wealthy]/div]

I think pushing all the wealth to the wealth pretty much ensures that those who cannot do with even less money than they have now will die off, either quickly or slowly. Cutting home heating fuel subsidies and pretending food costs should not be included in cost of living increases for OASDI sounds to me like a death sentence.

Take people who are elderly and disabled and already weakened by living on a subsistence level. See to it that they have even less to live on. And maybe even less access to medical care. (Seniors and the disabled who worked enough quarters are eligible for Medicare. But, what about seniors and the disabled who are not eligible for Medicare?) Do the math.

Lots of benefits to that approach. Helps the federal budget. Not so many receiving OASDI, SSI, etc. Cutting excess population helps the environment, too, without imposing more regulations on the job creators. Win win.

(Does anyone even enforce the regulations we already have?)

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