Sequester countdown — 23 days: Democrats propose fixes, Republicans rebuff fixes

Obama Proposes Short-Term Fix to Avert Sequester

President Obama called for a short-term fix to avert across-the-board spending cuts, Roll Call reports.

To give negotiators time to pass a broader deficit and budget package, the president is asking for “a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms to avoid the economically harmful consequences of the sequester for a few months. … While we need to deal with our deficits over the long term, we shouldn’t have workers being laid off, kids kicked off Head Start, and food safety inspections cut while Congress completes the process.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a statement opposing any new revenue increases to avert the sequester“President Obama first proposed the sequester and insisted it become law. Republicans have twice voted to replace these arbitrary cuts with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defense. We believe there is a better way to reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes. The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.”

Of course he did. Because the GOP prefers the sequester’s big defense cuts to any new tax revenue. The public doesn’t support that, just the GOP.

What kind of new tax revenues are Democrats and the President considering? Greg Sargent notes some sensible ideas that work.

In a nutshell, it outlines three stages of deficit reduction, two of which have already happened. The first: $1.7 trillion in spending cuts Dems agreed to as part of the 2011 debt ceiling deal that ultimately led to the sequester. The second: $737 billion in new revenues that Republicans agreed to as part of the fiscal cliff deal earlier this year.

The third stage is the key to the plan. It proposes to replace the $948 billion sequester with roughly the same amount in new revenues achieved by closing loopholes and deductions enjoyed by corporations and the wealthy. That makes a total of $3.3 trillion in deficit reduction when all three stages are taken together, evenly balanced between cuts and new revenues.

Meanwhile, the plan also invests in job creation — and pays for it by cutting defense spending. The total in defense cuts is $278 billion, which would then be plowed into infrastructure spending and other stimulus ideas in Obama’s American Jobs Act.

These are ideas which the GOP won’t even consider at the moment. Nope. The wealthy must be protected!  However, a majority of Americans DO support new revenue from the sources mentioned, irregardless of what the GOP says.

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Mark Thoma notes that the case for sequestration overlooks the significant deficit reduction measures that have already been passed“We have already cut around $1.5 trillion of spending from the budget… plus the $.5 trillion in tax increases in the ATRA, plus the $300 billion in interest savings amount to around a bit over $2.3 trillion in deficit reduction… to say we’ve made no progress at all is wrong and misleads about the urgency of finding further cuts.”

But, Out of Control Spending! (NOT)

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government is projected to run a deficit of just $845 billion in 2013. Furthermore, the deficit in 2014 may be as low as $616 billion.

[...] Republicans in the House will vote this week to require that the president balance the budget within five years, and the ironic thing is that, if they get out of the way, he may do so without their petty, symbolic resolutions.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, the GOP’s ‘ideas guy,’ is proposing a deficit-reduction plan that would require bigger cuts than the ones he ran on in the 2012 election.

Things which actually could use some major spending cuts:

Defense CEOs vs. Workers

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