“This is not going to be a apocalypse, I think as some people have said. It’s just dumb. And it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt individual people and it’s going to hurt the economy overall.” — President Obama, at a press conference on Friday, March 1, 2013.
“Let’s make it clear that the president got his tax hikes on January 1. This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over.” — John Boehner, at a press conference on Friday, March 1, 2013.
Ezra Klein: “The bottom line on American budgetary politics right now is that Republicans won’t agree to further tax increases and so there’s no deal to be had. This is not a controversial perspective in D.C.: It’s what Hill Republicans have told me, it’s what the White House has told me, it what Hill Democrats have told me. The various camps disagree on whether Republicans are right to refuse a deal that includes further tax increases, but they all agree that that’s the key fact holding up a compromise to replace the sequester. There’s no deal even if Obama agrees to major Republican demands on entitlements. There’s no deal because Republicans don’t want to make a deal that includes taxes, no matter what they get in return for it.”
Boehner to David Gregory: “I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved.” House Speaker John Boehner told NBC News there “is no easy way to stop the budget cuts — known as the ‘sequester’ – that began taking effect Friday night, and voiced uncertainty over how Washington can solve the overall fiscal problems that have consumed the nation’s politics for more than two years.”
Seems pretty easy to me: close the damn tax loopholes for the rich and powerful for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Don’t pretend it’s so hard. On the other hand, CLEARLY Boehner has lost control of his caucus.
In a 83-page letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the Office of Management and Budget details the specific reductions each government program will face. Here are the dumbest and most painful cuts:
Health care – 4
- $20 million cut from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs
- $10 million cut from the World Trade Center Health Program Fund
- $168 million cut from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- $75 million cut from the Aging and Disability Services Programs
Housing – 5
- $199 million cut from public housing
- $96 million cut from Homeless Assistance Grants
- $17 million cut from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
- $19 million cut from Housing for the Elderly
- $175 million cut from Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Disaster and Emergency – 6
- $928 million cut from FEMA’s disaster relief money
- $6 million cut from Emergency Food and Shelter
- $70 million cut from the Agricultural Disaster Relief Fund at USDA
- $61 million cut from the Hazardous Substance Superfund at EPA
- $125 million cut from the Wildland Fire Management
- $53 million cut from Salaries and Expenses at the Food Safety and Inspection Service
Obamacare – 5
- $13 million cut from the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program (Co-ops)
- $57 million cut from the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control
- $51 million cut from the Prevention and Public Health Fund
- $27 million cut from the State Grants and Demonstrations
- $44 million cut from the Affordable Insurance Exchange Grants program
Education – 5
- $633 million cut from the Department of Education’s Special Education programs
- $184 million cut from Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
- $71 million cut from administration at the Office of Federal Student Aid
- $116 million cut from Higher Education
- $86 million cut from Student Financial Assistance
Immigration – 3
- $512 million cut from Customs and Border Protection
- $17 million cut from Automation Modernization, Customs and Border Protection
- $20 million cut from Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology
Security – 4
- $79 million cut from Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance
- $604 million cut from National Nuclear Security Administration
- $232 million cut from the Federal Aviation Administration
- $394 million cut from Defense Environmental Cleanup
Republicans, who refused to raise any additional revenue to avoid the budget cuts, have described the reductions as “modest” a “homerun” and something that “needs to happen” in order to “get this economy rolling again.”
In his weekly radio and Internet address, [President Obama] argued there was still time to find a smarter solution to the nation’s debt problem.
“I still believe we can and must replace these cuts with a balanced approach – one that combines smart spending cuts with entitlement reform and changes to our tax code that make it more fair for families and businesses without raising anyone’s tax rates,” Obama said.
He said the budget deficit now exceeding $1 trillion can be reduced without laying off workers or forcing parents and students to pay the price. “A majority of the American people agree with me on this approach – including a majority of Republicans,” the president argued. “We just need Republicans in Congress to catch up with their own party and the rest of the country.”
How will it “get resoved” for Boehner? When the minority of base-rubes who support the Idiot Brigade section of the Republican-led House start feeling it personally:
During the first full week of March every year, the mountain passes of Yellowstone National Park rumble with the sounds of hulking snow plows operated by two dozen, mostly seasonal workers. This month, the plows will be silent. The costly and complex road-clearing operation that was scheduled to start on Monday will be postponed this year because of the U.S. government’s across-the-board budget cuts known as the “sequester,” which took effect on Friday.
Park managers have to trim $1.75 million from Yellowstone’s $35 million annual budget, which will delay the opening of most entrances to America’s first national park by two weeks. Park managers will give more details on Monday. [...] In staunchly conservative Wyoming — where legislators just cut most state agency budgets by 6.5 percent despite virtually no state debt and more than $15 billion in savings — the across-the-board federal cuts are raising questions.
Residents who depend on tourism for a living are already complaining to the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation, which is on record as supporting the cuts if it means the alternative is raising taxes. “I’m sorry, but in how this is affecting us, it doesn’t seem to me like it’s fiscally responsible,” Darby said. “Somebody needs to refigure this, or we need to get better advocates.”
Gosh! You think?