Life after sequester

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In chronicling potential local impacts of the “sequester” (“Sequester pressure”, March 1, 2013), the Sentinel’s companion editorial (“Life after sequester”) ignored its origins.

In July 2011, Republicans threatened our “full faith and credit” by manufacturing a “debt ceiling” crisis – demanding trillions of dollars in deficit reduction and sabotaging economic recovery.  Democrats sought matching revenue increases; Republicans refused.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 “kicked the can down the road” – first, to the so-called “Super Committee”, then – if the committee failed to reach agreement (as it did)—to the “fiscal cliff” on January 1, 2013.  In the meantime, Speaker Boehner claimed that he’d gotten 98% of what he wanted in the “sequester” deal – because President Obama (who has reduced annual deficits every year he’s been in office) agreed to $1.2 trillion in cuts.

In November 2012, voters clearly favored President Obama’s “balanced approach”, but Republicans remained intransigent.  The last minute “fiscal cliff” deal gave the President only 50% of the additional revenues he’d requested, but delayed “sequester” to March 1, 2013 – in hopes that Congress would come to its senses by then.  It didn’t.

Congress faced three choices – “do no harm” (by simply repealing sequestration), imposing mindless “meat cleaver” cuts on all discretionary spending and the military budget, or enact the tax reforms everyone previously agreed would raise needed revenue.

As a percent of GDP, the bulk of our national debt was created by the economic policies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush.  The more recent burgeoning of our debt is a direct result of the 2009 “depression” inherited by President Obama.

As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified to the Senate Banking Committee this week, the most cost-effective long-term approach is to raise revenue now to invest in economic growth (job creation).  That’s precisely what President Obama has proposed – and what Republicans obstinately reject.

                Bill Hugenberg

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