Apocalypse Now? Seven Stats Illustrating Why Sequestration Isn’t a Huge Deal

As budget sequestration approaches, the White House has been on an all-out fear-offensive, claiming that should the cuts occur, Congress (i.e. Republicans) will be responsible for “devastating” cuts in emergency services, airport security, teachers, child-care, cancer screenings, border patrol agents, prison funding, etc. White House narrative summarized: Apocalypse.

A more rational analysis of the federal budget paints a calmer picture.  Despite all the hype, surprisingly little will change after sequestration takes effect on March 1. There will be a few minor cuts here and there, but overall, Congress will continue to spend more money than it has available and federal spending will continue to grow dramatically over time. Take these statistics:

1) Sequestration would only trim $85 billion from an overall budget of $3.6 trillion in fiscal year 2013 (of which approximately $900 billion will be deficit spending).  The cut amounts to approximately 2.4 percent of the current budget and is only about .5 percent of the $16 trillion U.S. GDP.

2) Even after sequestration, federal spending will continue to increase by nearly $2 trillion over the next decade.  Sequestration doesn’t cut spending; it merely slows the growth rate of projected spending.

3) Although sequestration will reduce the Defense budget by $492 billion over ten years, Defense spending will still climb 17 percent during that same period despite the scheduled draw down of operations in Afghanistan.

4) The budget of the Department of Transportation, which includes the Federal Aviation Administration, has grown 67 percent since 2008 (actually 548 percent between 2008 and 2010 if you include federal stimulus spending). After sequestration, DOT would be forced to cut $1 billion from its 2013 budget, which is still more than it spent in 2012.

5) The budget of the Department of Agriculture grew 16 percent between 2010 and 2013 to $155 billion. After sequestration, the Department’s 2013 budget is likely to be reduced by $1.9 billion. If the agency is looking for items to cut, President Obama’s proposed budget allocated $6.1 billion of the Department’s discretionary appropriations on renewable and clean energy “investments.”

6) The budget of the Department of Energy has grown 10 percent since 2008. If DOE was forced to cut its 2013 budget by 3 percent, the reduction would roughly equal the tax-payer losses from the Department’s loan to failed solar panel company Solyndra.

7) The budget of the Department of Education has grown 18 percent since 2008. A 2.5 percent cut in 2013 would reduce funding from President Obama’s proposed budget by approximately $1.7 billion. The Department’s “Head Start” program, an ineffective program according to several studies, currently costs $8 billion a year.

The impending budget sequestration has been called reckless, shameful and, most creatively, a “doomsday machine.”  In actuality, those are all great words to describe the nation’s current fiscal trajectory, even after sequestration.

Comments

Polititainment

Jenner comes out as trans, Republican
Former Olympian and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star Bruce Jenner finally revealed that he identifies as a woman in his Friday night “20/20″ interview with Diane Sawyer, but it was a different announcement that had viewers freaking out. Sawyer asked if Jenner cheered when President Obama became the first president to even say the […]
Waka Flocka Flame endorses Hillary

Just days after announcing his own candidacy for president in 2016, Waka Flocka Flame is endorsing Hillary Clinton for the White House. The Atlanta rapper said during a recent interview with MTV News that he will vote for Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Obama honors New England Patriots

President Obama honored the Super Bowl Champion football team on the South Lawn, kicking off his remarks with a joke about the team's long since past "Deflate Gate" controversy.

Olivia Wilde endorses Hillary Clinton

Actress Olivia Wilde is "excited" by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The film star, who campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, expressed her enthusiasm for the "political discussions" that result from election season during a recent interview with The Daily Beast.

Robert Downey Jr. walks out of interview

Robert Downey Jr. cut short a recent interview with British Channel 4 News reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy when the journalist questioned the actor about a past statement regarding how being imprisoned impacted his political beliefs.

2016

Sen. Cornyn worried about Clinton transparency

On Jan. 20, 2009, the U.S. Senate was poised to nominate then-Senator Clinton as secretary of State by a unanimous consent vote, but Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Tex.) objected, temporarily thwarting Clinton’s nomination.

Jeb Bush is on the Paleo diet

Jeb Bush is slimming down ahead of his likely 2016 bid for the White House. The former governor of Florida has lost about 30 pounds on the Paleo diet since December, according to a report in The New York Times.

NYT reporter: Hillary calls everything 'off-limits'

New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday that Hillary Clinton ahead of her run for president in 2016 is dismissing every critical report about her as illegitimate and "off-limits."

Seth Meyers defends Hillary Clinton

Seth Meyers defended Hillary Clinton during Thursday's episode of "Late Night," dismissing allegations about the former secretary of State that will be laid out by the forthcoming anti-Clinton book "Clinton Cash."

Rick Perry disagrees with Christie on pot

Rick Perry is against legalizing marijuana--but, unlike Chris Christie, wouldn't "crack down" on states that choose to legalize.

Policy

Obamacare brings growth in food stamp enrollment
CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves. New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit […]
DC gets mad at Gowdy and Buck over gun photo

Reps Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) just dodged a run-in with the D.C. authorities.

The danger of policing through Facebook

These days, everything happens on social media--including solving crime.

Police seized 11-yr-old for defending legal pot

One Kansas school apparently found a child's earnest defense of marijuana legalization so threatening they called the police on his mother.

Support for Obamacare hits surprising high
Support for Obamacare has hit a two-year high, despite the tax season surprises that followed the law this year. According to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Tuesday, the percentage of people who say they support the healthcare law is greater than those who oppose it for the first time since the fall of 2012. […]