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

Michael Bay might direct Benghazi movie

Bay, who has spent the last several years gaining popularity for his "Transformers" films, is reportedly in talks to direct the Benghazi film "13 Hours," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Holder wants Denzel to play him in movie

Holder spoke to The Hill about Hollywood and politics while at an event at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday that was hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Justin Amash envisions a libertarian Congress

Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian congressman from Michigan, knows that Congress is far from libertarian. But someday, he thinks that might change.

Rand Paul: The GOP's image ‘sucks’

Rand Paul didn’t mince words about the GOP.

Small college's students thrown into 2014 election

Young people tend not to engage much in the humdrum local politics that go into midterm elections. But what if it’s happening literally in their own backyard?

GOP senator: 'Sorry the government's so f***ed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made some self-deprecating jokes and colorful remarks about the state of the government during a recent private gathering, per a recording provided to CNN by South Carolina Democrats.

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.