The Sequestration Lies Just Keep on Coming

I’m one of those who is fine with the sequestration kicking in (no, I don’t think it will have some horrible impact on the economy), so all the absurd theater around it over the last few weeks is particularly amusing to me. But the baldfaced lies coming out of the Republicans have reached a fever pitch. And the Worldnutdaily, naturally, is acting as the megaphone for those lies:

Members of the GOP are charging today that President Obama may have been elected to the office, but simply isn’t doing his job, as the nation inched closer to the impact of mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts Obama created.

“I have never in my lifetime seen such a lack of leadership emanating from our president,” said U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, at a press conference today on the effects of Obama’s sequestration program on the military.

Have they read the Constitution? Do they know that only Congress can do anything to stop the sequestration because they control the budget, not the president? Or do they just count on their constituents not knowing that?

“Sequestration was the president’s idea over a year ago, when we tried to fix it, he said no…..now he says it’s Armageddon,” said McKeon.

Yeah, just like you all voted for it and now you say it’s Armageddon and it’s all Obama’s fault. And guess what? 218 Republicans voted for that deal; not a single Democrat did. And Buck McKeon? He voted yes.

U.S. Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, said, “Today the president has broken his promise to the American people” that sequester would not happen.

In allowing the sequestration to go through, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., said, “It is unconscionable what the president is doing.”

And Republicans control the House, where all spending bills originate. And they’ve done nothing about it (which, again, I regard as a good thing). The president cannot stop the sequestration deal from going through. Only Congress can do that. And that means you, even as you tell absurd lies like this. And Turner and Roby both voted for the sequestration deal.

Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C., detailed the effects of these cuts on defense, citing that “50 percent of the cuts are applied against defense.”

“The American people need to know that our defenses are at a low point,” he said. “We will have the fewest troops since 1939 in the Army and Marine Corps, we will have the fewest ships since 1916, we have the fewest aircraft since the air force was created in 1947.”

Wilson hopes the president can come to understand “peace through strength” and reconsider these cuts in the military.

Again, the president can’t reconsider anything. He’s against those cuts as well (ridiculously, as he emulates the Republicans and makes the idiotic claim that a tiny cut to our astonishingly bloated defense budget will harm national security). But I’ll give Joe Wilson credit; he was one of only 22 Republicans to vote no on the sequestration deal, along with every single Democrat in the House. That doesn’t excuse his lies here, but at least he’s being consistent in his opposition to the cuts.

Comments

  1. says

    And still spreading this obvious misinformation:

    “The American people need to know that our defenses are at a low point,” he said. “We will have the fewest troops since 1939 in the Army and Marine Corps, we will have the fewest ships since 1916, we have the fewest aircraft since the air force was created in 1947.”

  2. gshelley says

    Wilson hopes the president can come to understand “peace through strength” and reconsider these cuts in the military.

    He seems to be talking about a different Obama to the one in the Whitehouse. The real one is pretty much in love with the military and has been pushing the “these minor cuts to the vastly overinflated defence budget will be devastating” line

  3. says

    …no, I don’t think it will have some horrible impact on the economy…

    In itself, no, it won’t. As just one more part of the Republitarian campaign to defund and destroy our government, it’s having the (desired) effect of bringing America back to the early 1930s. If you don’t think that’s bad, you’re not paying attention.

  4. says

    Wilson hopes the president can come to understand “peace through strength” and reconsider these cuts in the military.

    I hope the Republicans can come to understand “peace through strength” and reconsider their longstanding babyish committment to keeping taxes ridiculously low.

  5. Randomfactor says

    but at least he’s being consistent in his opposition to the cuts

    I think the best solution to the sequestration would be to allow ONLY the defense cuts to go through. But that’s not going to fly.

  6. says

    The Republicans are trying to rewrite the sequester now, offering a plan that guts the stuff the Democrats wanted to protect while protecting the things Republicans wanted to protect.

    It’s completely ridiculous. They don’t know how to compromise. It’s “give us what we want or we’ll destroy the country.” It should be declared treason.

  7. Subtract Hominem says

    “The American people need to know that our defenses are at a low point,” [Wilson] said.

    YOU LIE!

  8. cry4turtles says

    Everything Boehner mumbled on Meet the Press could be boiled down to one sentence: “Obama wouldn’t do it OUR WAY!”

  9. says

    Finding lies repeated in a clearly biased source is one thing. The fact that they can lie so blatantly without apparent fear of being called out has me wondering just how poorly the mainstream media is handling it.

  10. says

    Cancel the F-35 strike fighter. There’s your sequestration right there. Done!
    Get the US out of Afghanistan. There’s another 10 years worth of budget savings right there. Done!
    Stop letting Exxon, Apple, Yahoo!, Caterpillar, Boeing, and other mega-corps pay no or extremely reduced taxes. Done!
    Tax capital gains as income. Done and done and done.

    Close a few bases. Fold up the empire. Done.

  11. says

    It’s “give us what we want or we’ll destroy the country.”

    It’s also “give us what we want or we’ll shoot ourselves in the face to make you look bad!” Uh, really? Go ahead, make my day.

  12. says

    has me wondering just how poorly the mainstream media is handling it.

    How poorly is there?

    Amazingly – the only decent sources for news nowadays are comedians.

  13. TGAP Dad says

    As for the impact on the economy (and, full disclosure, you will no doubt surmise that I am NOT an economist) it strikes me as yet another wound to an already battered economy, due to the tremendous shedding of public sector jobs over the last four years. Will this sequester pore the straw that breaks the economic camel’s back? I don’t know. What I do know is that a great deal of evil, of the right-wing, libertarian variety, can be done to the public under the guise of budget constraints. Schools can get squeezed, ramping up the pressure to privatize or charterize public education. Roads can fall into further disrepair, which in my neck of the woods, can result in some of them becoming impassable. And how many air traffic controllers can you eliminate before an airline catastrophe becomes imminent? And if it comes to pass, will the calamity be seen as the natural and expected product of years of squeezing budgets, or as a failure of the government, further fueling the privatization flames? Will the one dollar cut from a school budget be the one that finally galvanizes the teachers against the administrators, descending into union busting?

    This is my point: if your goal is ultimately the republican wet dream of busting the unions, and privatizing government functions, your best bet is to squeeze the budget. Is adding the sequester to the emaciated budgets enough to complete the plan? I don’t know, but some dominoes are already falling.

  14. says

    Cancel the F-35 strike fighter. There’s your sequestration right there. Done!
    Get the US out of Afghanistan. There’s another 10 years worth of budget savings right there. Done!

    This is silly. We NEED those! How will the Call of Duty/Battlefield games continue without new weapons, vehicles, and maps??

    Stop letting Exxon, Apple, Yahoo!, Caterpillar, Boeing, and other mega-corps pay no or extremely reduced taxes. Done!
    Tax capital gains as income. Done and done and done.

    Whoa! Those are the job creators! If they only make their billions of profits and not also get tax refunds, they will surely whither and die in short order. Then where will we be? Russia! That’s where!

  15. JasonTD says

    Ed wrote,

    Yeah, just like you all voted for it and now you say it’s Armageddon and it’s all Obama’s fault. And guess what? 218 Republicans voted for that deal; not a single Democrat did.

    Ed,

    You were corrected on this last week, if I remember correctly, as it was an earlier House vote that fit what you were saying, not the bill that actually became the Budget Control Act of 2011 – senate vote and House vote

    Both parties and the President own the sequester, period. And they both own any lack of progress in avoiding what they created.

  16. eric says

    I’m one of those who is fine with the sequestration kicking in (no, I don’t think it will have some horrible impact on the economy),

    The problem is that the sequestration does cuts in the most strategically irresponsible manner possible. It protects congressional pork and reduces the parts of budgets that department heads have control over. It should be the other way around: if you’re going to cut budgets, the way to make sure the money is being used wisely is to give department heads the leeway to restructure and replan their investments, top to bottom. It makes no sense to legislatively insist that the Department of Bongo build a new facility in Shelbyville that they never even requested, when you are simultaneously cutting their budget by 10%. It makes no sense to say “Bongo must still hire Bumpkin construction company for at least $10 million in work” when you are cutting $100 million from their budget. That sort of combination is going to drastically increase the percent of the budget which is wasted/useless/unhelpful to the country.

    So, I’m okay with an across the board budget cut. I’m not sure I’m okay with this across the board budget cut, because its not really ‘across the board’ – its selectively targeting the parts of the budget that actually have a strategic goal and focus. The parts which are competitively awarded to performers, rather than being giveaways. So this cut will lead to more relative waste, not less. Here’s an interesting take on the balanced budget amendment idea: pass a law that says any time a (future) sequestration takes place, the first things cut are earmarks and other congressionally specified appropriations. Department general funds are the last pots touched. I’d bet that with such a law in place, Congress would somehow find it within their power to pass a budget every single year, without fail.

  17. Jordan Genso says

    @15 JasonTD

    I remember someone correcting Ed on that point previously as well, so I’m glad you restated it, but if you think that both sides “own” the sequester, I disagree.

    One side has taken the position that a solution has to be a compromise. The other side has taken the position that a solution can not be a compromise. If a solution is not reached, how do you blame the side that is looking for a compromise? Is it that they should be blamed for not giving in 100% to the other side?

    If that is the position that you are taking, then you are contributing to the problem by rewarding the Republicans’ refusal to compromise. I think the Republicans would love it if the public opinion settled on the idea that both sides are to blame, since in reality, they are to blame (and it is difficult to avoid it), so they might as well try to make the other side look at fault as well.

    But if the public is smart enough to realize that one side is doing what we could hope our elected officials would do in this situation (be open to compromise), and therefore we can’t fault them for not doing anything different than we would ourselves, then these “crises” will stop being politically worthwhile for the Tea Party Republicans.

  18. Jordan Genso says

    Also, keep in mind why there was a vote on the sequester. The Republicans were holding the country hostage and were willing to “shoot” the hostage (by their own admission) regarding the debt ceiling in 2011. They were demanding a ransom, and the President, acting as the FBI negotiator (to take the analogy one step further) got them to agree to a “Supercommittee” that would come up with an appropriate ransom. And in order to incentivize the bipartisan group to agree to an acceptable ransom, the sequester was put in place as the “horrific consequences”* if they failed.

    Well, the Republicans weren’t willing to let the ransom be a compromise, so the “Supercommittee” failed, and the Republicans would rather let the sequester take effect than be open to closing tax loopholes in conjunction with better-designed spending cuts.

    JasonTD, at what point along this process do you think the Democrats could’ve done something differently that would absolve them of the blame you are placing on them?

    *I don’t personally know how to evaluate how bad the consequences of the sequester are, but it’s been marketed since its creation as something worth avoiding.

  19. says

    I think the Republicans would love it if the public opinion settled on the idea that both sides are to blame…

    Their lazy-assed chums in the media sure love it. Every time the issue comes up, it’s ALWAYS framed as “Congress/America is soooo divided!” and “Both sides are being partisan and refusing to compromise!” No mention of both sides’ actual positions, no discussion at all of which position might be more reasonable than the other — just a totally empty pretense of “evenhandedness” that allows them to cover for an almost unlimited amount of disgraceful actions.

  20. Doug Little says

    U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

    Well there’s your problem. Oh noes the defense budget is going to suffer some cuts 1!11!

  21. Doug Little says

    The American people need to know that our defenses are at a low point,” he said. “We will have the fewest troops since 1939 in the Army and Marine Corps, we will have the fewest ships since 1916, we have the fewest aircraft since the air force was created in 1947.”

    How many Drones do we have now verses any other time?

    I am actually amazed that they are still trying to use the argument of quantity over quality after it blew up in Romney’s face during the election. It would be similar to comparing 1 atomic bomb to thousands of regular bombs and coming to the conclusion that you are weaker with the atomic bomb.

  22. magistramarla says

    Ed – the sequestration is having a profound effect on some of our lives.
    My husband is looking at a 20% pay cut. He’s worked for the Federal government for over 30 years, 11 of those years in active duty.
    I’m disabled and can no longer teach, so his income is our only income. We have some debts from raising five children and some high medical bills for me. Unfortunately, the rank and file Federal workers don’t rate the great medical insurance that the House and Senate members give themselves.
    We’ve temporarily relocated for his job, so we’re also paying high rent in one state and a mortgage in another, since our renters are moving out of our home. We’re soon facing a 1700 mile move back to the house, and we’re unsure about how much help we will get with that move, since so many things are being cut.
    We live paycheck to paycheck, and those 20% lower paychecks aren’t going to cut it.
    The conservatives sneer about people like us having to deal with the cutbacks that people in the private sector have already been dealing with. Many years ago my husband decided to stay with his federal job, out of a sense of duty, and because he knew that we would have a steady income and benefits while raising our family, even though he could have made more money in the private sector.
    Now he is being punished for making that choice. We have had no COLA increase in three years, even though our rent and other costs have gone up. Now we’re facing a pay cut on top of it all.
    We are the perfect example of how the middle class is being punished, while the wealthy 1% gets all ot the breaks.

  23. freemage says

    Yeah, the comparison with militaries past just don’t make any sense at all. It’s like they think air warfare is still dogfights. Actually, that’s probably true–after all, it’s usually what you see in the movies, even now.

  24. siveambrai says

    #5 @RandomFactor The only problem I have with this idea is that when we do military cuts we don’t cut things like contracts with R&D groups, support for aging technologies, reduction of bases. No, we cut things like health benefits for veterans, support for troops currently fighting, living subsidies for their families, etc. So even though it cuts into the military budget it still ends up hurting people, often people who are in there because they didn’t have a lot of money and wanted a good job to support their families.

  25. freemage says

    The main take-away I’ve gotten from the debate is, “The sequestration is gonna suck, but it’s still gonna suck less than any budget the Republicans are willing to pass.”

  26. iangould says

    The problem with sequestration is that once you’ve removed mandatory expenditure like social security and interest on the national debt and “discretionary” expenditure that’s difficult to cut in the short term – like rent and contractually committed capital works – the bulk of the cuts are coming from furloughing workers.

    Since Federal workers don’t know how long that’ll last, they’re quite rationally cutting back on their spending and deferring major commitments like car loans and mortgages.

    That $85 billion is mostly going to come straight out of consumer spending – and the thrift effect may mean the actual impact is more than 485 billion. This is coming at a time when the expiry of the social security tax cut is already reducing disposable incomes.

  27. TGAP Dad says

    @28 iangould:

    FWIW, Social Security is not part of the federal budget. This is a point that budget “hawks” like to conceal in an effort to do it harm. You could eliminate the entirety of the Social Security program, and apart from the secondary impacts caused by launching a whole bunch of people into homelessness and poverty, would not affect the federal deficit – or debt – one iota.

  28. iangould says

    TGAP Dad,

    The “$3.8 billion in spending” used in Republican rhetoric to argeu for the insgignicance of thre sequester includes social security.

    “That $85 billion is mostly going to come straight out of consumer spending – and the thrift effect may mean the actual impact is more than 485 billion. ”

    “485 billion” was a typo for “$85 billion.”, incidentally.

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