While sequestration may not be the best way to cut an irresponsible $3.6 trillion budget, it has become the only way that politicians will do what is right. Only the House of Representatives has had the courage to cut spending, but it cannot act alone. Incredibly, Senate Democrats and the White House tried to pass a bill yesterday that would have increased spending and raised taxes. Didn’t Congress just raise taxes? Without sequestration, the status quo remains unchallenged and that is a truly scary situation.
In the end, however, sequestration is insufficient to adequately reduce the deficit. Because it is only a cut in the growth of spending, the government will still spend more taxpayer money next year than it did this year. More cuts in discretionary spending are long overdue and there are countless examples of duplicative and ineffective federal programs and endless corporate and farm subsidies from which lawmakers can choose. Half of the budget, however, is devoted to mandatory spending—Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and interest on the debt—all of which is exempt from the sequester. It is clear that lawmakers must summon the will to reform these programs in order to balance the budget now and for the long term. In 2020,interest on the federal debt will rise to $1 trillion a year. Over the next decade the Social Security disability fund and Medicare hospital insurance run out of reserves. In another ten years, Social Security will run dry. The sequester does nothing to stave off these daunting budget crises.
The sequester does, however, prove that government spending can be cut without triggering the end of the world. It shows the crisis mongering on the Left for what it is—a con designed to milk the public for more money.
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