The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.
The example was deliberately extreme as an illustration. But, in the real world, the same general pattern can be seen in local, state and national government responses to budget cuts.
At the local level, the first response to budget cuts is often to cut the police department and the fire department. There may be all sorts of wasteful boondoggles that could have been cut instead, but that would not produce the public alarm that reducing police protection and fire protection can produce. And public alarm is what can get budget cuts restored.
The Obama administration is following the same pattern. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, released thousands of illegal aliens from prisons to save money -- and create alarm.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it is planning to cut back on the number of air traffic controllers, which would, at a minimum, create delays for airline passengers, in addition to fears for safety that can create more public alarm.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have offered to pass legislation giving President Obama the authority to pick and choose what gets cut -- anywhere in the trillions of dollars of federal spending -- rather than being hemmed in by the arbitrary provisions of the sequester.
This would minimize the damage done by budget cuts concentrated in limited areas, such as the Defense Department. But it serves Obama's interest to maximize the damage and the public alarm, which he can direct against Republicans.
President Obama has said that he would veto legislation to let him choose what to cut. That should tell us everything we need to know about the utter cynicism of this glib man.
The sequester creates more visible damage and more public alarm than if the president were given the authority to trim a little here and a little there in the vast trillions of dollars spent by the government, in order to make a relatively small "cut" that still leaves total federal spending higher than last year.