'Widespread Pain' of the Sequester Not So DraconianBy Ivan Eland
The Independent Institute
Feb. 27, 2013
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Recently, The New York Times ran an alarmist editorial about the “widespread pain” that would be inflicted on the American government and people by the budget “sequester.” If no legislative action is taken, the sequester will make across the board budget cuts (some exceptions exist, such as Social Security and pay for enlisted military personnel) of $85 billion during the last seven months of this fiscal year. Some have called such cuts “draconian,” but they are hardly so—for example, defense programs would be cut by only 8 percent.
However, budget cuts in Washington are rarely budget cuts at all, and this reduction is no exception. In fact, the defense budget will continue to rise; it’s just that it’s not rising as fast as the Department of Defense’s ambitious plan envisioned. So curiously, in the nation’s capital, budgets that don’t rise as fast as agencies would like are deemed as having experienced cuts. In fact, even if the sequester takes effect on March 1, defense spending will still exceed the total in 2007–during the massive defense spending rise during the George W. Bush administration from 2001 to 2009.