Through sequestration, broken Congress will break the military

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Another ugly reminder of our broken Congress became evident recently as Republican Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan and Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee Patty Murray both said they believe sequestration is likely.

Sequestration is the mindless cutting of $600 billion in defense programs and $600 billion in domestic programs over the next 10 years. Sequestration was never intended to happen, but was designed to be so unpalatable it would force Congress to make difficult decisions.

IT IS THE OUTCOME of the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations directing a special supercommittee to formulate a reasonable debt reduction plan. When the supercommittee failed, the sequestration decision was sent back to the entire Congress as part of the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Congress then postponed a decision until March 1, when sequestration will go into effect unless Congress takes action.

So much for forcing Congress to make difficult decisions.

On the domestic side, sequestration will result in significant cuts. According to the White House Budget Office, sequestration will lead to the “furlough of hundreds of thousands of employees and reduce essential services such as food inspections, air travel safety, prison security, border patrols and other mission-critical activities.”

Sequestration’s greatest damage, however, is to the military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote Congress: “(W)e will have to ground aircraft, return ships to port, and stop driving combat vehicles in training.” Secretary
of Defense Leon Panetta said
imposing sequestration on the
military is “shameful and irresponsible” and will “invite aggression.”

We unequivocally need to reduce the deficit and cut spending, but we need to do it intelligently. Because there are only seven months remaining in the fiscal year to absorb nearly an entire year’s cut, spending cuts have to come from expenses that can be eliminated quickly. That means cuts will fall disproportionately on military readiness.

THE SECRETARY of the Navy said individual services should be told the amount they must cut. Then, instead of simply cutting everything across the board, allow the services to make cuts strategically. That makes sense.

If the calamitous effects on the military were not enough, full sequestration is estimated to reduce gross domestic product growth by 1 percent and cost 1 million jobs. To preserve a fragile economy, Congress should adjust the timing of sequestration cuts, as well as their magnitude and indiscriminate nature.

Georgia could be particularly hard-hit from sequestration. The Pew Center on the States found that Georgia’s federal grants subject to sequester as a percentage of state income is the second-highest in the country.

The two parties have taken their tired rigid positions and refuse to compromise, having learned little from previous failures. The Democrats refuse to cut entitlements and accept only minimal discretionary spending cuts. Republicans refuse any revenue increases.

Each party knows the other will not accept their plan. Both have their talking points prepared, blaming failure on the other. But it won’t work; neither party will escape voters’ wrath if they fail.

According to the latest Gallup Poll, Americans have the least confidence in Congress and the highest confidence in the military. Isn’t it ironic that the lowest-ranked institution in America doesn’t have the political
courage to support the highest-ranked?

GEORGIA’S SENATORS and representatives are strong military advocates. They should do everything in their power to bring their respective parties to a reasonable sequestration solution.

Why would Congress be handed a poison pill, and then choose to swallow it?

Action for Congress: Spit out the pill, fix sequestration, preserve our military and help the economy recover.

(The writer is a retired U.S. Navy officer. He lives and writes in Savannah.)

Comments (16) Add comment
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Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/10/13 - 06:13 am
6
8
Cut $60 billion a year? Then

Cut $60 billion a year? Then we'll only spend more than China, Russia, France, the UK, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil, and South Korea combined. That means we'll drop Canada and Australia from the list. How in the world can we expect to invade and nation build around the world when we only spend more than the next 11 countries combined and only spend 83% more than the next closest country?

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/10/13 - 08:55 am
8
4
“Cut $60 billion a
Unpublished

“Cut $60 billion a year?”
Techfan, please tell me why the commie in the WH is whining about it.

robaroo
660
Points
robaroo 02/10/13 - 09:45 am
6
0
Budget MUST Be Balanced

As painful as this first baby step to balancing the budget is, it is absolutely necessary. If Congress allows the country to collapse financially, the checks will start bouncing for the military, social programs, and everything else the Federal Government has taken on.

Across the board cuts and tax increases are the only means of fixing the deficits in this divided country.

freeradical
1025
Points
freeradical 02/10/13 - 10:01 am
6
1
Yeah , and new tax revenue on

Yeah , and new tax revenue on the wealthy is going to be used to

reduce the debt !

Right!

The ruleing class is on a roll .

Classic bait & switch on the sheeple .

Anyone who thinks the government is going to take away 1200 billion

from military / government programs and not spend it somewhere

else has puddin for brains .

This is a prearranged windfall for the ruleing class .

The 1200 billion is already being drooled over with the fiscal

responsibility of drunken sailors .

deestafford
22480
Points
deestafford 02/10/13 - 10:34 am
3
5
Once again we are suffering

from our own action of electing those who are coming up with these sorry solutions. Sorrow to say, we will continue to do that if the past is any indication of our future performance.
The rhetoric of the president as to what is going to get cut shows his totally ineptness in being able to set priorites but being skillful in scaring the low and no information people. Obama is not as unhappy with this as he makes out to be because it will reduce our military power to at or below China and Russia, a position that he thinks we should be because we have been a bully too long. We are on the glide path he wants us to be on as China and Russia increase their military and we reduce not only our military but our nuclear arsenal as he will propose in his state of the union address.
Don't get hoodwinked on where the suggestion and insistence of the Sequestion came from...it was the White House.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/10/13 - 11:00 am
4
6
Change?

Now, are some of you understanding the "change" he(you know who) really wants for America?Just in case you do not remember....does "fundamentally change" ring any bells?? What better place to start(or end) than a WEAK military? Anyone that does not believe this is exactly what he wanted, from GOD only knows when(at least from the beginning of being "chosen"), then, all I can say is you are ignorant(to ignore)!!!

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 02/10/13 - 12:37 pm
4
5
Over Spending Why Supporting Two Wars

This is a perfect example of what happens when you fight two wars for 10 years with no way of paying for them. We spent billions funding military deployments, buildups, government contracts, etc., and folks are wondering why we are in this financial situation? Its time to down size, and return to the pre war levels across the board, starting with the military. And NO, our military will not be WEAK. Like always, we will find a way to do more with less and become STRONGER. I did it for most of my military career, and know first hand the issues our military will face.

allhans
22943
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allhans 02/10/13 - 07:44 pm
2
2
How Obama wields executive

How Obam wields executive power...http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/10/3226698/how-obama-is-wielding-executive.html

deestafford
22480
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deestafford 02/10/13 - 01:07 pm
3
2
Who's Gonna Be Top Dog?

Obama does not want the US to be the loan and top superpower. The phrase "post superpower" has been mentioned a number of times by those on the left and in the White House (excuse me for being redundant) to indicate a time when we are not THE Superpower of the World. Look, somebody is going to be the top dog as has always been shown throughout history. Who do you want it to be? China? Russia? USA? I'd put my money on the USA being the best to handle that role.

allhans
22943
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allhans 02/10/13 - 01:22 pm
4
3
So...Since the sequestration

So...Since the sequestration was Obama's idea and it now belongs to him, where is he? Why blame congress when the originator is no where to be found when looking for answers. Blaming Republicans has taken him a long way..Tuesday night we will hear much more of the same.
Thank goodness Marco Rubio will give the follow up, I'll bet he is ready.

RMSHEFF
13225
Points
RMSHEFF 02/10/13 - 01:44 pm
5
3
Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is one of the few Republicans who has not surrendered to Obama. He has continued to articulate conservative values in an effective way. It seem most republicans have conceded victory to the liberal progressives on every issue. ( Rubio 2016) ......if we have a country left by then.

allhans
22943
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allhans 02/10/13 - 04:04 pm
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Ditto - RMS

Ditto - RMS

KSL
118573
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KSL 02/10/13 - 04:28 pm
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3
I won't listen to obam.

I won't listen to obam. Somebody call me when Rubio comes on.

Young Fred
15561
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Young Fred 02/10/13 - 07:27 pm
0
3
60 Billion per year

60 Billion per year!

Wow, how much is that in relation to automatic budget increases? Are we talking armageddon? Starving poor in the streets? Hungry chillens? Mayhem?

PLEASE are we that easily manipulated?

burninater
8649
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burninater 02/10/13 - 07:42 pm
6
2
Anyone who thought we could

Anyone who thought we could address our deficits without cutting military spending has macaroni and cheese for brains (and not the good kind of mac and cheese, with a blend of cheeses and some tasty locally-sourced bacon or andouille ..)

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/10/13 - 10:40 pm
1
1
Since the military spends

Since the military spends pretty much all of the US annual revenue after payroll taxes are removed we don't have any option but cut defense or raise more revenue. Actually, we need to do both. When cuts come, since payroll taxes should be reserved strictly for SS and Medicare, those programs should be left alone. That leaves about $1.3 trillion per year, which happens to be just about what we spend on defense. Figure out if you need to fund anything else in the government or have no defense cuts. For those prone to exaggeration please note above that we spend 83 percent annually than China. Don't sweat a small cut.

Little Lamb
43350
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Little Lamb 02/10/13 - 10:48 pm
1
1
War on Islamic Terrorism

Obama has pretty much declared it over and won. Therefore, military spending must be cut. Let the sequester begin!

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