RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I think the time is right to tell you the details, the relevant details about this sequester business. Because it’s another news story or budget story that is being misreported, it’s being presented as the next crisis, we may not be able to survive it, it contains massive spending cuts, oh, no! And none of that is true.
RUSH: I mentioned squaring this whole business on the sequester, because it’s another thing that’s being demagogued, and it’s another thing that’s being portrayed as “Draconian spending cuts” that people may actually get really hurt by! (sobs) “Oh, my God, we gotta avoid the sequester! Oh, gee!” It was Obama who told us we would never go through the sequester, but now they’re getting concerned over at NBC. On the Today show, cohost Savannah Guthrie spoke with White House correspondent F. Chuck Todd, and she said (Gasp!), “The sequester, those automatic spending cuts set to go in effect in a few weeks. For a while both sides seemed to fear them equally. That was supposed to push them to the bargaining table.
“Now you hear Republicans say, ‘Maybe these defense cuts, we can live with.’ Is that a negotiable (sic) tactic or will that possibly happen and the sequester goes into effect?” (impression) The sequester means automatic cuts in Medicare and defense. But now, Chuck, we’re hearing the Republicans say that maybe they can live with these defense cuts! They aren’t any big deal. Chuck, are the Republicans negotiating? Is that what they’re doing? Or do they really mean it? You think that would possibly happen? Chuck, do you think the Republicans are serious? They don’t care if the defense budget’s cut and so sequester could go into effect, Chuck? Could that really happen?
TODD: There are a lot of newer members, Tea Party conservatives, those folks who’ve come to Washington in the last four years who simply said, “Hey, if this is the only way President Obama is gonna cut spending, then why not?”
GUTHRIE: (frightened grunt)
TODD: Maybe they’re not happy that it’s on the defense budget. Why not? So if Republicans go in that direction, I don’t see how it is stopped. I don’t see how. If House Republicans decide to let ’em go, I’m not sure where the president has leverage here.
RUSH: Oh, no! Obama doesn’t have any leverage. Oh, noooo! There might actually be some spending cuts. Oh, no! Savannah Guthrie was asking F. Chuck, “Do the Republicans mean this, Chuck? Do they really not care there would be spending cuts, or are they just negotiating? Could this possibly happen, Chuck?” Chuck says (paraphrased), “Yeah, it could really happen. You got these Tea Party kooks and these fruitcakes in there, and they don’t care! They don’t care about anything. They don’t care with the country. They don’t care about themselves. They just want to cut spending!
“These people are insane, and if this is what it’s gonna take to cut spending then, yeah, they’re all for it. And I don’t see how it stops, Savannah. I don’t see how it’s stopped. I don’t see how! If the Republicans in the House decide to let them go, I don’t know what leverage our president has here.” So they’re in panic. The Drive-Bys are actually showing some concern here in a way that they haven’t in past battles between Obama and Congress. They’re really worried here that the Republicans might win this because they just don’t care anymore. Now we move over to CBS This Morning. The cohost Norah O’Donnell spoke with the political director, John Dickerson.
This is the guy who wrote that piece about how Obama should just annihilate the GOP while he can, and Dickerson’s worried. He says Obama seems nervous now. Norah O’Donnell said, “Another deadline in Washington, another proposal for a short-term fix without any specifics about how to do it and thousands of people facing job losses,” John! (impression) They’re actually talking about spending cuts. Do you know people might starve? They might lose their jobs! People might lose their health care. They might lose their cars. We might have to close some highways. The schools might be shut down! What are we gonna do, John? If the House Republicans don’t wise up, I mean, this is serious. Are the House Republicans gonna be able to gain the political upper hand here, John, or is the president gonna be able to?
DICKERSON: What Republicans see in this latest move from the president is a little bit of nervousness on his part, which is to say that the economic damage of these constant battles is actually something he’s now more worried about than, say, he was in the last fights we had over the debt limit and the fiscal cliff.
RUSH: Oh, my heart bleeds. I feel so sorry for Obama. I feel really bad here, because John Dickerson just said here that the president, he’s a little nervous about “the economic damage of these constant battles.” It’s “something he’s now more worried about.” He ought to be worried about the economic damage that he has wrought, and the fact that he’s not worried about it convinces me that he’s not worried about this. Now, as best I can explain this to you — and there may not be anybody better.
By the way, Snerdley thinks I’ve moved up to number eight on the HuffPo worst person list because of my story on the woman who lost her purse and her food stamps. I’m only halfway through the show and I might have moved up two spots. (interruption) Really? What was bad about that? (interruption) I read what was in a newspaper! (interruption) Well, the poor woman. She lost everything! She lost her purse, she lost her wallet, she lost $800 in cash — and, of course, in journalism they tell you what’s in the last part of the story is the most important — she lost her food stamps! That poor woman. (interruption) I was mocking her? (interruption) I was not mocking her loss of food stamps. What I was mocking was the absurdity that the woman has food stamps. (interruption)
Okay, I moved up to number seven with that list.
Okay, I’ll keep going if that’s all it takes.
Anyway, here’s the sequester. As you know, the sequester is a form of punishment or threat. When the two sides, a year and a half ago or two years — Boehner and Obama — were arguing about the debt limit extension at that time, they came to an agreement that said if they don’t get together and come up with some serious compromise on spending and the debt limit and so forth, then X is triggered. It’s called the sequester. What gets triggered are automatic cuts. I think it’s $500 billion in defense cuts and $500 billion in Medicare cuts over like ten years or 12 years or some such thing, and the reason that was supposed to have worked is because the Republicans just love the military!
They just love launching missiles and firing bullets and killing our enemies.
And the Democrats love giving people health care and curing them of sickness and making sure that life is utopia. So since neither party would like to be denied what it really likes doing, killing people and saving people, they would come together, there would be an agreement, and the sequester (automatic spending cuts) would not happen. Obama promised in one of the debates: Sequester is not gonna happen. He promised it’s not gonna happen. He said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not gonna happen,” meaning that he was intent on coming to some kind of a deal with the Republicans in the House that would come up with other ways to control spending and the debt, so sequester wouldn’t get triggered. Now the media’s all worried that that isn’t gonna happen, and the sequester will get triggered.
The Republicans have the upper hand because they don’t care that the military will get cut.
That’s all it takes.
All the Republicans have to do, act like they don’t care, and on the other side, the media says Obama’s feeling nervous now. So where we are now is that the thing the Republicans supposedly love the most, the big, vicious armed, mean killing machine, the US military, okay, go ahead and cut it, we don’t care. That’s making the Democrats nervous. So what is this, really? All of these spending cuts — defense, Medicare, social spending, whatever, they’re being portrayed at Draconian, as every spending cut always is. And it’s gonna be really painful. There are gonna be a lot of people really hurt by these spending cuts. I mean, they’re really big, and they’re really drastic. But, as usual, they aren’t, because of the current services baseline.
See, the current services baseline is the magic that makes sure there is never, ever a real budget cut. And so it will be in this case. Now, the current services baseline calls for the federal government to spend $44.8 trillion between now and 2022. In other words, they go ten years out with all these budget projections. The budget every year is done for that next year, but there is always a ten-year projection. Nobody’s ever held to it because you can’t constitutionally bind future Congresses in items like the budget. That’s why there has to be one every year, there has to be a vote by law. Democrats have not done it, but there has to be.
So the latest ten-year projection calls for — and this is Obama, CBO, doesn’t matter which, the ten-year projection, current services baseline calls for the federal government to spend $44.8 trillion between now and 2022. That is on the books. Now, you know what the baseline is, current services baseline, it is the magical device by which every line item in the budget automatically increases anywhere from three to 8% every year, regardless how much money was spent on that line item previous year, just automatically goes up.
So let’s say that the spending on road repair, just to give you an item here, was scheduled to go up 8% next year, but it actually only goes up 5%, that’s when the Democrats start howling about a budget cut. And they accuse the Republicans of massive, Draconian budget cuts, when in fact we’re gonna spend 5% more than we did last year, just not the 8% that the baseline called for. Okay, so the baseline says that for the next ten years we’re gonna spend $44.8 trillion. The sequester that everybody is panicking over, the sequester, part of the debt deal, the sequester, these automatic spending cuts, would reduce the increases to the baseline budget by $1.16 trillion.
So, instead of spending over ten years $44.8 trillion, we would spend $43.7 trillion over ten years. Amortized over ten years, it is a rounding error. It is inconsequential, like every supposed spending cut always is. In reality, even if the sequester goes through, if it happens, the federal government is gonna spend $2.14 trillion more in 2022 than it does today, in inflation-adjusted dollars. So even if the sequester happens, the federal government’s gonna spend more money.
The annual spending on discretionary programs will still increase by $90 billion over the next ten years. After ten years of the sequester, by 2022, spending will consume 23% of GDP. And the sequester was Obama’s idea, by the way. Let’s not forget that. It was his proposal to get everybody to come to the table and negotiate in good faith. So, yes, there are reductions in spending, but they are, as always, for the most part reductions in the rate of growth, and they’re amortized to spread out over ten years. It’s chump change that we’re talking about here, as every spending cut always is.