The Last Word | January 25, 2013
>> to bear with me for a second, because i need to talk to you about the gop's other big budget scheme. now that the debt ceiling is gone, that has become their plan a, the best shot at getting spending cuts. the problem is that their plan a has the most boring name of really any policy in washington, the sequester. but you need to know about it to follow what is going to happen in the next couple of months in d.c. i am not going to use the "s" word, i'm going to call it big, dumb, very, very liberal, friendly spending cuts. but before we rename it you need to hear our speaker, john boehner on the subject.
>> the deadline, obviously, is the sequester, have you had any conversation with the president or harry reid about that so far?
>> i have not. the sequester is going to go into effect on march first unless there are cuts and reforms to get us on a plan to balance the budget in the next ten years, it is as simple as that.
>> mr. boehner told the board that the sequester is as much leverage as we're going to get, quote. he meant it to sound reassuring to conservatives, like that is fine, we don't need the debt ceiling, we have the big spending cuts, democrats will never allow those. i can't see why they're reassured. to see this as a deal, you have to remember where they were when they created the cuts in the first place, back in the 2011 fight. the way we got out of that mess, we kicked the can down the road and formed the super committee. you remember the super committee, the bipartisan group of legislators are charged with finding 1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, that was plan b to the super committee, if they failed, which they did, the sequester would cut the deficit by the same 1.2 trillion, but it would do it right away, and in such a mindless, painful dumb way that neither party could live with it. it was meant, then to force the parties to make the deal. punishment. and that was an obvious design, you build half the sequester out of tax increases, which republicans hate, and then the other out of spending cuts which democrats hate. but republicans refused to vote for anything with taxes in it. even though the whole policy was they were not supposed to like it. they made a concession, if the sequester was going to be all spending cuts then the things the democrats would get would be really friendly to democrats. and so the spending cuts, they don't touch medicaid or social security . or programs. it exempts most programs for low income americans, including food stamps and the earned income tax credits . veteran's benefits, totally home free. medicare providers see cuts, but medicare beneficiaries, seniors themselves, do not. and fully half of the cuts come from the military, half the cuts come from the military. it is a huge cut in defense spending on the order of about $500 billion. it is so big, liberals could not dream of achieving it any other way. now, that is not to say that democrats will love all the spending cuts in the sequester. the sequester is full of cuts they will not like, including cuts to the national institutes of health and to education and to investment. and in addition, the cuts are very dumb. every affected program gets a cut of the same size, and so you can't choose which programs should get bigger cuts and which should get smaller cuts. it is just a cleaver, not a scapel, but the republican hits get hit harder, just not the same way. remember, their theory of the case when it comes to the budget, the one you saw in the romney campaign, and then the ryan budget is that it needs to be cut and changed is medicare and medicaid . and over time, social security , and in particular now, programs for the poor. the one thing we really need to keep and even spend more on is defense. these spending cuts are the reverse of that theory. the spending they want to cut is protected. and the spending they want to increase is gutted. and this is a kind of insane outcome that is the consequence of the gop's no tax budget. they could get a deal from the obama administration that would cut into medicare and social security and all of these other programs in ways liberals would hate. and republicans would find somewhat congenial, as long as they also agreed to raise taxes. and they don't even need to agree to raise tax rates , that has already been done. they just need to get rid of the loopholes, but they won't, this is a corner they backed themselves into having lost an election and being tied to this ridiculous tax pledge. they are so desperate for leverage, for a hostage, that they can actually shoot that they're willing to point the gun at their own head and threatening to point the trigger. coming up, virginia is for cheaters, at least when it comes to electoral votes . it is aspsilooking to be the place where you can take the electoral votes , seriously. and one thing in particular, we are crazy in love with.