With the sequester mere days (hours?) away, forgive me if I can’t get too worked up about it. True, we’re going to see the victims of the cuts plastered all over the news, and we’ll never hear the end of their sorrows, and there’ll be calls for closing more tax loopholes or raising tax rates– it’ll be insufferable.
But let’s conservatively assume that the federal budget for FY 2014 will be $3.8 trillion (it’ll almost certainly be higher), and let’s generously assume that the sequester will cut $100 billion from that budget (it’ll actually be lower, closer to $85 billion). To add a teensy bit more clarity, let’s present both numbers in billions: the budget will be $3,800 billion, the sequester will be $100 billion.
That would be a cut of 2.63%, bringing us all the way back to the dark ages of what, 2012? Maybe 2011? If we make an adjustment for inflation and per capita growth, you could argue that the sequester cuts real federal spending per capita all the way down to what it was in, say, 2010? 2009? Heck, let’s push it back a few more years– are we really going to say that we can’t get by on what the feds were spending when W was President?
The cutting has to start sometime. May as well be now.