Budget Control Act 2011: Sequestration Is An Insufficient Guarantee
Dissecting the So-Called "Budget Control Act 2011": Part 6
Congressman McClintock gives a six part analysis on the failures of the "Budget Control Act of 2011".
The most promising feature of the Budget Control Act is an automatic sequestration feature that would order cuts in spending if Congress failed to enact the specified $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions to be recommended by the Joint Committee or if Congress failed to send a balanced budget amendment to the states.
As discussed above, these provisions can be circumvented to the point that they are largely meaningless, which makes sequestration much less a guarantee than it first appears. But assuming for a moment that the sequestration were actually invoked, its impact would fall heavily and disproportionately on defense spending while leaving general government spending relatively untouched.
After a maximum two percent cut to Medicare, reductions are split evenly between defense and non-defense spending. The problem becomes two-fold.
First, certain aspects of defense spending, such as Homeland Security, military construction, and veterans benefits are reclassified as “non-defense” for purposes of sequestration, meaning that defense programs could conceivably be subject to both sides of the reductions.
Second, core defense spending has already been subject to significant budget reductions in the last two years, while non-defense spending has been bloated by a parade of stimulus programs. The “evenly divided” cuts therefore begin to look like a contest between a marathoner and a couch potato over who can lose the most weight.
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