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  • Sequestration: We're About to Shoot the Hostage

    U.S. political leaders are facing a crossroads. They can step up and solve the budget impasse, or they can do nothing and let mandated sequestration cuts take effect. The latter course would have grave consequences for the nation.

    Lawmakers should keep several things in mind as we hurtle toward the disaster that is sequestration:

    • The defense cuts are arbitrary and have no rationale. The Pentagon has already absorbed huge cuts under former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and another $500 billion directed preemptively by current Secretary Leon Panetta. The wisdom of the Panetta reductions is questionable to begin with, but to force another half-trillion dollars in cuts (nearly half of all the sequestration cuts) onto defense with no strategic analysis smacks of an arbitrary disregard for the defense of the nation.
    • The threats we face are too grave to unilaterally disarm. To those who claim that the war on terrorism is over, who somehow see the world as already safe, gutting defense readiness (always a convenient, if ill-conceived, target) seems to be a no-brainer. Anyone without the rose-colored glasses of this Administration sees a troubled world still filled with hostile adversaries who are actually growing in capability at the same time sequestration would tie the hands of the U.S.
    • Defense is being held hostage by entitlement spending. Sadly, U.S. readiness is seemingly being held hostage by those who want to raise taxes to protect their pet projects and entitlement programs. Some have even admitted that they think further cuts to defense are actually a good thing. Nearly everyone agrees that the “hostage” of defense spending needs to be saved, but a select few seem to be willing to kill the hostage, and then call that a victory.
    • Raising taxes is not the answer. Defense has to be protected from the draconian and mechanistic cuts of sequestration—but not by compromising on taxes. A compromise that includes new taxes—and no, calling them “revenues” or “loophole closures” does not change what they really are—is not a solution.

    Congress has all the tools available today to agree on a real budget. It needs no new devices but only the will to do so.

    The ideal solution is for the Administration and Congress to solve the budget impasse today—not later, not during the lame-duck session, and not during the next Administration. If that cannot be done, another solution would be to repeal the Budget Control Act altogether and remove the gun to the hostage’s head.

    Another alternative could be to hold defense spending harmless from sequestration this year through spending offsets—not tax hikes. This would give the next Congress and President a chance to solve the budget crisis over the longer term.

    If certain Members of Congress want new taxes, they should make their case and win the votes. If they feel that defense should be cut, they should do the same. But to do nothing and allow either eventuality to occur by default is an abrogation of responsibility.

    The nation’s leaders need to step forward and do the right thing. Gambling with the readiness and security of America is not leadership; it is exactly the opposite.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Sequestration: We're About to Shoot the Hostage

    1. T B Independent says:

      Statesmanship is a thing of the past, all we have now is partisanship. The political party leaders have far too much power over the elected officials. It's in the best interest of the political parties to let the country go over the edge, and then blame the other political party for the disaster. Neither side really wants to solve the problem, because then, they would have nothing to blame on the other side it's party above country. A pox on both their houses.

    2. Bette says:

      I don't understand why there has not been a no confidence vote against this so-called president and his AG and VP. I think there are enough patriotic dems in the senate for it to pass. Our country and our safety are at stake. Most citizens are very worried and afriad.

    3. Lloyd Scallan says:

      "The right thing"? Did Congress do the right thing when they refused to reach an agreement on spending deferring to a "super committee", members of which were specifically chosen by each side NOT reach and agreement, knowing full well sequestration was in the next step. Now, like the gutless fools they are, the established Republican leadership (the same ones that forced Romney down our throats) are making a big show of "trying to save America" just in time for November, aided by the conservative media. Hey conservatives, this should not have happened in the first place, yet you still trust the Republican leadership. WHY!

    4. George Kitchens says:

      Sequestration will be one of the things that could lead us into the next recession. It alone will lead to hundreds of thoudands of lay-offs of uniformed men and women along with more thousands of civilian support jobs.

      I agree with you on taxes. The only tax increase that should be on the table is the FICA withholding that will in its current state lead to the insolvency of SSI and Medicare much sooner than if it had not been sold as a tax reduction to the public a couple of years ago.

    5. Guest says:

      Appears that our current president is very focussed on making the United States a third world power. A reasonable start has been witnessed for the first 4 years. Hopefully a sufficient number of the electorate have realized that the correct resolution for this problem is NO second term for this loser.

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