Jed Graham over at Investors’ Business Daily makes probably the best argument against the sequester: it will enable the Democrats to blame a largely tax-induced hiring slowdown on phantom spending cuts. We have already seen this happen with European “austerity” programs, as allegedly draconian spending cuts are blamed for the effects of growth-killing tax increases.
But since it is already baked into the cake of existing federal law, the sequester may be the only major leverage Republicans have to extract spending concessions for the first half of Obama’s second term. And the people hit with tax hikes may well outnumber the people directly impacted by the sequester.
The congressional GOP has punted again and again, raising questions about whether its leadership team is significantly more serious about controlling spending than Obama. And if they think they can keep their opponents from engaging in sequester demagoguery by caving at this late a date, they must have slept through the 1990s. Ask the Republicans who got voted out of office over Medicare cuts that didn’t even end up happening.
We are being led to believe we have exactly the right amount of government right now. Even the slightest reductions in the rate of increase will suddenly return us to the state of nature. How many taxpayers really believe this?
We wouldn’t even be in this situation if the political class did not blunder from one self-imposed fiscal crisis to another. The sequester is a bad idea whose time has come.
W. James Antle III is the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation and author of the forthcoming book “Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?“ Follow him on Twitter.