Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I Don't Think Sequestration Will Happen

The conventional wisdom (and the White House line) seems to be that sequestration is just too terrible for reasonable people to really contemplate -- a "fiscal cliff" off which America must not fall, economic Armageddon, and so forth -- and therefore a deal will be made.

I think a deal will be made too, but for a very different reason: Sequestration is so insanely trivial that if it happens, neither side will be able to convincingly argue that it's creating noteworthy levels of suffering.

The very biggest and most allegedly draconian cuts would hit the Department of Defense. How hard would they hit it?

By a whopping, Goliath, draconian 2.25%.

No, I didn't misplace the decimal point. "Armageddon" to the Beltway types is the specter of the most corruptly bloated government institution in human history -- at least five times as big as any plausible case relating to "national defense" could be made for -- suffering a temporary reduction to 43/44ths its previous size. Oh, the humanity!

Can you imagine Rachel Maddow trying to jerk tears over such a thing?

"Amanda Bel Rive and Charlack Darby, life-long friends and wives of two assistant Under-Secretaries of Toilet Brush Procurement at the Pentagon, were forced last week to let their live-in housekeepers go and split the services of a single part-time maid."

"Rear Admiral Fred Glouck, adjutant to the Under-Secretary of Defense for Aleutian Island Kayak Commando Operations,  has known suffering and privation all his life, but that's okay -- he's a stand-up guy who's willing to make sacrifices for his country. He's downgrading his family's membership at the Bethesda Golf and Equestrian Center: No more valet parking; no more premium wine list privileges; he may even switch from call drinks to well."

Not exactly "We Shall Overcome" material.

Neither party wants to actually reduce the size, scope or power of the federal government, so sequestration is only useful to them as a prospective bogeyman. They don't want it to actually happen, because if it happened it wouldn't be scary any more.

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