Sequestration, Defense, and the EPA

Sequestration, Defense, and the EPA

The fiscal cliff looms. Part of that cliff is “sequestration“: the political agreement, enacted into law, to automatically cut federal spending across the board by $1.2 trillion over ten years, starting with $109 billion next year. Half the cuts would be in defense, half in domestic spending. These mindless cuts, which nearly all of Congress acknowledges as damaging, would go into effect on January 2nd if Congress fails to reach agreement on an alternative.

Shockingly, Congressional Republicans want an even worse outcome—increases in defense spending along with more than double the sequestration cuts in domestic spending to make up the difference. They are particularly gunning for elimination of clean air, clean water, and most other programs run by the EPA. Congressional Democrats want a more balanced approach with at least some of the deficit reduction coming from tax increases on the wealthy, and fewer domestic cuts. Yet the Democrats have failed to unite behind any significant cuts in military spending.

Few realize that, even beyond spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, base defense spending rose over 77% in the last decade .* Obama‘s much maligned “defense cuts” amount to less than 1% in base military spending from 2012 to 2013. Looking forward, our military spending needs to be rolled back much more, not less, than sequestration would require. And we need to protect the EPA and reinvigorate federal programs that help to stave off global warming and environmental disaster.

How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

by NPR Staff; September 1, 2012

 President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government "the problem."

Enlarge APPresident Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government “the problem.”

The message at the GOP convention this week was clear: Government is too big, too expensive, and it can’t fix our economic problems.

“The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government. And we choose to limit government,” said Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

There’s nothing new about the message. Anti-big government sentiment is practically part of the American DNA, and it has deep roots in the Republican Party. Continue reading “How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word”