Yesterday, our lawmakers allowed us the privilege of $85 billion worth of spending cuts. Republicans promise that this will help put the United States back on solid fiscal footing. I don’t see it that way. The sequester looks to me like a lot of pain without much, if any, gain.
The recession battered the budget, driving down tax revenues and swelling outlays for unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other safety net programs. We calculate that changes in the economic outlook since the summer of 2008 account for over $400 billion of the deficit in both 2009 and 2010 and smaller amounts in later years. We estimate that the downturn has pushed up deficits by $2.5 trillion (including the associated interest costs) over the 2009-2018 period.
More from CBPP:
We have slightly revised our estimates of the automatic budget cuts — known as sequestration — scheduled to begin March 1 under the “fiscal cliff” deal reached at the start of the year. The table below lays out what will happen if sequestration, required by the 2011 Budget Control Act, takes effect as scheduled.
The fiscal cliff deal lowered the 2013 sequestration by $24 billion, from $109.3 billion to $85.3 billion. This shrinks the percentage cuts in full-year funding for most programs subject to the automatic cuts. However, the fiscal cliff deal did not affect the Medicare cut, which remains capped at 2 percent.
We need jobs. We don’t need an economic slow down which is exactly what it going to happen. (more…)