“Warning this photo is graphic slasher stuff. Depicts “massive” cuts from #sequester,” Grover Norquist tweets:
Even Jon Karl of ABC is wondering if Obama is off on a freakout too far:
There’s no doubt that the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on March 1 will cause some real pain and many economists believe they would hurt the economy. But all the dire warnings give the impression the cuts are much larger than they actually are.
Take today’s White House example: The Department of Transportation.
The Department of Transportation’s budget for 2013 is $74.2 billion. The automatic spending cuts would slice $1 billion out of its budget: that is a cut of less than 1.4 percent.
And consider this: even if the cuts go into effect, the Department of Transportation will spend more money this year ($73.2 billion) than it spent last year ($72.6 billion).
The administration is saying that the Department of Transportation cannot squeeze 1.4 percent of its budget without sending air traffic controllers home and that they cannot find a way to operate effectively this year with a budget that is actually larger than the budget they had last year.
That may be true, but it raises larger questions about the government’s ability to find relatively modest savings without cutting essential services.
It also raises larger questions about whether or not we’ve seen this game before.
Update: Wolf Blitzer cries wolf:
I believe this is the effect that Wolf is aiming for: