We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If Obama believes such a small cut in government spending at the margins will be catastrophic, we can argue an increase of 2 to 3% in the marginal tax rates of high income earners will also be catastrophic. If he can say that at a certain point people have earned enough, we can say that at a certain point he has taxed people enough.
It is a curious thing, I find, that each year the press frets over the trend in year-over-year retail sales during the holidays, but never seems to get around to reporting the actual end-of-year PROFITS come the following January. Businesses survive---or fail---based on PROFIT not SALES, and while sales are necessary to have a profit, they are not sufficient to guarantee one. When the holiday sales discounts on retail goods are in the stratosphere, published sales figures are only the beginning of the story. The press has such a short attention span, we seldom get to read the last chapter of the story, which is about the profits.
Perhaps we could balance the budget by no longer defending the Socialist governments of Europe. Just close our bases there and bring the troops home. Oh I forgot there is no budget. It has been a long time but if I remember isn't the House supposed to pass a proposed budget? Did they do that this year?
Sequestration seems the least bad way to get the country on track at this point. As a DoD employee I'm facing a 20 percent pay cut (unless we change the rules yet again) from late April through Oct. The family's in decent shape financially and will adjust to the situation.
I'm glad the Republicans have held their ground thus far, because we do need to cut unnecessary programs and spending. I'd really expected the GOP to already cave. There's absolutely no reason the federal budget can't be cut, in real terms, 2-3 percent per year for the next 10 years--except that we, as a country, keep re-electing people without the will or desire to do so. (I'm biased--I think defense spending is about right, but there's always room for improvement.) I'm not optimistic, but perhaps people will finally see through today's apocalyptic rhetoric and realize the cuts really didn't have much impact.
Military readiness will be hurt (skills decay rapidly when not used--think professional athletes), and we'll spend more in the long run (because we're executing these cuts so arbitrarily and cutting some muscle with the fat) as a result of sequestration.
My biggest concern is that our government will thrash around unsuccessfully "fixing" sequestration the rest of this year (all the Federal government will be out of funding 27 March when the current continuing resolution ends), pass yet another continuing resolution, and we'll be no closer to lasting fixes than we are today.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, "The United States spent more on its military than the next 13 nations combined in 2011." And many of those 13 are our allies, including Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and South Korea.
Russia and China are potential adversaries; we spend about 3 times more than Russia and China combined.
US military spending appears excessive; we could easily eliminate $100 billion per year without risking our national security. Lots of data at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/