As communities across the nation struggle with the consequences of sequestration cuts to pre-school programs, school aide, unemployment benefits, and jobs, some Republicans in Congress are trumpeting the automatic reductions as sound fiscal policy.
Appearing on KHTE’s “The Alice Stewart Show” Friday, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) argued that sequestration is “actually working” and compared the agencies who are complaining about the spending reductions to spoiled children:
BOOZMAN: I really think the FAA and many of the other agencies are trying to figure out how they can make things as painful as possible to the public. And it reminds me of a spoiled brat kid. You take away some of his stuff and, you know, he starts screaming. They don’t want want any cuts period. [...]
I think that you have to have some kind of a spending cap in place. You know, you can knock sequestration or not knock it, but it’s worked in the sense that hit has forced reduction in spending. And I’ve been here 11 years and this is the first time I’ve seen it in this manner, in the sense that it is something that’s actually working.
In reality, overall government spending has dramatically plateaued under President Obama, a trend economists believe is holding back economic recovery.
On Friday, new data from the Commerce Department reiterated that sequestration is only making things worse. U.S. economic growth rebounded to 2.5 percent in the first-quarter of 2013, 0.5 percentage points lower than analysts had projected. “We saw some good resilience from the consumer, particularly given all the headwinds,” Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg. “The weakness in government spending is an issue. It’s going to be tough to repeat the first-quarter performance this quarter.”
In the first three months of the year, “outlays declined for the 10th time in the past 11 quarters, restraining growth,” Bloomberg notes. The economy may get worse before it gets better, as the the nation has “barely only begun to feel the impacts of sequestration’s automatic spending cuts.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) told The Wichita Eagle: “In my judgment, the pain [from the sequester] has not been too great.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) at the Heritage Foundation: “I think it’s the first time we’ve saved money in Washington D.C., I think we need to move on from this subject and talk about how we can get to a balanced budget in the next ten years and stop trying to find ways to bring the sequester up in every conversation.”
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) on the House floor: “Even though sequestration is painful, it is working.”