The first year of the sequester, however, is implemented in an entirely different fashion. There are no new caps that replace the original BCA limits. Rather, the required dollar amount of cuts to discretionary appropriations ($55 billion in defense and $43 billion in non-defense) will be proportionally implemented across the board to each individual program on January 2, 2013, regardless of the levels that Congress chooses to appropriate for discretionary spending. This is a key and often misunderstood point.When our Senators and Representatives decided, very quietly, to renege on the mandated defense cuts, only Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson appears to have noticed, issuing this statement (that stands in stark contrast to the silence issuing from President Obama and Governor Romney):
|Gary Johnson: Wondering why|
nobody else noticed.
“When the purported conservatives in Congress, the House Republicans, vote to renege on a deal to cut defense spending by $55 billion, how are we supposed to believe that anyone in Washington really means it when they say they want to eliminate deficits? It is clear that the ‘budget deal’ Congress concocted last year was, and is, a charade.
“Maintaining a strong national defense is obviously important. But violating their own budget agreement with the excuse that a 10 percent reduction in military spending would somehow be disastrous is classic Washington. We spend almost as much each year on defense as the rest of the world combined. If Congress can’t figure out how to reduce that spending by $55 billion, we need a new Congress.
“Before last week’s vote in the House, we heard all kinds of pained cries that a $55 billion cut would mean troop strength would have to be reduced, bases would be closed, and that we would have a smaller Navy and Air Force. To that, I say: Exactly. That’s what happens when you reduce spending to rational levels we can afford. We are bankrupt. We simply cannot afford to have hundreds of thousands of troops in places like Europe and Japan, we can’t afford hundreds of bases scattered around the globe, and yes, if the alternative is to keep borrowing from China to pay for them, we are going to have to live with slightly smaller air and naval forces.
“Congress’ refusal to face the reality of unsustainable deficit spending is a far greater and real threat to our national security than an entirely manageable 10% reduction in the Pentagon’s budget.”