The Conversation

Democrats' Plan Cuts $55B vs. $85B in Sequester, But There's a Gimmick

The President is doing his best to convince the public that $85B in cuts this year will be the equivalent of the apocalypse. Meanwhile, the Democratic Senate plan he has endorsed contains $110B in deficit reduction split evenly between cuts and revenues. That means the President's plan is for $55B in cuts.

How is it possible that $85B in cuts means the end of the world but $55B is responsible and painless? Here's the catch. According to the Hill, the $55B in cuts is divided equally between discretionary spending and the military. The military half, totaling $27.5B, "would be phased in between 2015 and 2021."

So Obama and Senate Democrats want to replace this year's looming sequester cuts with cuts that a) don't happen this year and b) will amount to a measly $4B a year for 7 years when (if) they eventually happen. That might ease the pain but it doesn't get us to the $4T worth of deficit reduction needed to avoid another downgrade.


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