“The Sequester is coming! The Sequester is coming!” That characterizes the racket you have been hearing from the politicians of both parties and the media talking heads about the mandated federal budget cuts set to begin today. If you happen to be feeling nervous about this, here is some advice for you: Relax.
Take a look outside. The sun will be shining, the birds will be singing, the dogs will be barking and the cats will be scratching. Nothing bad will happen. In fact, we have been through something like this before.
Many of us remember the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 Act. It also was known as the Gramm-Rudman Act, because that is faster to say.
The act was named for its sponsors, Sen. Phill Gramm, R-Texas, Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., and Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C.
It was first passed in 1985, then amended in 1987 to satisfy a court challenge. Rudman died last year. Hollings and Gramm are still living, and Gramm remains a vocal budget hawk, frequently speaking out in favor of limiting federal spending.
Writing in the Wednesday Wall Street Journal, Gramm reminds us that the Sequester isn’t as horrible as Republicans and Democrats, especially the president, are making it out to be.
“Even after the Sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year,” he writes, “and 30 percent more than it did in 2007.”
Also, he says, the cuts aren’t arbitrary, but were debated and legislated by the Congress and signed by President Obama.
Gee. It would seem both sides are to blame for the sdequester, even though they love to blame each other.
Gramm says the cuts that will occur this year amount to $44 billion, about 1.2 percent of total federal spending.
After the Gramm-Rudman Act had run its course, prosperity reigned for a few years until over-spending started again.
Maybe we’ll get lucky again.