NPQ: Governance, Anyone? The Stupidity of Sequestration

WRITTEN BY RICK COHEN  CREATED ON TUESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2013 13:20

February 19, 2013; Source: Washington Post

The nation is peering into the abyss of the sequester, which is scheduled to take effect on March 1st and which would come with potentially devastating consequences to the domestic human needs programs that many nonprofits deliver in partnership with or on behalf of the federal government. Both Republicans and Democrats have been shouting “I dare ya’!” to see which side will blink as we move closer to what would be the first phase in ten years of automatic federal budget if the two parties aren’t able to negotiate a deficit-cutting compromise.

Remember the fiscal cliff? It went beyond an eleventh hour solution, as the deal was sealed after the clock struck midnight. Chuck Todd and others at NBC News count the sequester as the fifth fiscal standoff since 2011, when the Republicans took control of the House—and there may be a sixth later in March, when the continuing budget resolution that keeps the government running will be up for extension or renegotiation. Just remember what Erskine Bowles told Ezra Klein of the Washington Post concerning the unique apocalyptic approach Congress chose last year for reducing the budget deficit:

“When somebody asked me about the sequester, I said it’s stupid, stupid, stupid. No business cuts like that when they need to reduce their cost. You go into the budget and you make your cuts surgically in those areas that will have the least adverse effect on productivity.”

As an alternative to the stupid sequester, Bowles and his partner, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), are in the news because they have released sort of a Bowles-Simpson 2.0—a new version of their deficit-cutting proposals. They take the estimate that the federal government has already made commitments to cut the deficit by $2.7 trillion over the next decade, but another $2.4 trillion is needed to bring the deficit below 70 percent of gross domestic product, according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Continue reading here: http://bit.ly/XtdVx0

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