As per usual, Larry Kudlow hits the nail on the head in his latest his op-ed, “The Pro-Growth Sequester.”
One of the potential outcomes of the sequester is that it doesn’t bring about sweeping poverty, collapsed government, and the end of the world. According to Kudlow and the CBO, sequestration will cause budget outlays to “come down by $44 billion, or one-quarter of 1 percent of GDP.” But I guess in Washington, any hint of a slowdown of spending is alarming to many.
Among the contingencies we should consider is what if the sequester isn’t so bad and it is actually a first, modest step toward some spending discipline in Washington? It’ll be interesting to see if after the non-collapse, President Obama tries to take credit.
The sequester is something of a political phenomenon. When it goes into effect, it will be one of the most significant things to occur in Washington in the last four years and oddly, none of the Congressional leadership nor the president is for it. Again, something big is about to happen that no one in power supports. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. Perhaps we should write more laws that declare if the president and Congress don’t act, then spending cuts will ensue. We have never been particularly successful in slowing spending any other way.
Undoubtedly, next week the media will be scrambling for made-for-TV visuals of long lines at airports, idle warships, and somebody somewhere missing a meal as a result of the government having, as Kudlow put it, only 1.25 percent of its budget cut. We need to prepare for the possibility that there won’t actually be any drama or calamity after March 1. What will be the lessons learned?