At this writing, we are days away from across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester. Although both President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner assure us “hope springs eternal,” no deal to avert the cuts appears to be in sight.
The media says you should be very afraid. The Washington Post treated sequestration as the fiscal equivalent of clubbing a baby seal. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says we can kiss border security goodbye. The nightly news is filled with talk of furloughs and service disruptions.
All things being equal, the sequester is a dumb way to cut government spending. The numbers are random. By leaving entitlements off the table, it disproportionately targets programs that aren’t the long-term drivers of debt. Sequestration is a particularly arbitrary and cavalier way to handle defense spending.