Last Moment Passes, More Last Moments to Come

Defense sequestration is technically upon us. Given how much talk has been devoted to this subject over the past few months, it might well be a holiday. Forgive the jokes, as this matter is quite serious: hundreds of thousands of job losses and work reductions that will result from sequestration. Civilian workers will begin their furloughs. (Military personnel are exempt.) Each program will be cut by nine percent. The service chiefs are furious, the DoD is quite open about its discontent.

New proposals continue to flounder in Congress (the Senate has plans to reduce defense cuts), and President Obama will try, in a last-minute, quixotic effort, to craft a budget deal. Some silver linging comes out of St. Louis, where some predict the defense-heavy region won’t be as badly pounded by the cuts as one might think: long-term contracts will buffer some of the impact.

Fred Kaplan blames the Republicans for letting something designed never to happen to happen. House Republicans and Bob Woodward are pointing at the White House as the culprit. At the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint wrote that the cuts are relatively inconsequential, if poorly executed, and don’t get to the heart of the matter. There seems no end in sight, however, as even house Armed Services Committee head Buck McKeon has ruled out raising taxes and the Democrats will not move off of that position. No solution is at hand and deep effects of sequestration might not be seen soon. Sounds like a recipe for doing nothing…