Inhofe Proposal Fails to Address Key Sequestration Problems
Joel Friedman and Sharon Parrott have issued a commentary on a proposal before the Senate today to replace the “sequestration” budget cuts scheduled to begin tomorrow. Here’s the opening:
A measure from Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA), which the Senate is expected to consider today, is presented by supporters as giving the President the needed flexibility to address the impending $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts (“sequestration”), enabling him to cut some programs more and some less to hit the $85 billion target.
The measure gives the President sweeping powers to make cuts and changes in any program — including even Social Security, veterans’ disability compensation, and other programs that are currently exempt from sequestration. The delegation of authority is so broad that some prominent Republicans, such as Arizona Senator John McCain, have expressed concern that Congress is abdicating its powers and responsibilities.
Nevertheless, this measure fails to address the most serious problems that sequestration presents: (1) the required cuts would be made while the economy remains weak; and (2) the President must rely solely on spending cuts rather than taking a more balanced approach by achieving some savings on the revenue side (such as by closing tax loopholes).