Boehner's Sequester-Touting PowerPoint

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Feb. 20 2013 9:21 AM

John Boehner's 2011 PowerPoint Touting the Sequester

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves after a news briefing Feb. 14, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves after a news briefing Feb. 14, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

A weird thing has opened up in Washington where now the big point of emphasis among congressional Republicans is to say that the looming budget sequester that Republicans voted for is "Obama's sequester" and that he is in some sense to blame for it. That's about 85 percent bullshit, depending on exactly how you mean it. John Avlon at the Daily Beast has a good piece of relevant evidence: the PowerPoint slides Boehner used back in 2011 to explain to his caucus how awesome the debt ceiling deal that had been struck by the president was.

Here's the opener:

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And here's the specific slide on the sequester:

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Now what happened, as you'll recall, is that the House GOP said it would force the nation to default on its already accrued bills unless the president agreed to big cuts in spending. The White House essentially welcomed that hostage-taking, seeing it as a good opportunity to strike a grand bargain on deficit reduction, but said they'd only agree to big spending cuts if they were paired with meaningful tax increases. Boehner toyed around with embracing that idea, but ultimately balked. Then Jack Lew proposed the sequester as a process that left the door open to a grand bargain (that Obama's pursuit of a grand bargain played a role in this emerging is the non-bullshit 15 percent) but was consistent with the GOP's framework of insisting on large spending cuts unpaired with tax hikes.

In essence, Democrats tries to put pressure on the GOP to temper its anti-tax fervor as the only way to avoid big defense cuts, but it turned out—and then turned out again on the supercommittee, and then turned out again during the fiscal cliff deal—that their view on taxes trumps everything else. That's on them.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.