The Lonesome Death of Automatic Defense Cuts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 20 2012 2:10 PM

The Lonesome Death of Automatic Defense Cuts

If you're lucky, you've erased the traumas of the debt ceiling debate and the "supercommittee." You may have forgotten the weapon that was supposed to make the supercommittee work, by scaring Republicans and Democrats into compromise. The triggers. There were to be automatic defense and entitlement spending cuts, so fearsome that no party would want them to kick in.

This was the plan. It was weakened, at first, when Republicans successfully redefined "defense cuts" and softened them to "security cuts." Maybe the military budget wouldn't need to be slashed by $600 billion, after all. But surely, there'd be some sort of cuts to defense!

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No, there wouldn't be. Read the defense language in the new Republican budget, the shiny 2013 "Path to Prosperity."

While the sequester serves an important role in forcing Congress to reduce spending, it is vital that those spending reductions be done in a responsible way. Therefore, policymakers in both parties  agree that the sequester should be replaced with equivalent deficit reduction to ensure that the national defense is not compromised.

And that's the end of that.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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