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The Plague of Locusts Has Been Canceled

10:09 AM, Jul 1, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Remember how the sequester was supposed to ravage the landscape?  The automatic spending cuts would, we were told, cause all manner of pain and suffering – inconvenience, even – as David A. Fahrenthold & Lisa Rein of the Washington Post report, we were warned:

There would be one-hour waits at airport security. Four-hour waits at border crossings. Prison guards would be furloughed for 12 days. FBI agents, up to 14. 

At the Pentagon, the military health program would be unable to pay its bills for service members. The mayhem would extend even into the pantries of the neediest Americans: Around the country, 600,000 low-income women and children would be denied federal food aid.

These things did not happen.  The sequester is a bad way to do business, allowing Washington to avoid hard choices and pin the blame on a budgeting contraption of its own making which is designed to make the public beg for mercy. More spending, please. Higher deficits, please. Anything but this awful Sequester.

Instead:

many predictions fell short because, in recent months, the administration and Congress did what was supposed to be impossible: They undid many of sequestration’s scariest reductions. In the process, this supposedly ironclad budget cut — ostensibly immune to political maneuvering — became a symbol of the reality that nothing in Washington is beyond politics.

And, miracles happened ... for instance:

... politicians transferred cuts from high-value programs to lower-value ones. Employee travel was limited. Maintenance deferred.

The bad news is that the sequester did real damage to the nation's military and that it probably set a precedent for the use of similar gimmicks in the future and a predictably cynical response from the public when it is warned about the dreaded effects.

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