The GOP's Stake in the Sequester
In Bloomberg, I explain what Republicans have to lose in the sequester:
U.S. Republicans think they have nothing to lose from the sequestration. But nobody knows what the effects of the federal agencies’ spending cuts will be. Will it be chaos? Or will it be bearable? Your guess is as good as mine.
Until we have the answer, Republicans do have something to lose: the credibility of their own argument for spending cuts.
The sequestration is designed to hurt. Federal agencies have little flexibility in how the cuts are administered. Only a few have made longer-term plans for how they’ll manage. The result is a bunch of cuts that will create disproportionate disruption in the normal functions of government, and that can't plausibly be permanent.
Republicans hope to convince the public that the U.S. can make substantial cuts in federal spending. Showing them that the first incision leads to furloughs of air traffic controllers, for example, is precisely the wrong way to do it. What's worse, from the party's point of view, is that the cuts won't stick. Furloughs are not a real plan to reduce government spending.