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July 8, 2015

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Obama says sequester not an apocalypse, ‘just dumb’


Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, Friday, March 1, 2013, following his meeting with congressional leaders regarding the automatic spending cuts.

“This is not going to be an apocalypse. It’s just dumb.”

That was how President Barack Obama summed up the sequester Friday, speaking to reporters after an Oval Office meeting with the four congressional leaders — the first official step toward striking a compromise to avoid the full effect of sequestration the team of political frenemies has taken.

Obama scolded Congress repeatedly — reserving his sharpest rebukes for Republicans — for having missed the self-imposed March 1 deadline to prevent an across-the-board budget cut from going into effect at selected federal agencies.

“The greatest nation on earth doesn’t conduct its business in month to month increments, or by careening from crisis to crisis,” Obama said.

“It is absolutely true that this is not going to precipitate the type of crisis with the country defaulting...but people are going to be hurt,” he said. “The economy will not grow as quickly as it would have, unemployment will not go down as quickly as it would have, and there are lives behind that.”

But, Obama suggested, missing the sequester deadline might not be a completely bad thing, because sequester pain can encourage congressional progress.

“My hope is that after some reflection, as members of Congress start hearing from constituents that are being negatively impacted, as we start seeing the impact the sequester’s having, that they step back and say: ‘All right, is there a way for us to move forward?’” Obama said.

But forward for Obama isn’t just finding an alternative set of cuts for the sequester. Obama said his sequester replacement would be a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reform and tax reform.

“I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I don’t think that is partisan,” Obama said, noting that he thinks several Republicans would agree with his approach. “There is a caucus of common sense up on Capitol Hill. It’s just, it’s a silent group right now.”

Obama’s plan actually is less potentially controversial than Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s proposed solution, which would involve raising the tax rate incrementally on the highest wage earners to offset sequester cuts. Obama didn’t talk in those terms Friday, noting that he wants tax reform “without raising rates.”

Emerging from the White House meeting Friday, House Speaker John Boehner, the chief Republican on Capitol Hill, indicated that he was no more willing to talk about collecting more tax revenue after the meeting than before.

But Obama indicated that Republicans were not willing to give any ground just yet on closing tax loopholes, either — a tactic that generates more tax revenue for the government by ending deductions instead of raising rates.

“It’s time to focus on spending,” Boehner’s office said the speaker told the group.

On Thursday, Reid appeared unruffled as he talked about plans to work with Boehner and other Republicans to offset the sequester cuts and tackle the next phase of the federal budget before both come up to a hard-and-fast effective deadline of March 27. Congress is scheduled to be in Washington working through March 25.

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  1. Since the media began to publish the truth; that he created it, refused to lead on it and refused a congressional offer to tailor it to his likes and that consequently ... He owns it, he has backed off his earlier campaign to blame the opposition.

    When he thought he could create another crises and blame it on Republicans he campaigned all over the country calling it a disaster of immense proportions. Children would starve and go without education. Seniors would go without medical care, we would be helpless before aggressive nations and the sky would fall.

    Now that the public realizes his part, his lack of leadership, his dishonest intentions and his ownership of it, all of a sudden it's not that bad, just an inconvenience.

    Anything to avoid responsibility for something he can't blame Bush for. Never waste a crises that you can blame on others, oops... backtrack ... this one is mine.

  2. Obama says the sequester is "Just Dumb". Let me see. The sequester concept was promoted and advanced by Obama, so using basic college analogy we can say, Obama is Dumb.

    Works for me

  3. He would certainly know what dumb realy is....

  4. If you listen to politicians it seems like we have a disaster every couple months. Yet the stock market is approaching all-time highs.

    Obama's approval is over 50% and the Republicans are sitting at 26%. That says it all!

  5. Worst president in my lifetime!

  6. Well if anyone knows " dumb" it's Obama, he's proven that with his hand out policies and out of control spending and taxing. The president could win a third term if it was allowed becuase of his hand out to the lazy urban inner city voters.

  7. Looks like the sequester has hit just about everyone except the President and his State Department. Now the President's Secretary of State has promised Egypt 450 Million Dollars of US Taxpayers money. Blame anyone you want but it looks like there is no shortage of money in the eyes of the President and his Secretary of State, John Kerry.

  8. Rhetoric to build consensus?????

  9. Bring on the sequel. We need serious and SIGNIFICANT BUDGET CUTS. The initial token cuts did NOT result in the end of the world as we know it, nor will real responsibility. We must STOP SPENDING more than we take in. BALANCE the BUDGET.

  10. As a graduate of Columbia, I have to ask the admissions office what they were thinking when they admitted Barack Obama with a lackluster record from Occidental College. He went on to be an insignificant and undistinguished student, an undistinguished "community organizer" and then an unremarkable career in every regard. He served a single term in the Senate with no accomplishments. And as a President he has had the singular distinction of running up $6 trillion of Federal debt in his first 4 years -- that is as much as was created in the first 220 years of the country. So "dumb" is truly an appropriate word for just about everything he touches. Unfortunately, our senior senator from Nevada is complicit in all of this astoundingly bad fiscal policy.

    Let's just put it straight -- you could tax the top 1% of America at an 80% marginal tax rate -- and you would still have a $500 mm deficit based on this administration's spending habits. So who does the President want to blame next? Not enough Corporate Taxes? Not enough income taxes on the wealthy? Maybe a confiscatory tax on Hollywood and Warren Buffett?

    The plain truth is the country spends too much....way, way too much....on absurd healthcare (which he's made worse) and transfer payments to the elderly (who are living to 8o but still retiring at 62) And until the genius President wants to have the courage to talk about those two items, the rest of his noise is just that...vapid, empty noise.