Countdown to Sequestration: Seven Months to Go

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Over the weekend, the nation moved within seven months of End of the World Wednesday. That would be January 2, assuming Congress and the President can’t come up with $1.2 trillion in budget reductions over the next decade. Absent a deal, another $600 billion in defense cuts, would be piled atop the $487 billion already carved from the Pentagon’s spending plans. It would slash about $1 trillion in military spending over the coming decade — about 15% — and bring 2013’s military budget down to 2007’s level.

Congressional Democrats are refusing to let all $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction come from spending cuts, and the GOP opposes raising taxes to help hit the target. Plainly, this is beginning to look like that chicken run in Rebel Without a Cause, where Jimmie, James Dean’s character, bails out of his car just before it plunges over a cliff. Buzz, alas, isn’t so lucky.

Last week the stakes increased, as the Pentagon – after whispering it over with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget – warned the $88 billion slated for the Afghan war in 2013 would be chopped, just like the rest of the Pentagon’s budget. Earlier, the Defense Department had assured its increasingly nervous constituencies that war spending would be protected from such cuts.

Now, some of those who pushed for the cuts across the federal budget last year are trying to undo those slated to hit the Pentagon. “Sequestration will do what the greatest generation fought so hard to prevent and defend against more than a half-century ago,” Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the armed services committee said. “It will do what the Soviets exhausted themselves attempting. It will do what countless tin pot dictators, ideological madmen, and ruthless suicide bombers have failed to do.”

Like driving a car over a cliff?

h/t Lissa “Auter” August