Budget deficits have been hanging over this country for a long time. Back in 2011, when a federal government shutdown was looming if Congress didn't find a way to come to a budget agreement, the Budget Control Act of July 2011 provided an out. Republicans and Democrats agreed to continuing budget resolutions - to keep funding programs at their current pace - if a bipartisan panel could come up with a set of budget cuts, amounting to $1 trillion over the next decade. If not, automatic budget cuts, or sequestered cuts, would take place at the end of this year.
Everyone thought this plan would work, because the thought of across-the-board cuts and the end of the Bush-era tax cuts was too horrible to comtemplate.
Of course, the panel could not come to an agreement on reducing the budget. And so we are coming down to the wire on the automatic budget cuts, about $100 billion's worth next year unless Congress can come to a last minute agreement.
In a report on where the automatic cuts would fall, the White House Budget Office wrote, "Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction."
The responsible way, of course, is for Congress and the White House to agree on a more responsible buget reduction plan within the next few months.
We don't think that's going to happen. The best we can think of happening is that the automatic cuts will be put off another year, and the government spending will keep rolling along.