When a Sequestration Cut Is Not Exactly a Cut

Sequestration cuts will still mean spending growth. But that doesn't mean that they're any less scary.

House Speaker John Boehner speaks at a news conference with Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Feb. 13, 2013. The House Republicans said Senate Democrats must work to avert cuts that will go into effect March 1.

House Speaker John Boehner speaks at a news conference with Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Feb. 13, 2013. The House Republicans said Senate Democrats must work to avert cuts that will go into effect March 1.

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It's not just the size or pace of sequestration that makes it economically threatening but the across-the-board quality of the cuts. But the likelihood of those cuts taking effect seems to grow with every day. With that in mind, says Makin, sequestration should be done in as thoughtful a way as possible.

"Let's say the sequestration goes through. Congress could and should pass legislation that says, 'Look. Department XYZ—including Defense—you have to cut the same amount out of your budget, but you can adjust how to do it,'" says Makin. "The given is the cuts are there. If somebody cuts your budget you think harder about how you spend it."

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