Spending Isn't the Problem, Austerity Is

Sequestration is going to hurt the economy--and the GOP.

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[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

The list goes on—I know because Democrats have sent out regular roundups of such local news stories to demonstrate that the sequester has teeth. That's also why Obama's Organizing for Action grassroots group is collecting citizens' sequestration stories.

And voters are taking notice, despite what much of Washington seems to think. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found 53 percent of Americans disapprove of sequestration while an amazing 72 percent disapprove of Republicans in Congress. And by a margin of 47-33, Americans hold that same congressional GOP responsible for the much-maligned spending cuts.

The question now is how long will it take for these feelings to gain discernible political traction. Specifically, will Republicans feel (dangerously) emboldened in August when the next debt ceiling showdown is expected, or will reality have chastened them?

  • Read Susan Milligan: What the GOP Can Learn from the Catholic Church's Pope Francis Pick
  • Read Peter Roff: Ted Cruz Is Becoming the GOP's Top Salesman
  • Read the U.S. News Debate: Should Balancing the Federal Budget Be a Top Policy Priority?

  • Corrected on 3/16/13:An earlier version of this column incorrectly characterized previous instances of dramatic deficit contraction. The deficit reductions which book-ended the 1960s occurred at a slower rate than the current fiscal retrenchment.