This means embracing the sequester, which demands more than $1 trillion in reduced spending over the next decade. The sequester became law in 2011 to resolve the showdown over increasing the federal debt limit. But the sequester’s cuts to both defense and social programs were thought to be so unpalatable to both parties that the pols would be forced to find other ways to reduce the deficit before the cuts begin on January 1. Mr. Obama’s re-election may change the political calculus.
Right now Republicans say they oppose both defense cuts and tax hikes. But most members of the GOP caucus will likely accept a leaner Pentagon to spare further harm to a stagnant economy, and to begin to restrain deficit spending. Says Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, “The only thing worse than a defense cut is no cut at all.”