To The Bone: Steve Doocy Whiffs On Sequestration


Fox News host Steve Doocy downplayed the effects of looming automatic budget cuts by comparing them to the national budget, a meaningless comparison since these cuts focus on a specific aspect of the budget known as discretionary spending, which would have a significant effect on many programs.

On Fox & Friends, Doocy downplayed the automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, by saying the cuts are "not going to cut to the bone anyway. The president has described it as a meat cleaver because it's simply an across-the-board cut. It is like a 2.5% cut. It is not really meat cleaver, it's more of a slight little haircut that we're talking about here":

But Doocy is wrong about how the cuts will affect the federal budget. Though these cuts are 2.5% of total government spending, they would primarily affect discretionary spending, a much smaller portion of the budget. The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog noted that those who claim the sequestration would cut 2.5% of the budget do not provide the necessary context to understand what these numbers mean:

Virtually all of the $85 billion in reductions are being made in the discretionary budget -- which is only about 31 percent of federal spending. So this figure, cited by many Republicans, is based on the wrong-sized pie.

Discretionary spending must be funded year after year by Congress, whereas so-called mandatory programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and the like) are on automatic pilot unless Congress changes the law. The mandatory programs are largely untouched in the sequester -- though Medicare providers must take a 2 percent haircut -- even though projections show that mandatory programs are most responsible for the growth in spending.

In effect, that means one-third of the budget is carrying the burden of almost all of the cost reductions. And then on top of that, the cuts must be done in about half a year. Do the math -- the percentages add up very quickly.

The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report that calculated the impact of sequestration on discretionary spending, finding that failure to reach a deal would amount to cuts approaching 8% for many non-defense programs and almost 13% for defense programs:

BPC report image 1

The report further found that sequestration would cause non-defense discretionary spending to fall to "modern-era lows as a share of the economy":

BPC report image 2

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Fox News Channel
Steve Doocy
FOX & Friends
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