Calling Out Stupidity

As we drift towards the sequester on Friday, it’s worth paying attention now and then to politicians who are willing to make it clear to the public how stupid this process is; how if utilized by, say, a city council, we’d see recall petitions bloom.

So here’s Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), quoted at The Hill:

“I don’t think the public realizes how stupid these cuts are,” said Warner on “CBS This Morning” of the across-the-board spending cuts. “In many places we will end up cutting things that will cost the taxpayer more money than the cuts.”

“Let me give you three quick examples. In the navy there are 975 separate line items – each of those will be cut. Each of these programs are not of equal value to the taxpayer,” said Warner. “In some places, we’ll actually even have to cut long-term contracts, volume-based contracts, which means we’ll have to pay more for ships and planes. We’re also going to be cutting back on NIH grants not being able to finish, meat inspectors, so the price of meat will go up.”

Now it’s true Warner represents a state that’s going to be hit especially hard by the sequester (not so much by cuts in federal-state programs, but because of the heavy impact on Northern Virginia’s vast number of civilian Pentagon employees and defense contractors). But as conservatives begin to snuggle up to the sequester as a Good Thing (even as they continue to blame the administration for unearthing the procedure from the dustbin of bad idea, in response to Republicans pig-headedness on the budget), accurate use of the “s” word to describe the whole mess is more important than ever.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.