(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The deadline to come up with a deal to avoid sequestration has come and gone. President Obama made some dire predictions about the March 1 deadline, so what political and economic fallout are we actually dealing with? Now that Chuck Hagel’s rocky confirmation as defense secretary is over, will John Brennan, Obama’s pick for CIA director, get the same treatment? We’ll take a look at the big political stories of the week with a team of Washington experts.

Guests:
Todd Zwillich, Washington correspondent for "The Takeaway" from PRI and WNYC
Marc Sandalow, associate academic director at the University of California's Washington Center and Washington editor of the California News Service
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, congressional and politics reporter for Bloomberg News

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    If I am fat and out of shape I need to rethink how I live and make needed changes so I will become healthier and dependent on myself and not others.
    We as citizens need to start looking to ourselves and immediate family and even close friends when in need. Not the government!
    Sadly, we have to many citizens and businesses that feed off the government teat and it has to stop. We have more money going out than coming in, and even if we taxed the riches folks 100% we would still need to cut spending.
    Problem is to many folks do not want the ‘givernment’ to stop helping them!

    • I’ll be Frank

      We are no longer living in the 1970’s.
      The general public is not mooching off the government to anywhere near the degree they once were.
      Today it is businesses that are the main recipients of aid, because of lobbyists and corrupt politicians.
      99.99% of the unnecessary spending goes to the military industrial complex, companies that spy on us, banks, big oil etc., plus numerous small businesses across the nation like farms and construction companies.

    • thucy

      Beth wrote:
      “f I am fat and out of shape I need to rethink how I live and make needed changes so I will become healthier and dependent on myself and not others.”

      Beth, every time you get in your car and drive to where you’re going, you’re not only depriving yourself of needed exercise, you’re dependent on the government that occupies bases all over the world JUST SO THAT you can have the petrol to drive your car.

      That unthinking behavior is exactly why your admonition that others should not depend on the government is so woefully out of tune.

    • thucy

      Beth wrote:

      “Problem is to many folks do not want the ‘givernment’ to stop helping them!”

      The “givernment”? Are you kidding?

      Beth, without the “givernment’s” (sic) subsidies for your $4/gallon gasoline and other cheap fuels (which might cost you twice as much in Europe), you couldn’t function out there in Calaveras, you couldn’t run your farm, you probably couldn’t heat your house.

      You only think you’re self-sustaining. You and every other rural resident may, in the end, use more gov’t resources than the fabled urban black welfare mother, provided said welfare mother doesn’t drive.

      • James Ivey

        Dismissing government as an evil to be minimized is the height of ignorance. You wouldn’t have an iPhone without basic, government-funded research into thin-film displays and lithium-ion batteries. You wouldn’t have ANY computing devices without government-funded research that replaced vacuum tubes with transistors (needed to shrink electronics to fit into manned space vehicles). And, the iPhone wouldn’t be anything more than an MP3 player without the Act of Congress that created the Internet (led by, yes, of course, Al Gore).

        Name any country in the world with a smaller government (budget as a percentage of GDP) that has a quality of life better than the US. I can name many that have larger governments.

        Government as a boogey-man is pure stupidity.

        • thucy

          I gave a thumbs-up to your comment, because I agree with those beneficial aspects.

          Unfortunately, it does seem clear that many other government expenditures (war on terror, war on drugs) have been anything but beneficial, and should be gutted, with the savings going into 1) education and infrastructure and 2) some payment of debt (I write “some” because debt would be more effectively paid down with increase in revenues that would accrue from investment in infrastructure and education.)

          • James Ivey

            I agree. Not all government acts are good. I’m just countering the assertion that “the government that governs least governs best.” It’s simply not true.

    • Guest

      Yes, why don’t we get together this weekend and build a highway? Or deliver some mail? Volunteer air traffic control would be a blast. Or perhaps bring the kids over and they can play while we craft some foreign policy or revise the government’s relationship with transnational pharmaceutical industries. (Then we could watch a movie.)

    • thucy

      So… come clean, Beth. Two days ago you let us know you’re descended from not one but TWO founding fathers (just like Sally Hemmings, but without the slave part!)

      But… tell us something more salient. How many subsidies and entitlements are you and your family availing yourself of?
      Medicare?
      MediCal?
      Mortgage deductions?
      Food stamps?
      Small business write-offs?
      Farm subsidies?

      I think your bottom line is, “If I, a God-fearing white rural descendant of not one but two founding fathers, avail myself of the benefit, then it is not an entitlement. But if that Black lady” (who may ALSO be a descendant of several founding fathers) “gets a government subsidy, IT’s WELFARE!!!”

  • Guest

    If I were Chuck Hagel, right after getting into office I would find every way possible to stick it to Israel, which it earned by putting him through so much abuse through it puppets in Washington.

    They’ve bullied everyone in DC who questions fails to kiss their jack boots and beg for mercy. Their lobbyists are worse than most Nazi concentration camp guards.

  • What with this release of illegal alien detainees by dhs? I get the feeling Nepalitano doesn”t want to enforce the law.

  • Chemist150

    I’m glad the sequestration happened since it’s the only way it’s getting done.

    My beef with this, however, is that “entitlements” continue to be brought up. Many of these entitlement programs have specific taxes collected for them and thus only need to be balanced with that tax which is collected. It should not be affected by general funding issues other than the money was borrowed from these other taxes to fund wars.

    The entitlement program of Social Security has already been attacked by the Obama administration with the “tax holiday” paying less into social security over a two year period. This means less to pay out later to retired people and helps balance the budget down the road for doing so. They already stole more from our futures and keep the public’s attention on their left hand why they steal with the right.

    I grow more discontent as years roll by and I watch this country’s demise unfold.

  • Guest

    While the tax increases recently accepted by Republicans is
    paltry, I wonder why Democrats have not put forward even a dollar in
    cuts. Is our government run so efficiently that we cannot find it?

    • Kathleen31

      You’re kidding aren’t you? Or did you hit “send” without re-reading what you wrote? The Democrats have made many, many cuts already and have proposed even more. It’s all on record, easy to find the facts.

      • Guest

        Those are mainly cuts in proposed increase. Some cuts like cuts to Medicare payments are only on paper, they make full payments to doctors anyway. The actual budget went up from 2.9 to 3.7 trillion in the last 4 years alone, that is an increase of 6% a year. Sure, before that, we saw another phenomenal increase under president Bush, from 1.9 trillion to 2.9 trillion in 8 years and not many Republicans were heard complaining about it. I don’t think our economy grew at 6%. As far as your reaction, no need to jump to conclusions.

  • Guest

    The two party political system is really shining brightly about now 😉

  • James Ivey

    People need to really read the so-called threatening e-mail. It’s not threatening at all. Calling it such is at best misinformed and ignorant and, at worse, a bold-faced lie.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/exclusive-the-woodward-sperling-emails-revealed-88226.html

    From Sperling: “… But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus [President of the United States] asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. …”

    From Woodward: “Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob”

    • Chris OConnell

      Pathetic corporate Woodward, wrongfully whining about being threatened. Woodward has jumped the shark. I guess Krasny did not read the email because he was calling it threat.

  • Matt G

    So essentially what I’m hearing is that not ending the sequester could potentially be politically advantageous to either democrats or republicans, and as such there is less motivation to actually reach a deal, as one side is banking that holding out will harm the other. To me this is sad wake-up call of the across the board disfunction in Washington.

    • Guest

      It is spelled “dysfunction,” but I like the idea of the diss-function in DC. That sort of accurately describes what is happening. Congressional votes have become a way of dissing the Other instead of considering legislation on the merits.

  • thucy

    Guest makes a good, interesting point about Pelosi’s strengths. Unfortunately, for those of us who were once centrist Democrats, the party has been pulled so far to the right that many of us have dissociated ourselves from it. Pelosi fought a tough battle, but truth is, we’ve lost because the Democrats now stand to the right of the Nixon admin.

  • thucy

    GREAT CALLERS! Sequester/haircut/furlough the congressional staff.

  • William

    The key question on sequestration public opinion is: Will enough red districts feel enough pain from government cuts to change votes? Any analysis of that?

  • Devil’s Advocate

    What else should we expect? The politicians are simply doing what they believe is in their best interest. As long as they can keep us arguing Republican versus Democrat or vice versa, the dysfunctional status quo government wins every time. We complain about our government year after year and then proceed to vote the same politicians right back into office every chance we get. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Let’s try voting them ALL out for a change. In six years, we could have a completely new cast of political characters. Let’s see how they behave once it becomes clear that the voting public is actually paying attention!

    • thucy

      Bring it on; I’m ready for Beppe Grillo. Seriously.

  • Curious

    “President Obama made some dire predictions about the March 1 deadline” Yes, Obama has made dire predictions (mostly lies) about a procedure that he came up with.
    What a disaster Obama is.

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