David R. Henderson  

John Thacker on Vaccinations and the Sequester

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John Thacker, a frequent commenter on this blog, also frequently comments on Scott Sumner's blog. It's safe to say that I have learned something from virtually every comment he has written. On Scott Sumner's blog yesterday, Thacker points out some interesting facts about the federal budget sequester, facts that I hadn't known.

Specifically, about the effect of the sequester on vaccinations for poor people:

There's a program in the federal budget that does vaccinations, and it was pointed to as a chief victim of the sequester. It received a budget cut, like everything else, with the sequester. However, an interesting fact (which Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland brought up in the hearing with the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] chief) is that the post-sequester budget was actually larger than the Obama Administration budget request for the program for the fiscal year.

The sequester is a cut against the FY2012 budget carried forward into 2013, whereas the Obama Administration made a separate FY2013 budget proposal that moved funds around more than simply carrying everything over. Hence how that could happen.

The Obama Administration was left in the strange position of arguing that cutting funds from 2012 to 2013 by a smaller amount than they requested was harmful and prevented vaccinations, even though they had called for an even larger budget cut.

Thacker also notes something similar about the much-discussed budget for the Federal Aviation Administration:
The Administration FY2013 budget request for the FAA was lower than what the FAA is getting post-sequester.

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CATEGORIES: Fiscal Policy

COMMENTS (3 to date)
Ken B writes:

It's almost like they are being insincere!

When cuts come they always seem to hit the stuff government was able to do pretty easily when it was much, much smaller, like fire fighters and libraries. It's almost like the priorities are set with an aim to making cuts as disruptive as possible ...

Tom West writes:

Indeed, traditionally when governments were much smaller, they did very little for people in dire straits. And yes, given their general low levels of political influence and media visibility, cutting programs to the poor would probably have the least political and newsworthy impact.

So you are correct that the current government, by choosing to have the impact of the cuts be felt across the spectrum instead of mostly on the relatively invisible, has indeed made the cuts as disruptive as possible to the people who are posting here - the middle class.

Whether one considers this a bad thing or not is a different debate.

MingoV writes:

No surprise to me. I posted here previously that the 4% budget cut was a sham. The cut was based on a larger imaginary budget, not on the actual budget. The wailing and cries of woe about the sequester were almost amusing, given that most of the cuts were not real and that Obama's first (and only) budget was 37% higher than Bush's last budget (the one Senator Obama said was irresponsible).

The admin deliberately failed to pass subsequent budgets, which meant that Obama's first budget (one billion dollars higher than before due to the "one time stimulus") became the norm. What's strange to me is that, as far as I know, none of the media, including FoxNews and other non-left wing newspapers or blogs, raised this issue.

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