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.