Chart of the Day: Understanding the Budget-Cut 'Trigger'

More

An easy-to-understand visualization of sequestration, a hard-to-understand hot-button issue

SequesterChart.banner.BPC.jpg

Now that Congress is back in town, and has finished passing legislation that bans congressional insider training -- a no-brainer vote with populist overtones and overwhelmingly bipartisan support among voters -- it's time to go back to the contentious issues. At the top of the agenda are budget cuts.

As you will recall, the failure of the congressional Super Committee triggered mandatory spending cuts. This "sequestration" was meant to be an incentive to both sides to find a deal, because the cuts would harm programs that both parties are fond of. Surprising no one except maybe the members of Congress involved, that ploy, and the Super Committee, failed, and no agreement was reached.

With those cuts looming, some hawkish members of Congress are attempting a last-minute maneuver to prevent the mandatory defense cuts. "I believe the cuts that would be required by sequestration aimed at the Department of Defense are a threat to our nation's security and we are opposed to that draconian action," Sen. John McCain said Thursday. Doves and deficit hawks contend that's scaremongering, pointing out that even with the cuts, the U.S. will spend significantly more on defense than any other nation.

In any case, sequestration remains one of the most arcane pieces of an already arcane budget matter. This chart from the Bipartisan Policy Center lays out what's on the chopping block quite clearly. They've got more on the cuts -- including the disheartening fact that sequestration won't really make much difference in controlling the national debt -- here.

Image: Bipartisan Policy Center

Jump to comments
Presented by

David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In