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‘If Not Now, When?’

All factions agree that the mandated defense cuts of the scheduled “sequester” would dangerously damage our security, but the president’s plan to avert disaster offers precisely the wrong approach. He wants more tax hikes to finance new spending—and wants to postpone scheduled budget trims until he gets his “grand bargain.” But Congress only needs $85 billion in savings—just 2.3 percent of overall spending!—to avoid the automatic cuts in the sequester.

The necessary reductions amount to less than 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, so it’s ridiculous to describe such reforms as unattainable. If Washington politicians can’t come up with these relatively trivial cuts this month, they’ll never make the long-term reforms necessary to avoid budgetary collapse. As the great sage Rabbi Hillel asked two thousand years ago: “If not now, when?”

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