Top talker: Tom Whalen on sequestration

March 1st, 2013

whalen-150x150Sequester Day is here. President Obama and Congressional leaders met at the White House earlier today but they did not reach an agreement on the sequester which means automatic-across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect today.

Tom Whalen, a political and presidential historian, has spoken to the media on several occasions discussing the meaning of sequester and budget cuts, winners & losers, as well as the impact of budget cuts on Americans in the coming months.

What will be the effect of the sequester? (
“I think the best way to describe it is “The Big Hurt” because a lot of people are going to feel this pain but the funny thing about it is they’re not going to feel it right away. It will be kind of a rolling blackout effect.”

Whalen weighs in on the upcoming sequester (WFXT)
“He [Obama] will take a short-term political hit, but again, in the weeks ahead these cuts will make a difference particularly in higher ed, particularly in high-tech companies, and there will be layoffs.”

Who will blink first in Washington? (NECN)
“One side has to cry ‘uncle’ and right now, President Obama holds all the cards because he’s not running for reelection. It doesn’t help the republicans that the Tea Party’s already crowing that they are responsible for the sequester, how the sequester is a good thing.  And I can see Speaker Boehner basically swallowing hard when he hears those comments coming from the Tea Party.”

Automatic Spending Cuts 2013: Is Obama Inflating Sequester Impacts To Scare Public, GOP Toward Tax Hike? (International Business Times)
“They are eyeball to eyeball here. I think Obama has the advantage on this. He can certainly suggest [the governors] can play ball here because less money will impact the whole financial status of their states. They’ve done the number crunching and it really alarms them. He’s using classic divide and conquer tactics, which I think will be effective in the longer term. [Obama] can wait it out. He doesn’t have to go for re-election.”

Budget cuts ‘could be devastating’ for Massachusetts (
“Because we have so many universities, hospitals, and high-tech firms like Raytheon that rely a lot on defense contracts, it could be pretty devastating. We’re talking thousands of jobs lost here. The medical schools and universities that rely on grants – this will greatly affect them. It’s going to upset the bottom line and they will have to cut back on teachers, maybe student aides. So many jobs here depend on the defense industry and this will cause problems. Just as it looked really bright, there is a dark cloud emerging. In many ways, we are being penalized for being innovative.”

Defense Spending Cuts 2013: Should Obama Worry Sequester Effects Could Shape His Legacy? (International Business Times)
“It’s an elaborate game of chicken. Obama doesn’t have to go for re-election again. They do. The Republicans have to be pretty uneasy about that. In retrospect, it was a brilliant move for President Obama to kick this can down the road to have the sequester after the election.”

More Whalen in the media

Contact Whalen at 978-888-3131 or

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