The Other Sequestration That No One Is Talking About

Tyler Durden's picture

From BofAML

The 2011 failure of the Super Committee produced a sequester that reduces budget authority in FY2013 by $85bn; resulting in estimated actual spending cuts of $42bn. What is less commonly known is that in FY2013 there is also a second sequester. The math behind the second sequester is even messier than the Super Committee sequester, but the bottom line is that it adds to the fiscal pain and highlights the complexity of the budgetary process.

You may ask yourself, how did we get here?

This second sequester results from a shift in budget authority from non-defense to defense for the current fiscal year. The shift in budget authority results from the passage of the FY2013 continuing resolution (CR), which provided funding for federal agencies through March 27. In aggregate, the current CR provides the right amount of budget authority ($1.047 trillion) for the year, as stipulated in the Budget Control Act (BCA) – i.e., the Super Committee sequester.

The problem with the CR is that it over-allocates budget authority to defense and under-allocates budget authority to non-defense by roughly $11bn. Once the current CR runs out, the extra $11bn in defense spending will be sequestered.

After the money’s gone

The second sequester has the potential to increase overall fiscal austerity this year. The exact magnitude of the additional spending cuts depends on the extent the Department of Defense (DoD) exceeds the BCA baseline. As a reminder, cutting budget authority does not necessarily translate into one-for-one spending cuts. At the very extreme, if the DoD has already used all $11bn of this additional budget authority, we will see an annualized hit of $19bn, or 0.1% of GDP. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the Department of Defense did not use any of the extra $11bn, the second sequester would result in no additional austerity.

Putting an exact figure on the actual spending cuts resulting from the second sequester is very difficult. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) finds that defense spending is currently running above its baseline pre-sequester budget cap. They estimate that the second sequester will result in additional austerity of $6bn in FY2013. On an annualized basis, that is a $10bn, or 0.06% of GDP, shock.

Letting the days go by

Unless additional legislation is enacted by March 1, the sequester will begin kicking in. As far as we are aware, there are no ongoing credible negotiations to replace or delay the sequester. As we explain in the Overview, we think it is very likely that the full sequester kicks in on March 1. We expect ominous headlines throughout March as the exact impact of the sequester is recognized. We believe this has the potential to increase market volatility.

Same as it ever was

In our view, the markets are underestimating the looming fiscal shock. The complex nature of federal budgetary accounting makes it difficult to quantify the exact size of the looming fiscal austerity. Including the additional austerity from the second sequester, we continue to expect total fiscal austerity this year of 2.0% to 2.5% of GDP.

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Sudden Debt's picture

a bid of topic but Italian polls are in and guess who's winning :)
They already call it the ANTI MERKEL vote :)

Love it!

lolmao500's picture

Berlusconi is winning? No way! Awesome if true! The euro needs to die already!

Give us more details..

Daily Bail's picture


Seriously, how you can you not LOVE the sequester.  We should have one every 6 months for 5 years or however long it takes until the budget is finally fucking balanced.  Let the miserable hacks in Washington figure out the details, but the basics would be the same every 6 months.

Cut or die, punks.

Secondly, before I post this, Santelli gets a bad rap from certain knee-jerk blowhards vexed by his infamous Tea-Party rant against a bailout for homeowners, who don't realize that he's been against EVERY BAILOUT in the last 5 years, including TARP, and the Fed's ongoing stealth bailouts.

This was his best clip from last week.

SANTELLI: 'Republicans Need To Be Like Eisenhower And SLASH Spending For The Military Industrial Complex!'


smlbizman's picture

i cant wait for the blshit numbers when this happens...what season would this be that must be adjusted???

Joe Davola's picture

Oooooh, ominous headlines, wait this sounds familiar.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ Daily Bail

+ 1

At this point "whatever it takes" to cut spending is OK with me.  "Automatic brain-dead" cuts?  Yes, OK.  Even if that means going after Pentagon spending.  Cut all spending now.  There is VERY LITTLE that our .gov spends on that is worthwhile.

lolmao500's picture

And it's NOT EVEN CLOSE to what is REALLY needed in terms of austerity...

Bobbyrib's picture

Agreed. Cut more. The MSM is all over the Sequestration today and how horrible it will be for everyone. I guess they expect everyone to panic and contact their representatives to get a last minute deal in place. Hopefully, that won't happen. If they panic over cutting 2% of the budget, I would think one would have to question how solid this economic "recovery" is. 

lolmao500's picture

The MSM shall be quite hilarious to watch when the bond market says FARK YOU and the government has to cut 50%+ of the budget overnight...

LawsofPhysics's picture

Would love to see that happen, but doubt it.  The Fed is buying more the 75% of issuance.  There is no bond market.  Are you saying that the banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve is going to slit their own throat?  I see them buying gold and letting the dollar die.  Don't worry, they have another currency for you.  Stop arguing over paper, this is about power and control, period.

lasvegaspersona's picture


I agree but I do not see them able to buy gold....they will have to be content with what they have

any large purchases would cause the POG to rocket bringing to end sooner..

Daily Bail's picture


In 3 years the debt will be $20 trillion.

Slap a 5% financing cost (assuming rates are higher in 3 years) and you get $1 trillion in interest annually.

We only collect $2.5 trillion now.

Interest on the debt will be approximately 40% of total tax receipts.

That's when the real fun will begin.

Daily Bail's picture


By the way, I'm still waiting for some Keynesian punk to point out the supposed 'savage austerity' after 5 straight years of trillion-dollar deficits.

We borrow $50,000 dollars EVERY second, you goddamned Krugman Keynesian fucktards.

We wouldn't know austerity if it bit us on the nut sack.


falak pema's picture

thats...1.5 Trillion a year...So in 5 years that will make the debt : 24 T; aka 140- 150 % GDP; and interest payments will be around...750 B /year. 

If the FED devalues the $ by 30% in the meantime, its still worse than current $ terms debt and int PAyments. 

Where is the trade off, apart from growth and ...will there be growth in next 5 years with such debt and int deficit?

I think not. Unless US govt reduces expenditures by 1.5 t a year in same time frame to generate budget surpluses and thus reduce debt.

No political party can manage that. Not today. 


lasvegaspersona's picture

Obama cnnot allow ANY decrease in spending...we already have one Q of negative more quarter and we get "THE OBAMA RECERRION"  tada

that will not be allowed and he will fight for every penney using every excuse...

Bendromeda Strain's picture

We are too far gone for austerity. Denninger, Mish, et al keep saying "This is it, no more!" but they keep moving their own goalposts with each new printed round of repression. The hit is already too much to bear, and TPTB know it. Strap in, buckle up - it's time for Sheriff Joe Biden's "Gird Your Loins Show".

francis_sawyer's picture

Come on folks ~ Sing along!


I might find myself

posing in a suit that's black

& I might find myself

peeking at topless tribal girls

& I might find myself eating a bottle of Ambien sleeping pills

& I might find myself hallucinating

with an invisible snake

& I might ask myself, well

How did I get here?









& I may ask myself

Who keeps punching me?

& I may ask myself

Where is that invisible boxing midget?

& when I catch that elf

I'm chopping him up with a knife

when police catch myself

I'm probably looking at life...









insanelysane's picture

Government spending is insignificant in a true democracy.  </implied>

bugs_'s picture

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Dan The Man's picture

Agreed...But these A-Holes have been "practicing to deceive" for so long, they are quite good at it. Not so tangled anymore.

JustObserving's picture

'They estimate that the second sequester will result in additional austerity of $6bn in FY2013"

As if it matters when the Fed will be printing $1020 billion this year.  $6 billion is smaller than a rounding error. It is what the Fed prints every 2 days.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Exactly, monetizing 85 billion per month, the fucking interest on current debt alone is still around 500 billion.  End the fed, end all the fiat, restore the fucking rule of laws and contracts, protect private property and execute the fucking perps.  Nothing changes until then or broken supply chains take the world back into a real war.  Some things never change.

Bad Attitude's picture

I just want to know why entitlements/transfer payments are untouchable.

rehypothecator's picture

Because entitlement and transfer payment recipients vote, and those who vote for a living are starting to outnumber those who work for a living. 

GMadScientist's picture

Because old people bother to vote.

blindfaith's picture

Because we have been forced to pay into the system for the last 40 my case 15.3% of my income since I am self employed.  You are Another troll on ZH who doesn't mind seeing big taxpayer bucks go to corporations and banks but has been either brain washed or paid to attack Social Security with a Fox generated dirty word.

Where were you when when the bankers got their BONUSes because they claimed they had a legal 'contract' even though the damn banks got bailed out by me to pay them? 

Social Security is a legal contract that was made with the citizens.  So take your bad attitude and stick it in your tea cup.

NemoDeNovo's picture

I have been doing the same as you have but albeit for only 26 years.


But a problem I have with your post is this, in this whole "Social Contract" clap trap.  How can someone be BORN in to a contract?  Isn't that Slavery?  For any contract to be valid their needs to be FULL DISCLOSURE now doesn't there?  I myself have never signed said Social Contract, so therefore should I still be liable for it?  This is the inherant proble in 'merica today too many people trying to FORCE their will upon another through the whole "Force of Law" BULLSHIT.  Maybe you bought in to the whole SS fantasy, some of us did not and have taken alternative measures to prepare for the end of our lives.  I hold no illusion SS will be there for me or my kids for that matter and the "Tax" I have to pay is just a cost of doing business IMHO, but YMMV.


Oh and before you give some Snarky response about Tea cups or bags, I am an Independant who fully supports the NAP as a much more sane way to run my life, so.......

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, and take you apparent Collective attitude and run it somewhere else hippy.

Nick Jihad's picture

You speak for me, as well.


Bendromeda Strain's picture

Social Security is a legal contract that was made with the citizens.

Bzzzt - wrong. It was an inflicted program sold to the citizens. It is unsustainable, any honest person knows it, I am approaching eligibility and was warned it was bullshit back in the 70's, so get off your high horse. If you aren't planning to sustain yourself, then you can eat and burn your devalued "contract" dollars

Bad Attitude's picture

"You are Another troll on ZH... paid to attack Social Security... Fox... bankers... tea..."

Wow, so many politically charged buzz words! You need to stop watching MSNBC and drinking so much of Dear Leader's KoolAid - it's not good for your health.

There is a whole lot more to entitlements/transfer payments than just Social Security. I've been paying into "the system" the past 40 years, too. I just happen to actually read what is presented here on ZH, so I know the system is broken. The money is gone. Social Security is a giant Ponzi scheme, and a lot of people aren't going to get their money back. In bankruptcy, contracts get broken, debts discharged, and people don't get what they expected.

mrdenis's picture

Because it's a return OF capital not a return on capital ........

10mm's picture

That's too Ron Paulish,not gonna happen.

nmewn's picture

"The 2011 failure of the Super Committee produced a sequester that reduces budget authority in FY2013 by $85bn; resulting in estimated actual spending cuts of $42bn."

42bn? Really? the rate of the federal budgets growth?

Let the rending of clothes & gnashing of teeth begin in earnest.

I need more cowbell's picture

Not to worry. Obummer is ready to announce the Super Duper Really We Mean It This Time Committee, whose goal it is to slash slash slash. There will be blood, lots of blood, but it has to be done. Goal: less than $300 trillion in total unfunded liabilities by 2020. Hard hard choices to be made.

monopoly's picture

So, we need to cut 1 Trillion each year in spending to even get close to reducing our debt, and we are all getting our panties in a Wad because the country is doomed with 85 billion in cuts?

We are so screwed. Amazing.

Dan The Man's picture

Choking on the sparrow with the elephant next

blindfaith's picture

Cut Congressional ENTITLEMENTS and you can balance the budget in a week.

Ever see a congressmen who went in poor and came out poor?

And, while you at it cut these lavish saleries and golden parachutes the government muckie mucks 100% medical coverage for life and their families too....that IS entitlement isn't it?

carlsbadip's picture

The reduction of spending by 5% will cause the end of times. What nonsense. They are not reducing travel, conference attending and other such nonsense.

Seb's picture

What is this "Sequester"? Some kind of Festivus?

GMadScientist's picture

It's a cross between Sequence and Uncle Fester.

trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

All this would have been avoided if the Dems in the Senate would just pass a budget. But, because they dont want to alter the baseline scrnario in budget projections, theyve refused to do so for the last 4 years. And this is supposed to be the most transparent administration ever. Like EVA.

RockyRacoon's picture

You're looking at one tree when the entire forest is the problem.

Get a wider view.

Heard Ray Lahood this morning say that "SURE!" he can cut a billion from his department, but he'd like to be able to direct the cuts where they are needed, not across the board.  My question for Ray:  If you could cut a billion why haven't you already done it!?

lasvegaspersona's picture

now I have that song in my head

water flowing under ground

Crash Overide's picture

sequester = manufactured crisis to get the sheep worked up again? Wern't we just falling off a fiscal cliff, oh wait they eased us down right? Nothing is news to me when it's all fraud. Numb, next...

torabora's picture

Spending borrowed money is just like injecting borrowed heroin.

malek's picture

Unfortunately this Kabuki theater is not happening only "Once in a Lifetime"...