Bloomberg Calls Sequester Alarmism ‘Posturing’

By Fred Lucas | February 28, 2013 | 10:51am EST

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

( – Amid warnings of calamity if the automatic spending adjustments take effect on Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood in front of the White House and seemed to scoff at the looming threats.

“There’s a lot of posturing: ‘I’m going to lay off my employees today unless you do something. We’re going to close the hospitals down. We’re going to take all the prisoners from jail and put them on the streets,’” Bloomberg said, mocking the warnings. “Spare me. I live in that world. I mean, come on, let’s get serious here.”

Bloomberg, the chief executive of the nation’s largest city, was at the White House Wednesday meeting with Vice President Joe Biden promoting gun control laws. After the meeting, he fielded questions from reporters. When asked about the sequester – a 2.3 percent reduction in the growth rate of federal spending – Bloomberg said he thought it was bad policy but hardly bought the warnings.

President Barack Obama and several cabinet officials have warned that if the spending adjustments occur, first responders will lose their jobs; school teachers will be laid off; flights will be delayed; there will be fewer meat inspectors, and criminals will go free from a lack of federal prosecutors, among other assertions.

Bloomberg said the federal government must cut spending. He preferred the plan proposed by the bipartisan debt commission chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles over the sequester.

“This idea came from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the Senate and the House, and I find it fascinating that they’re trying to blame each other,” Bloomberg said of the sequester. “This is something that all these elected officials thought was a good idea. I find it fascinating that they’re trying to blame each other for it. They all voted for it.”

He added the Simpson-Bowles plan would have also been “vilified.”

“I thought the original Erskine Bowles –Sen. Simpson bill was much more rational,” Bloomberg added. “If you had really read it, you would find that it had tax increases that the public would not like. You would find that it had real cuts that would have been in the paper.

“The bottom line is you have to find ways to do more with less or in any case spend less. Spending less generally means that you can’t do everything you want,” he said. “The entitlements are going to bankrupt us, just like the pension system and health care is going to bankrupt corporations.”

Reporters pressed the mayor on how the sequester would impact New York City.

“Monday we’ll be able to police the streets so that fire engines respond and ambulances,” Bloomberg said. “Our teachers will be in front of the classroom. If there is snow, we’ll be able to plow.”

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