Only ten days remain until the deadline for the sequestration cuts to hit. They are broad and sweeping, and will ultimately be ineffective. But they are law.

The federal government needs to cut spending immediately. But President Obama is urging Congress to cancel the sequestration budget cuts, which go into effect on March 1, and replace them with more tax increases.

The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne explains that, while not ideal, the sequestration cuts have to go through. “If Congress does not replace the sequestration cuts with smarter cuts—like eliminating Obamacare funding or other ineffective programs—then the sequestration cuts will be our first step toward getting serious about federal spending,” she writes.

The key weakness of sequestration is that it focuses on the wrong problem. It targets national security and defense programs and leaves broadly untouched entitlement programs like welfare and food stamps. Leaving our nation open to attack is a “fool’s errand,” Payne says:

Trying to use defense cuts to balance the out-of-control entitlement spending while we still face growing threats (Russia, China, Iran, and al-Qaeda affiliates) is a fool’s errand that will create a hollow military and do nothing to fix economic troubles.

Any step toward serious spending cuts should be applauded, though. And future budget deals definitely should not involve tax increases:

Real program reforms and a balanced budget are the only way to solve our continuing fiscal crises. So it is critical that Congress keep its word and follow through on these spending cuts to prove it is serious about bringing our budget into balance over the next 10 years.

America needs a balanced budget, one that avoids tax increases. But President Obama has already pocketed a $618 billion tax increase, and lawmakers should remember that when President Obama uses the word “balanced,” what he really means is more tax increases.

Heritage’s Patrick Knudsen explains the stakes:

Government spending and debt are both too high, and this threatens all Americans with a weaker economy and a lower standard of living. Every opportunity to reduce spending and put the government on the path to a balanced budget must be taken. Anything less is a path to defeat.

How would you balance the budget?

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