Thursday night on "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert took on the sequester, the looming series of forced budget cuts that are going into effect after Congress' failure to hammer out a budget bill.
"Tonight," said Colbert, "a ticking time bomb goes off in Washington, and for once I am not confusing real life with an episode of 'Homeland.'"
Sequestration is now set to begin, a series of deep spending cuts amounting to about $85 billion per year, half from cuts to the defense budget and half from cuts to other federal programs, amounting to a total of $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years.
"Yeah, but it's not going to be that bad," Colbert said. "There's no way America's going to last 10 years. We got 2 in us, tops."
President Barack Obama is just trying to scare us, the host continued, with his tales of federal prosecutors having to stop pursuing cases against criminals and air traffic controllers and TSA workers going on strike.
"Don't believe him, nation, Obama is trying to convince us the sequester is a terrible problem," said Colbert, "when in fact, it's a terrible solution."
The sequester was born, he explained, in 2011, when President Obama needed to raise the debt ceiling to pay the nation's bills. Congressional Republicans agreed on the condition that the president meet an arbitrary deadline at which point massive spending cuts would be incurred if no compromise had been reached about deficit reduction.
Sequestration, therefore, is a "doomsday scenario" designed to cripple programs dear to both parties. For Democrats it would mean cuts to education, meat inspection, vaccination programs and even the National Zoo. For Republicans, it would mean cuts to the military.
Which means, said Colbert, that March will come in like a lion and go out "like a lion loose from the unguarded National Zoo."
"It was a good plan," he said, "as long as one of the sides didn't forget that it's a horrible plan."
Watch the video, embedded via Comedy Central, below: