By now, anyone who’s been paying attention, even casually, knows what sequestration is (even if he or she can’t pronounce it). We also know that the “cuts” included in the sequester amount to a staggering 2% of federal spending (is actually a reduction of future baseline spending – more will still be spent next year). We’re all also painfully aware that Obama is once again demagoguing the issue and trying to shift blame to the GOP.
Let’s not forget that the media has been a willing accomplice in this blame game. In fact, we’ve been so conditioned that this is an issue between Obama and Rupublicans in Congress that when a recent Washington Post/Pew survey left off a crucial choice in their question of who to blame if the Obamaquester “cuts” go into effect:
I couldn’t even recognize the ommission (Democrats in the Senate – h/t Ed Morrissey). For more information on the sequestration timeline, there is an informative infographic at the bottom of the post (due to its size).
As the sequester approaches, Obama has fully implemented the “Washington Monument Strategy” and ratched-up his doomsday speech, suggesting that thousands of teachers will have to be laid off, and sending out his surrogates to describe the catastrophic effects of this 2% budget cut such as decreased border security and travel delays:
In my mind, such a display suggests Obama is the worst executive imaginable if a 2% reduction in future spending necessitates the above-described purge of essential services and personnel. Amy Payne at Heritage give a more graphic description:
If you had to cut your family’s budget, where would you cut?
Would you immediately start starving your children and stop wearing shoes? Of course not. You would look at the extras in your life—whether they were coffee shop lattes, movie tickets, or restaurant meals.
It’s a good thing the President wouldn’t be handling your budget. As Dan Holler of our sister organization, Heritage Action for America, has said: “If President Obama were making the decision for your family… he’d tell you to stop buying gas for your car and explain how you could only eat five days a week.”
However, it also brings up a very relevant question. Namely, is sequestration a good way to go about cutting federal spending? I think that I’m in the majority when I say no, because the sequester only targets non-mandatory, discretionary spending and leaves the prime driver of our debt (entitlement spending) untouched.
In his article this morning, David Brooks (in addition to creating a Twitter hashtag bonanza with his “My Dream Obama”) echoes this, but predictable blames Republicans:
Moreover, I think Republicans could be persuaded that it’s crazy to harp on discretionary spending, which is a deficit sideshow. They should focus their energies on entitlements.
Might I remind the purveyor of perfectly creased pants that under the guidance of Republicans, the House has passed two bills to replace the sequester cuts with common sense, responsible cuts and spending reforms: 1. H.R. 5652, Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act; and 2. H.R. 6684, Spending Reduction Act of 2012. Notably (in light of the poll question above) the Democrat controlled Senate refused to consider either.
One thing is clear, though. There is no need to cut essential services and personnel over a 2% reduction in future spending. Amy Payne further observes:
It makes no sense to hit defense the hardest with these cuts, while sequestration leaves major entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid untouched. Congress should reprogram these spending cuts to target the waste and inefficiencies it has already identified in federal agencies—like those listed above. Heritage’s Patrick Louis Knudsen, the Grover M. Hermann Senior Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, even helpfully outlined places to find $150 billion in spending cuts that would make a lot more sense.
So no, we don’t have to fire firefighters and teachers and airport screeners. What Congress should be doing is what every American family does—tightening its budget by cutting things that are unnecessary.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) noticed one specific area that could be cut back to help “save” some of the essential personnel on Obama’s chopping block:
Coburn, in a letter to Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients, wrote Monday that there are 10 “non-essential” job advertisements running on the government’s hiring website, http://www.usajobs.com. Coburn said freezing hiring for these positions alone would save $1.4 million.
On the list are ads for 10 State Department drivers, a Labor Department receptionist earning up to $81,204 a year, a human resources position at the Department of Agriculture paying up to $179,000 a year and an Air Force museum official making up to $165,300 per year.
“Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a border patrol officer, a food inspector, a TSA screener, or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?” Coburn wrote.
“Instituting such a hiring freeze and re-assigning any of the necessary duties associated with each to current employees will allow federal agencies to adapt to the current fiscal realities without laying off or furloughing civil servants who are performing truly critical or absolutely necessary functions,” he added.
Just another example of the thoughtless, wasteful spending by this administration. Looks like sequestration can’t come soon enough. After all, as you can hear right from the lips of the man himself (Senator Coburn, that is), the fear and panic over the Obamaquester (like most everything to do with this president) is way overblown:
Parting thought: I am convinced that the amount of fear mongering coming from Obama and his minions of sequestrations is the direct result of their fear that the “cuts” will happen, then life will go on as normal, it won’t be the end of the world. People will then begin to realize that cutting government spending isn’t so bad after all, and that Obama was doing nothing but trying to scare everyone over nothing. Essentially, Obama will become the “boy who cried wolf” one too many times, and he will start losing his bully pulpit (especially after the Obamacare taxes and fees start to hit). What do you think?