A Sequestration By Any Other Name


To abuse a Shakespearean quote, does it really matter how we begin to cut federal spending? I’ll take cuts any way I can get them. If it smells like a rose, great. But if this clumsy, stinky, ham-handed Sequestration is the only way spending cuts will start, I’ll take it.

Of course, I much prefer that Congress and the Administration pass a small bill to allow federal department heads to direct these cuts more thoughtfully than they can under current Sequestration law. But a 2-1/2% cut of any kind is far better than accepting Mr. Obama’s 927th demand to raise taxes on those vicious, greedy “rich people” (aka job creators). Especially since Obama knows his tax-the-rich plans will not materially help the deficit or debt. For that matter, “Where does it say you have to hurt the (rich) guy?” That might be the most fundamentally-American remark made all year, thanks to Dr. Ben Carson.

Obama also knows it’s the entitlement programs, especially Medicare and Medicaid, which are driving up federal debt more than anything else. But no, while he’s in office we will not do anything to stop the continuing march towards entitlement insolvency. Apparently, Democrats prefer to make entitlements unavailable for everyone instead of eliminating benefits for folks like Warren Buffet, or asking recipients to wait another year before benefits start. There are some simple solutions to these problems, but the longer we wait the more costly and complex they become.

No, for Mr. Obama it’s more fun to play golf with Tiger Woods (no news cameras, please) than to spend a few hours working out a sensible sequester plan with the Republicans. And it’s certainly way more fun to keep on bashing the Republicans if Sequestration goes through as planned. Public speaking and campaigning are all he does. Not leading, not writing legislation, not removing federal roadblocks to job creation. Just a man and his teleprompter. Or golfing with useful celebs. Or shooting hoops. Remember when he was asked on 20/20 what his worst trait was? “I think there’s a laziness in me.” Really? We’re all shocked! Shocked!

By now we’ve all heard the gloom and doom blather from the White House and Obama’s cabinet toadies. Armageddon! Apocalypse! Starving children! Police, firemen, and teachers, all laid off! All of this is supposed to come from cutting less than $85 billion of a $3.6 trillion “budget”? It’s not possible. George Will might have said it best:

The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”

Of course, this administration has never lied to us before, right?

We will be watching to see exactly what cuts are made, and we can easily compare them to cuts that could have been made. As the actual cuts unfold, all these unfounded predictions will be used against the Administration, and especially against any Democrat running for a Congressional office in 2014 or 2016. The voters can decide for themselves if these cuts were legitimately painful or just chosen for maximum political effect.

Fortunately, even the stupidest Obama-voters have already figured out the fundamental truth of our debt and deficit: 83% of registered voters believe we have a spending problem, not a taxing problem. In today’s polarized environment, and with all the blind love slathered on Mr. Obama, that’s an astonishing majority.

Perhaps best of all, the voters have also been treated to a smorgasbord of well-publicized federal spending abuses. The list is endless, so perhaps a few are needed to refresh our memories:

    Lavish GSA conference in Las Vegas, photo of GSA administrator in bath tub with two glasses of wine; Shrimp on a treadmill (researching what?? does it matter??);

    A $2.6 million NIH study to promote less drinking by Chinese prostitutes- in China;

    Solyndra / A123 / Fiskar / Cash for Clunkers;

    $787 billion Stimulus (“Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected”).

    And on, and on… and on.

Can cuts to federal spending be difficult to sell with so much abuse? Not likely. Even folks with no “skin in the game” (i.e. paying income taxes) know that foolish waste can’t be good for anyone. But look on the bright side- the administration must have saved several hundred thousand bucks by disbanding that bloated and unnecessary Jobs Council. After all, they could claim saving the cost of weekly meetings for the next 10 years, right?

What’s the real benefit of hammering home some painful cuts, whether by an ugly sequester or any other means? For years, Obama has made the national narrative all about “tax the rich” and “fairness” and “an equal shot at success”. It didn’t matter that the rich were already paying a vastly disproportionate majority of taxes collected. It didn’t matter that half of the population does not pay any income tax (per Mitt Romney’s poorly-framed 47% remark). It didn’t matter that “fairness” and “an equal shot” have always meant freedom of opportunity, but never guaranteed success. Folks were expected to work hard to achieve success. Those who wouldn’t didn’t.

Now we have an opportunity to shift the national narrative away from things that don’t work to things that do. Keynesian economics as practiced by Democrats has not and does not work. We have four years of proof; And we have Greece and several other EU countries serving as more advanced examples of this proof. They have moved on to the “rioting in the streets” phase of national collapse. As the saying goes, “if we could spend our way to prosperity, every country would be doing it.” Moreover, if that theory were correct, at least a few would have succeeded.

It is time to stop allowing terms like “tax the rich” to go unchallenged. Every speech by Obama on this topic deserves five speeches by Republicans on topics such as “smart spending cuts” and “benefits of reducing the size of government” and “living within our means” and “pay off the debt so our kids won’t have to” and “making good spending choices”. It’s time to prove that federal spending cuts are the same sensible practice our families use in hard times.

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