Sequestration is a result of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, kicking the budget can down the road over and over again. In order to avoid responsibility for trimming a few dollars from the massive Federal Budget, our elected officials appointed a smaller group – a Super Committee – to make the tough decisions. They stacked the committee with those who wanted cuts, those who wanted increases in spending and enough partisans to ensure the group would fail.
They told us failure was not an option. They promised that if this “Super Committee” failed to reach a resolution to the impasse that a horrible across the board cut would result. Sequestration.
Sequestration was the brainchild of Barack Obama, although he is now reluctant to admit that fact.
And, as if by magic, the sorcerers of the Super Committee were unable to conjure a compromise, so we ended with a looming sequestration monster that would require across the board spending cuts. These cuts were not actually cuts in spending as they would have us believe. They are cuts in the increases they automatically add year after year. A little trick called “baseline budgeting” automatically increases every department every year. And, of course, there is new spending every year in addition to the increases.
Part of the sequestration process would also see the “Bush” tax cuts expire. Funny thing with Congress. They pass a tax cut that is temporary, but I don’t ever recall a temporary increase. Or at least one that was actually temporary at the end of it’s life.
Only they managed to kick the Bush tax cuts down the road again for some.
So, what do across the board cuts really mean?
It simply means that the government will still get a raise every year, it just won’t be as fat as previously planned. And you would think they actually cut the spending listening to the congressional moans and gnashing of teeth.
So for Obama, the choice is to cut back spending on wasteful and unnecessary things – like studying the mating habits of amoeba or trying to administer programs to both stop childhood obesity and at the same time feed America’s starving children (in other words, things that would not be missed), or Obama’s other option is to go for the throat and cut spending on high profile things that will inflict the most pain and inconvenience the most Americans.
The first option, where the impact of the smaller increases would be unnoticed would seem to be the more practical idea. But then, Obama would necessarily have to admit that we are spending too much money we don’t need to spend. Apparently, withholding “revenue” from Obama is akin to withholding heroin from an addict.
And Obama gets to decide if the “cuts” are going to be painful or not.
Unfortunately, Obama is throwing a temper tantrum. A withdrawal tantrum, even though the amount not spent is truly insignificant. And there are RINO Republicans that are right there with him, which is why the media isn’t crying the blues.
So, it costs $78,000 per week to pay the salaries of those involved in White House tours. I assume these are guides, although a number of them are volunteers, and the secret service to make sure nobody wanders into the Lincoln Bedroom without paying the toll first. And of course the food storage pantry. How embarrassing would it be for some tourist to snap a photo of a mountain of beluga caviar that King and Queen Obama snack on?
So Obama shut down White House Tours.
He must have been talking to Bill Clinton. During the Clinton years, mean old Republican Newt Gingrich “shut down the government” in a similar argument with Democrats over spending.
Clinton decided that the only non-essential parts of government were the people who operated the Washington Monument and the park rangers at the National Parks would have to go, since we were out of money.
Tourists fumed that the National Obelisk, that tall pointy monument we call the Washington Monument was closed. And so were the National Parks just in time for tourist season where happy campers were about to camp. The media blamed Newt and eventually the Republicans (true to form) caved to the pressure and declared victory. The furloughed workers were granted back pay, so the only people who lost anything were the American citizens who just wanted to have a good time and see America.
So the question that is burning up your mind is ‘who saved the most money’ Clinton or Obama?
Well, that’s a trick question. Neither saved a dime. Workers received their pay under Clinton and the bulk of the “savings” from Obama’s edict that White House tours cease is also not saving us a dime. Most of the expense is for the security. They are still working and on the payroll, mostly trying to keep people who have offered to pay the tab for White House tours like Donald Trump away from the media.
Two Virginia Democratic Governors were in a similar situation a while back. Mark Warner, as Governor, shut down the Department of Motor Vehicles. Well, a number of branches. And he closed all offices on Wednesdays. And scaled way back on the hours of operation to save money. Which didn’t make sense to a lot of us who observed that everyone going to any DMV was carrying copious amounts of money destined for state coffers. It is sort of like keeping the grocery store open, but closing the check out stands. You get long lines and really make people angry while making no money.
And Timmy Kaine, as Governor, decided to shut down the unmanned Interstate rest stops to save money. It would have been kind of him to also outlaw Big Gulp sized drinks, but that was the intent – pain. So imagine finishing that 128 ounce soft drink while driving down I-95 and finding the rest area closed. Of course, they had to pay troopers overtime to make sure desperate drivers didn’t pull over to the side of the road to relieve themselves. Couldn’t have that, could we?
So Timmy Kaine left Virginia without a pot to pee in. (Yep, I said it.)
Just to keep you up to date, Bob McDonnell reopened the rest areas and it only cost us $6.1 Billion.
So, the truth is, Obama plans to make this attempt to slow the increase in spending as painful as possible without actually saving a dime. And there are a lot of Republicans who are right there with him. And, of course, all of the Democrats.
What Americans would like to see is for Obama to have Meatloaf Night once a week at the White House instead of caviar and Kobe Beef. Send the kitchen staff home and let Michelle see if she remembers how to cook.
And we would like to see some savings on the Military side as well. Cutting back on tuition for Veterans is not the way. Perhaps cutting back on the free drinks on Drone flights – or (Heaven Forbid!) Air Force One.
There are ways to save money without hurting Americans. But Obama does not intend to do that. The government is hardly a lean, mean fighting machine. Although with Obama in the driver’s seat, they got the “mean” part down pat.