Cuts are more like scratches

Obama administration fundamentally dishonest on sequestration

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First things first: The Obama administration did not tell the truth when it claimed the automatic budget cuts known as “sequestration” came from somewhere else.

The president even baldly claimed not to be responsible for it in a debate last year.

The idea for sequestration – mandatory $85 billion in blunt, across-the-board budget cuts – came from the White House, as journalist Bob Woodward has reported and administration officials now meekly admit.

Secondly, President Obama flat-out said in a presidential debate that sequestration wouldn’t happen. In fact, it is set to occur Friday.

Thirdly, there can be no doubt that the effects of the cuts have been ridiculously exaggerated, and that all the president’s men will blame Republicans if they happen. In truth, as Woodward also notes, it’s the president who has changed the rules of the game: Rather than simply work with Republicans to find more acceptable budget cuts, the president is now requiring new taxes as well – after already getting Republicans to agree to tax increases on the wealthy earlier this year.

“So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts,” Woodward wrote last week.

Yet, you can bet he’ll blame the opposition when the sequestration hits.

Maybe that’s what he’s always wanted anyway. Who knows?

Our own feeling is that a budget-cutting deal would be best. It would enable Congress and the White House to cut the budget artfully. Even so, if sequestration hits on Friday, it’s quite likely not going to be the catastrophe the White House has made it out to be.

We’ve been around the block a few times, and can tell you that when a government or government agency is tasked with cutting anything, they immediately propose cutting only that which you don’t want cut. They skip the fat and stab at the muscle to make you flinch. They want you to believe babies and saints will be bloodied, and that there’s absolutely no fat in any of their budgets.

What a truckload of hokum.

Just in January, the Government Accountability Office estimated in a year-end report by the Department of the Treasury that $108 billion was wasted in “improper payments” by the federal government in fiscal year 2012. Over the past couple of years, the GAO has also found over $400 billion in waste, in “duplicative, fragmented, inefficient programs.”

“Federal spending will explode from $3.6 trillion to $6 trillion over the next 10 years,” notes the Heritage Foundation think tank, “but the much-maligned sequester will cut only 2.4 percent of this spending.”

Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute think tank, wrote at CNN.com recently that only $44 billion of the $85 billion would actually be cut this year; the rest would be trimmed in future years. A Cato bar graph shows the contrast between the $3.6 trillion federal budget, the $845 billion deficit (borrowed money), the $224 billion we pay in interest, and the $44 billion in sequestration cuts. Those first three bars in the graph resemble a utility pole, a fence post and a stump, while the sequestration cuts look more like a floor mat.

The kind of floor mat that taxpayers have become.

“Actually, the sequester doesn’t cut federal spending at all, or rather it cuts it only in the Washington sense of any reduction from projected baseline increases is a cut,” Tanner wrote. “In reality, even if the sequester goes through, the federal government will spend more every single year. In fact, in 2023 it will be spending $2.39 trillion more than it does today (emphasis added).”

The Heritage Foundation chart below likewise illustrates what a pathetically thin stripe of austerity the dreaded sequester cuts are, compared to the mountain of spending they lay on.

And $85 billion in cuts would trigger the end of the world?

That’s what the president seemed to say last week, and what administration officials are claiming this week. In contrast, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., suggested a hiring freeze and cutbacks in travel as a start.

And as far as we’re concerned, if budget officials can’t find the least painful cuts in federal agencies, they ought to be furloughed or fired themselves. We’re sick and tired of public officials protecting their turf – padded with our money – by
trying to scare us off with
draconian cuts that don’t have to be.

We’re not buying that $85 billion in cuts in a $3 trillion-plus budget will be a disaster. Except if the executive branch wants to make it one.

But let’s be clear about who’s doing it.

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Willie Loman
267
Points
Willie Loman 02/26/13 - 11:49 pm
11
0
Cuts?!?!

It always seems to amaze me that the discussion about cuts really only applies to increases in spending. There are never any real cuts in spending. Instead of increasing spending by 10 percent the politicians can only increase spending by say 3 percent. That doesn't seem to be a real cut to me. In the real world, the reductions in spending are tied to reductions in income. The federal government has not experienced a real cut in my lifetime (over 45 years). Just saying.

dichotomy
32121
Points
dichotomy 02/27/13 - 12:38 am
11
1
Yep. The fact that anyone is

Yep. The fact that anyone is even listening to the Obama hysteria proves how low the intelligence factor is in the voting public. Somehow they just refuse to understand that even with the miniscule cuts, SPENDING STILL GOES UP.

Folks, the actual spending STILL increases....even with the cuts. Sequestraion is a SMALL cut in the INCREASE in spending. To get more of your money the government....Obama....the Democrats....are threatening massive layoffs and cutbacks. Once it goes into effect, the layoffs will go away, the furloughs will go away, and all of a sudden you won't even know anything happened. Why?? Because the spending STILL GOES UP even with the cuts. Get over it. It's the best thing that could happen to us.

Young Fred
16799
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 02:14 am
11
1
Not sure what you people are talking about

Why, I just heard today on CBS radio that spending in certain sectors would be SLASHED, yes slashed! And the cuts would be “draconian”!

If you can't believe the president, and you can't believe the media, well, who can you believe?

We are all being played. Some of us seem to enjoy it!

carcraft
25248
Points
carcraft 02/27/13 - 06:14 am
9
1
Well gee, Obama lied that is

Well gee, Obama lied that is what used to be called a BFO, Blinding Flash of the Obvious, I see the sun is raising in the east today, hold the presses. Someone in the media noted Obama’s prevarication, Bob Woodward, now that is good news and a rarity! Please notice that the Republicans tried to change sequestration once and got hammer by Obama. The House Republicans have submitted two bills to the Senate to deal with sequestration and no action by the Senate or Obama. This is squarely in the Democrats court.

Bizkit
30741
Points
Bizkit 02/27/13 - 08:39 am
11
1
The Republican led house has

The Republican led house has sent two related bills to the Senate. The Senate is intentionally sitting on it so the Prez can demonize the Rep. For weeks the president has been chicken little and now suddenly it really might happen we see his tone change to-well the reall fall out will be after April or May. He just changes his story and blames-it's pathological. We see now who to blame. Obama designed it and now Senate Dems are using it for purely political reasons to try and destroy the GOP. This has nothing to do with cuts, taxes or anything else-just a political showdown over self-created drama. It's like watchin' the Kardashians. It's shameless. The bottom line is Dems only know how to spend-once they spend the rich's money they will hit their large middle class. The argument will be -We helped you now you have to pay us back, and be patriotic. The Rep have already conceded once on raising taxes yet we see no good faith effort from Dems to cut spending. I know lots of progressives who are worried the prez want too much power and his is just grand standing and demogoging issues for polticial reasons and not practical one.
But Obama is an ideologue who really can't take off his blinders from his agenda-no matter like lemmings running off a cliff. Of course we know what he will say as he falls-someone pushed me-it was a republican.

Bizkit
30741
Points
Bizkit 02/27/13 - 08:36 am
9
1
You can tell the Dems efforts

You can tell the Dems efforts to state "we don't have a spending problem is falling short on the ears of Americans". Polls indicate 60% of Americans realize we have a spending problem.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 08:50 am
11
0
If you have a problem with
Unpublished

If you have a problem with what Obama is doing, just pay your $500,000 and you can talk with him about it.

http://politix.topix.com/homepage/4788-obama-spokesman-cant-deny-that-50...

Even more corrupt than Nixon.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 09:15 am
9
1
Think about the children!!!
Unpublished

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived to be working for the benefit of the children, the people will endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."

Sound familiar? Hint....it is NOT a quote from our President, but sure sounds like it could be.

Young Fred
16799
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 10:03 am
6
1
Great quote

Great quote HA, which prominent, celebrated, statist, from history; that our current progressives wish to emulate can be credited with that gem?

nofanofobama
6809
Points
nofanofobama 02/27/13 - 10:05 am
7
0
it amazes me how many

it amazes me how many millions of jobs will be affected by 87 billion--how many services wll be cut--yet with a 861 billion stimulus in 2009 we could not tell how many jobs were created so we came up with the term jobs saved..and now with 861 billion in stimulus they say we may have saved or added 1-3 million jobs...they dont know..yet on 87 billion they are postive about the hardships ...its a LIE!! with the dual vacations the obamas took maybe if they practiced what they preach and used that money to prevent furloughs...it would help save a lot of jobs..if obama quit flying everywhere on an endless campaign promoting himself we could elimnate millions of forloughs for workers by the money we saved..i bet the average joe could find waste in any and all federal depts and make dramatic cuts without hurting services..we got a lot of waste fraud and duplication in the federal govt..lets quit ptretending that friday the earth will end and get serious for once for the sake of future generartions..

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 10:17 am
6
1
I think you know, Young Fred.
Unpublished

I think you know, Young Fred.

Little Lamb
45313
Points
Little Lamb 02/27/13 - 10:19 am
6
0
Artful?

There is one thing I disagree with in the editorial:

Our own feeling is that a budget-cutting deal would be best. It would enable Congress and the White House to cut the budget artfully.

Though I would rather see entire programs eliminated and permanent personnel reductions, I think across-the-board cuts are preferable to some potential future "artful" cutting. Since when has Congress ever been artful?

CobaltGeorge
155438
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/27/13 - 10:25 am
9
1
Isn't It Great

that the Hammer & Sickle Man will not be effected by this upcoming sequestration.

President Barack Obama won’t have to worry about his paycheck if the spending sequestration included in the Budget Control Act that he signed into law in 2011 begins taking effect this Friday.

A report published last month by the Congressional Research Service–“Budget Sequestration and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules”–identifies certain programs that are exempt from sequestration and lays out special rules that govern the sequestration of others.

Section 255 of the Budget Control Act includes “Compensation for the President” as one of those exemptions (Page 19).

“Most exempt programs are mandatory, and include Social Security and Medicaid; refundable tax credits to individuals; and low-income programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income,” the report states.

“Some discretionary programs also are exempt, notably all programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,” it said. “Also, subject to notification of Congress by the president, military personnel accounts may either be exempt or reduced by a lower percentage,” the report states. (The report states in a footnote that the White House notified Congress last year of President Obama’s intention to exempt military personnel accounts from sequestration.)

Pensions for former presidents are also exempt, according to the report.

The report states that “the effect of sequestration on any give program is subject to the interpretation of the law’s provisions by the Office of Management and Budget”–which is part of the Executive branch.

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 7 of the Constitution says that the president’s compensation shall not be increased or decreased during the time for which he is elected.

“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected,” says the Constitution, “and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

carcraft
25248
Points
carcraft 02/27/13 - 11:00 am
10
1
Obama the lawless

President Obama is ordering the release of illegal aliens from ICE retention facilities because of sequestration. Apparently Obama doesn't really care about the safety of Americans and will sacrifice their safety for political points!

CobaltGeorge
155438
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/27/13 - 11:09 am
8
1
Everyday Is Getting Worst

I just don't understand why Impeachment action has not been taken on the most criminal person we have in the US of America?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 11:13 am
7
0
I would imagine charging a
Unpublished

I would imagine charging a $500,000 fee to be a presidential adviser would constitute High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Young Fred
16799
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 11:16 am
4
0
I think you know, Young

"I think you know, Young Fred."

Too bad the general public is unaware of world history. You’d almost think it was by design!

dichotomy
32121
Points
dichotomy 02/27/13 - 11:30 am
7
0
"President Obama is ordering

"President Obama is ordering the release of illegal aliens form ICE retention facilities because f sequestration"

Just another vindictive, spiteful move from the dirtiest trick administration in history. Notice that the first facility they released these criminals from was in Arizona. There haven't even been any cuts yet but Obama took the first shot at Gov. Brewer by releasing the criminals in her back yard. This is a dirty, low down president who will go out of his way to hurt people in order to get his way. There was absolutely NO reason to release prisoners BEFORE the cuts even start. Unbelieveable dirty vindictive politics from the meanest, most lying administration that has ever existed.

I hope the Republicans (finally) stand their ground on this one. Obama got his tax hikes on the rich......now it's time for some spending cuts and I don't care how they do it.

As for the citizens and law enforcement in Arizona whom the president has placed in jeopardy.....they should start shooting them instead of getting ICE involved. You can't cooperate with a federal government who is trying to kill you for political purposes. Obama is going to keep poking people until somebody decides to poke back.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 11:41 am
6
1
So Obama figures we would be
Unpublished

So Obama figures we would be better served releasing criminals to the street than disbanding the "Department of Peace."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Peace

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 12:03 pm
6
1
Can any of Obama's usual
Unpublished

Can any of Obama's usual supporters and defenders here explain just what the President has done to avoid the Sequester that he, himself suggested and signed into law? (and then later claimed would never happen)

allhans
23546
Points
allhans 02/27/13 - 12:50 pm
5
0
CNN is very upset that Obama

CNN is very upset that Obama has now placed Axelrod and Gibbs at MSNBC....(like Emanuel Mayor of Chicago). The Obama Network... Access to the president has long been limited - practically nil - and now CNN? Who knows.

Riverman1
82382
Points
Riverman1 02/27/13 - 01:08 pm
5
0
Asteroids Will Hit Earth if Republicans Don't Cave

What’s happening is beneath conservatives even talking about. What about THE PROMISES Obama made to cut spending later after the last compromise? This is ridiculous. Bring on the asteroids hitting earth because conservatives refuse to go more in debt.

KSL
126670
Points
KSL 02/27/13 - 01:26 pm
7
1
Where are the Obama

Where are the Obama supporters, defending him?

ultrarnr
903
Points
ultrarnr 02/27/13 - 02:05 pm
0
0
Perspective
Unpublished

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had something to say about sequestration during his testimony before the House Banking Committee on Tuesday. He thinks the looming spending cuts could actually make it harder, not easier, to reduce the deficit. Why? They’ll hurt growth:

The CBO estimates that deficit-reduction policies in current law will slow the pace of real GDP growth by about 1-1/2 percentage points this year, relative to what it would have been otherwise.

A significant portion of this effect is related to the automatic spending sequestration that is scheduled to begin on March 1, which, according to the CBO’s estimates, will contribute about 0.6 percentage point to the fiscal drag on economic growth this year. Given the still-moderate underlying pace of economic growth, this additional near-term burden on the recovery is significant.

Moreover, besides having adverse effects on jobs and incomes, a slower recovery would lead to less actual deficit reduction in the short run for any given set of fiscal actions.
The logic here is simple enough. The sequestration cuts will drag down economic growth this year, which will mean that fewer Americans will have jobs and less tax revenue will pour in. Nothing cures deficits like stronger economic growth. And right now, Congress’s policies are standing in the way of stronger growth.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 02/27/13 - 02:30 pm
6
1
KSL...I think I hear
Unpublished

KSL...I think I hear crickets.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/27/13 - 03:58 pm
6
1
“Where are the Obama
Unpublished

“Where are the Obama supporters, defending him?”
The liberals have pretty much stopped commenting in the Aiken STD as well. I guess they think that conservative will stop posting if they do but they can think again. Or maybe they are tired of defending Obama’s lies, nay they can’t comprehend that he is lying. They cannot win a discussion so I guess they are taking their ball and going home.

ultrarnr
903
Points
ultrarnr 02/27/13 - 04:20 pm
0
0
Selective Approval of Cuts
Unpublished

Republicans are condemning the Obama administration’s decision to release several hundred illegal immigrants from detention facilities because of possible funding cuts from the sequester.

No Republican has called it “abhorrent” that, for example, 4 million meals won’t be delivered to seniors through Meals on Wheels; that few food inspectors will make the food system less safe; that cuts to research programs could set back scientific research for a generation; that tens of thousands of kids will be kicked out of Head Start programs; that tens of thousands of homeless people will be kicked out of shelters; that almost 400,000 seriously mentally ill people will lose services; or that 600,000 women and children will be dropped from WIC.
Talk about misplaced priorities

carcraft
25248
Points
carcraft 02/27/13 - 06:13 pm
5
0
What, all two or three of

What, all two or three of them took their marbles and left town? We have put up with 12 years of Bush bashing by the left, less fortitude?

Darby
25080
Points
Darby 02/27/13 - 06:48 pm
5
0
As long as Obama lies and the media....

swears to it, the American people are going to get screwed. Take that to the bank.

Our only chance to save this country rests with the spineless Republicans. If they can't find a way to grow a backbone, then we're so far up the creek that it doesn't matter that we don't have a paddle.

Young Fred
16799
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 06:53 pm
5
0
“Where are the Obama

“Where are the Obama supporters, defending him?”

“...I think I hear crickets”

“What, all two or three of them took their marbles and left town?”

They’re out combing the pages of Daily Ko(ok)s, The Nation Magazine, etal, trying to figure how to defend the indefensible while remaining credible. A truly herculean task. These things take time.

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