.

The Sequester: Worse than the Mayan disaster or manufactured hype?

How can this be so when the math of the sequester doesn't add up to the amount of misery Obama is prophesying for the American people?


The article by Angela Sykora, "Federal Spending Would Greatly Impact Illinois' Middle Class," on Monday, February 25, demands a response to set the record straight.  This response informs readers what the sequester is all about, why it came about, and the political game that is now being played to scare the American people.  All could be avoided if President Obama were to allow government agencies to cut waste where it actually exists, instead of the stipulated across-the-board cuts required by the sequester legislation.      http://lakeforest.patch.com/articles/federal-spending-cuts-would-greatly-impact-illinois-middle-class?ncid=wsc-patch-image

The Sequester:  Worse than the Mayan disaster or manufactured hype
?

As is the standard these days with so many low-information Americans, all they know is that something they are to dread, a sequester, is set to take effect on Friday, March 1, unless a deal is reached.  And what makes so many Americans perceive that failure to reach a deal will usher in devastation of a catastrophic nature?  Might is be because President Obama has been pounding home the horrendous effects of the sequester upon this nation, abetted by the mainstream media, should sequester become a reality on Friday.

Among many of Obama warnings:  Furloughs of 800,000 civilian Pentagon employees; Air traffic controller furloughs resulting in three-hour waits at airports to clear security; 1,000 FBI agents laid off; fewer police and firefighters on the street; tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids, and thousands of teacher and educator layoffs.  Still not satisfied with his veiled threats, on Tuesday (Feb. 16), Obama plans to head to a shipbuilding yard in Newport News, Virgina, (a defense heavy region) to highlight how potential job losses could negatively impact the economy of the region. 

To make matters worse, besides believing Obama's many warnings, many Americans (among them the same low information individuals) have no idea how the sequester came about or what the terms of the sequester are.

As explained in a post by Dylan Matthews on February 20 at the "Washington Post": http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/20/the-sequester-absolutely-everything-you-could-possibly-need-to-know-in-one-faq/ 

The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending set to take place on March 1 unless Congressional action is taken. Originally passed as part of the budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), it was intended as an incentive, because of the harsh nature of the cuts, to compel a select "Supercommittee" to reach a deal to cut 1.5 trillion over 10 years.  When a deal couldn't be reached by Dec. 23 of 2011, President Obama, Vice President Biden and congressional leaders extended the deadline to January 1 of this year.  A perceived configuration by lawmakers of other economic policies occurring at the same time,  prompted lawmakers to move the sequester date to March 1.     

The 2013 sequester includes $85.4 billion in cuts of discretionary spending across-the-board:  9.45 percent for defense and 8.2 percent for everything else.  No programs are actually eliminated.  The effect is to reduce the scale and scope of existing programs (slowing the growth)  rather than to zero out any of them.

As such the cuts of  $85.4 billion amount to a sliver of our nation's 2013 budget of $3.8  trillion (1,000 billion equals one trillion).  The sequester cuts are even a tinier speck when pitted against America's $16 trillion economy, yet according to President Obama a cut of 1/3 of 1% of our 2013 domestic economy (2.5 cents on every dollar) will throw this nation into a tailspin.  As of August of last year household income was down 8.2%, yet American people had to make do. To put the sequester in perspective,  Sandy Hurricane relief amounted to $60 billion.  Sequester is set at $85.4 billion.   Does it sound reasonable for President Obama to be telling the American people that government can't do without a smidgen less?

What both angers and irritates Jonah Goldberg about the sequester, as stated in his "National Review" article of February 22:  "If the sequester goes into effect, the federal budget for this year will still be larger than last year's ($3.553 trillion in 2013 vs. $3,538 trillion in 2012).  With the sequester in effect, federal non-defense spending will still be 10 percent higher than it was on 2008."  Wasn't it the aim of sequester to deal with the out-of-control national debt?   tp://www.nationalreview.com/articles/341296/blame-game-rages-over-looming-sequester-jonah-goldberg  

At $16 trillion and rising, our national debt is draining free enterprise and weakening this nation.  Our current Outstanding Public Debt of the the United States, as of Sunday, February 24th, 2013,  is $16,608,318,357,376.54.  Every man, woman and child in the United States currently owes $54,664 for their share of the U.S. public debt and still our spending continues.  Out of every dollar spent forty-six cents is borrowed by government.  
 http://www.davemanuel.com/us-national-debt-clock.php

Charles Krauthammer had this to say in a recent commentary in the "Wall Street Journal":  "This is the most ridiculously hyped Armageddon since the Mayan calendar.  In fact, it looks worse that the Mayan disaster, this, as you say, can be solved in a day, in an hour by allowing a transfer of funds.  It's incredibly soluble, easily soluble.  And the president is the one who ought to propose it.  He won't, of course, because he is looking for a fight and not a solution."

As alluded to by Charles Krauthammer, President Obama could agree to allowing individual agencies to decide less painless ways to trim a few pennies out of every dollar instead of across-the board cuts as required by the sequester. This idea was entertained by ABC News' Jonathan Karl and was asked of Ray LaHood in a briefing by LaHood to reporters about the sequester on Feb. 22.  Upon Hood announcing that the Transportation Department was planning to furlough air-traffic controllers around the country causing delays up to 90 minutes for travelers, Karl said to Lahood:  "You're got a big budget.  Can't you find some other way to cut that without telling air traffic controllers to stay home?"    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/22/white-house-sequester-warning-fall-on-ears/#ixzz2LkgtcNqI

Just what is the fly in the ointment that seems to preclude that no deal will be reached and sequester will kick in on Friday?  It is true that Republicans did vote for the sequester.  It passed with 269 "yea" votes in the house (174 Republicans).  In the Senate 28 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats, in a deal initially  dreamed up by Jacob Lew of the White House, now  Treasury Secretary nominee.
 
Republican are now in a bind and will be blamed for whatever they do.  Without the bully pulpit Republicans have been unable to reach the public to stake out the core problem responsible for the sequester deal in the first place, this nation's unsustainable debt.  As an added insult to injury, Obama is insisting on tax hikes to accompany tax cuts.  Furthermore, although the biggest portion of our debt involves entitlement spending, entitlement reform is off limits to President Obama.  

Meanwhile, Obama is going around  convincing the American people to accept tax cuts by presenting the choice as one between reasonable revenue increases  or catastrophic cuts that will let people die on the streets and allow poisoned food to sit on supermaket shelves.

How can this be so when the math of the sequester doesn't add up to the amount of misery Obama is prophesying for the American people?  As  portrayed in one of  Aesop's Fables, "The Boy Who cried Wolf" ("To cry wolf" is an English idiom meaning to give a false alarm.), Obama countless times has gotten away with telling the American people that they are one step away from a fate that sounds worse than death. The moral of "The Boy Who cried Wolf" is that liars are not rewarded, for even when consistent liars do tell the truth, no one believe them after too many lies.

How many more times will Obama be able be able to cry wolf by using a made up scenario that plays upon the emotions of the American people to escape blame for what he has sanctioned, while succeeding in casting total blame upon Republicans in an ongoing ploy to eviscerate and vilify the Republican Party and its leadership?  Will Obama ever be made to "pay the piper" for his deceptive rhetoric and policies.  So far his has been a Teflon presidency.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

In that Obama was re-elected last November despite his propensity to do and say anything to win elections and to gain public support on timely issues (and it continues with the 2014 mid-term elections in mind), points to a serious problem.  Critical thinking skills are missing in so many Americans.  This is why Obama, without fail, is able to fool much of the public by crying wolf, helped along by a fawning, complacent, in-the-tank, and lazy main stream  press. 

This brings to mind an old tale of my childhood about a hysterical hen who believes the sky is falling.  In the story of "Chicken Little" the hysterical hen jumps to the conclusion that the sky is falling, an event not worthy of belief.  The hysterical hen in turn succeeds in getting other animals to believe as she does with results that are unfavorable to all. 

Too many Americans are like Chicken Little.  They jump to conclusion using information that doesn't meet the smell test; accordingly, critical thinking skills are missing in so many Americans.  This is why Obama, without fail, is able to fool much of the public by crying wolf, for when critical thinking skills (the ability to judge for oneself) are missing, people become like sheep and can be led by one whose rhetoric and  policies are not what they seem to be.  http://homeworktips.about.com/od/homeworkhelp/a/Introduction-To-Critical-Thinking.htm

Republicans must be wary, understanding that President Obama is forever campaigning (rather than leading), and that even now Obama is on the campaign trail to  take back the House and keep control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term elections. 

The next big test after the Sequester will be how Republicans will handle the intense pressure to pass another continuing resolution before current government funding expires on March 27.  Are Republicans up to the task and the challenge of facing President Obama and Democrats?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steve S. February 26, 2013 at 09:49 PM
you are a traitor!!
RB February 26, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Blame it on Obama. You could have said that in 4 words. Just as wrong. Patch should more clearly label this sort of contribution as opinion, or really what it is....PROPAGANDA
Nancy J. Thorner February 26, 2013 at 10:28 PM
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.” President Obama is suggesting that spending cuts to federal agencies must result in dire consequences. Firefighters, emergency responders, and teachers will all be cut, he claims. Media outlets have played up these sob stories, copying White House releases in their local news stories and soliciting sad testimonials from people who supposedly would be affected by these cuts. But the question remains: Why would federal agencies cut their most vital assets instead of trimming around the edges? After all, the sequestration cuts are only 2.4 percent of federal spending. CHECK THIS LINK TO SEE EXAMPLES THAT ARE SENSIBLE: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/02/26/sequestration-where-could-we-possibly-cut-the-federal-budget/
Bruce Stromberg February 27, 2013 at 06:48 PM
I agree there are many ways to reduce a budget when across the board cuts are mandated. Common sense would say lesser priorities would be looked at first. Politics leads to scare tactics. Years ago, the Lake County Board was looking at across the board cuts, and the sheriff at the time just said he'd shut down the work release program. It was an interesting time. It's true that the media does not help the public understand some of the issues of the day; and it's not doing it's job of holding elected officials accountable.
Jack Koenig February 28, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Good article Nancy! Unfortunately, there's not enough space on the Patch server to write it in such a manner that even the brain dead could understand. But suffice it to say, Obama & Company are blowing the sequester so out of proportion it's going to come back and bite them in the ass.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »