Obama's shameful exhibition last week warning against the spending cuts set to automatically go into effect on March 1st is a perfect example of why this president is no leader. Drunk on his reelection, he truly sees himself as the Chosen One, the political messiah who is destined to lead this country by using the bully pulpit. Trotting out firemen and police officers as stage props has become old news. Want gun control legislation? Invite victims of gun violence to a State of the Union Address. Want universal pre-K in all schools? Fly in some 4-year-old kids from around the country and make sure they are ethnically and economically diverse. Want your rendition of immigration reform? Hang out with some immigrants surrounding you preferably in a state with a large Hispanic population, but make sure you throw some African, Asian and European immigrants in the crowd as if it is African, Asian and European illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border. His use of stage props is disgusting and shameful. Allowing oneself to be a stage prop is just as bad.
But that is all this president stands for- polarization and demonization- creating villains where none exist and distorting the truth because he is, well...the president. We clearly know the origins of the sequester idea. It was to be the result if some bipartisan grand bargain was not reached to bring out of control spending under some semblance of control. As reporter Bob Woodward has clearly chronicled now, the idea originated not in the halls of Congress or the office of John Boehner but at the White House primarily in the name of Jack Lew. Democrats have been attempting to cut the defense budget for years now as a means to free up money for domestic spending. In fact, this is one of the biggest differences between the Democrats and Republicans ever since Johnson's Great Society. But a funny thing happened on the way to passage of the Budget Control Act- the cuts were across the board and would affect domestic discretionary spending.
And it is that phrase- "discretionary spending"- where Obama's scare tactics fall on hard times. By definition, the spending is at the discretion of the Federal government. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single local fire fighter or police officer who receives a pay check from the national government. While the federal government, through Department of Homeland Security grants, may help purchase equipment, this indirect funding frees up money for the local governments to pay their employees rather than purchase the equipment with local dollars. My legislative district is a perfect example of the stupidity of these Homeland Security first responder grants. Quite frankly, within my congressional district, I cannot think of a single high priority target of any possible terrorist organization foreign or domestic. Yet, my Congressman (a Republican by the way) is adept at steering these Homeland security grants to local fire departments, many of them volunteer. That is, these grants should rightfully go to high priority areas, not my little stretch of New Jersey.
That is where Obama and company with their scare tactics runs into some problems- priorities. To your average Democrat or liberal, everything is a national problem demanding a national solution with national (federal) dollars. As George Will nicely puts it, this "sequester" is $85 billion in a $3 TRILLION "budget." ABC News actually did a fine job of breaking down some of these scare tactics as the Obama cabinet spread out and wrote letters to Congress warning of what would happen if these cuts actually went into effect. For example, according to Ray LaHood over at the Transportation Department, there will be fewer air traffic controllers which means fewer flights which means potentially longer lines which means some really pissed off air travelers. If $600 million is FAA cuts grounds air traffic to a halt, then I would say we are over-paying our air traffic controllers. When Reagan addressed an air traffic controller strike shortly after taking office in 1981- that is, there were no air traffic controllers- we survived. But of course there will still be long lines at airports because DHS predicts that they will have to jettison many of the nanny/baby-patting TSA agents. And if planes are not flying into one another, assuming anyone gets on the plane in time, they may just fly into a storm because NOAA faces cuts and no one can interpret a radar screen or satellite image. Naturally, the airplanes, if they are flying, will have to avoid the areas with out of control wildfires since the Department of Agriculture predicts a possible calamity of 200,000 acres burning out of control.
Leaving aside the fact that a large swath of America will be burning out of control, Vilsack also told Congress that these budget cuts will lead to an outbreak of crop disease and pestilence the likes of which this country has never known. Because meat inspectors will be "furloughed," we should not eat poultry or meat until these budget cuts are restored. That is if the meat packers and poultry farmers even open up for business on March 2nd.
In the area of law enforcement, Eric Holder reports that 218,000 federal prisoners will be running the show in federal prisons as guards will have to be laid off or furloughed. The best way around this would be a total lock down of all federal prisoners. Now, if you want to purchase a gun, assuming you are in a state that still has not passed knee jerk onerous laws, expect a longer wait for those computers to return a result on your background check because everyone knows there is a federal employee sitting at a terminal somewhere typing in a response to the request. Forget about crime enforcement; Holder predicts 775 special FBI agents will disappear into the ether which is may a good thing since there will be no prison guards to look after them. If you aspire to become an American citizen, you may have to wait even a little longer (assuming you did it the legal way) and if you want to travel abroad and need a passport, that too will require a longer wait.
The Department of Health and Human Services has weighed in and said 373,000 mentally ill people may lose services, that 8,900 homeless people with mental problems (is that all there is?) will not receive "vital" outreach services, and there will be fewer admissions to mental hospitals. HUD reports that about 125,000 people will lose subsidized housing and Vilsack, who seems to be the biggest grim reaper of them all, claims that up to 600,000 women and children will be denied their WIC benefits. Of course, the traditionally downtrodden will face the biggest cuts. There will be 425,000 fewer AIDS tests conducted and about 7,500 AIDS patients will not get their medication AND lose their rental assistance. Native Americans will see their hospitals closed which may affect up to 804,000 people living on reservations. Low-income housing will become dilapidated although most of it already is so I do not know where HUD gets that one and the disabled will just have to wait a little longer for their smaller claim check.
Surprisingly, Arne Duncan and Obama have not trotted out little children as props since about 70,000 children will lose Head Start whose "achievements" are dubious at best. Oh, and because of these draconian cuts, it is predicted that 140,000 teachers will lose their job. And God forbid you have a child with special needs because these estimated 23 million students will be left out in the cold.
Robert Mueller over at the FBI says that our ability to detect and apprehend terrorists will be seriously diminished due to a (1) lack of manpower, (2) less surveillance, (3) untranslated wiretaps or (4) antiquated equipment- take your choice. Classified information will become vulnerable, illegals will be flooding across the border in greater numbers than now, and our nuclear facilities will go unprotected leaving an opening for terrorists.
Probably the most chilling and actually true scenarios are in the Defense Department where our Pacific naval presence will be lessened and there will be effects on Army readiness. Equally important, some 46,000 defense contractor jobs are at risk. The Coast Guard will be hampered leading to an influx of drugs by smugglers. Military aid to countries like Jordan, Egypt and Israel may be affected although I was under the impression arms sales meant arms sales as in they GIVE us money for the arms. And there will be mining accidents, people falling off ladders at work (and remember it will take longer to get that disability check) and if you lose your job, your unemployment check will be smaller. Small businesses will dry up because they cannot get SBA loans. If you are unemployed and want to get away to forget your troubles with what little money you have, don't go to a national park because chances are they will be either closed or have restricted hours. There is one silver lining though: the EPA Gestapo will be performing fewer environmental compliance inspections.
The preceding Armageddon was brought to by the cabinet members of the Obama Administration in letters to Congress indicating the across the board budget cuts scheduled to take effect on March 1st. While we have people like John McCain running around the country and on any television show that will broadcast him telling us about how bad this sequester is and that we should surgically cut spending rather than "taking an ax," history proves that Congress and certainly Obama lack the leadership and intestinal fortitude to do so. Instead of taking an ax, we need to take a nuclear bomb to federal spending. If all this befalls the country because of $85 billion in budget cuts, what will happen when REAL spending cuts are made?
The scare mongering of the Obama Administration proves one very important fact: Liberals do not know how to prioritize things. To them, everything is a priority. Fortunately, our truly national priorities are spelled out in the Constitution. At the head of the list the "common defense" of our country- not housing assistance, not air traffic control, not assistance to sufferers of AIDS, not run-amok EPA inspectors, not bureaucrats with measuring tapes checking ladder rung distances for OSHA, not weather forecasting, not housing renovation, or anything else they pedict will happen. That is why in the area of spending, Republicans should employ a true nuclear option- let these budget cuts happen as all the predicted calamity will not likely occur, and then seek even more budget cuts.