Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FACTS About the Sequester ... The President is Making a Mockery Out of a Serious Budget Problem

The federal government spends more money each year than it collects in taxes. We now have a national debt in excess of $16.5 trillion and an unfunded entitlement liability of another $100 trillion.

The "disaster sequester" scenario will reduce federal spending by $44 billion this year if it takes effect this Friday, which it will.

Phil Gramm: Obama and the Sequester Scare is chock full of relevant FACTS:

"President Obama's message could not be clearer: Life as we know it in America will change dramatically on March 1, when automatic cuts are imposed to achieve $85 billion in government-spending reductions. Furloughed government employees, flight delays and criminals set free are among the dire consequences the president has predicted. . . .

Scare tactics such as these are similar to the ones that were made when I co-authored the first sequester legislation in 1985, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. The 1986 sequester was triggered anyway, but the predicted disaster never came. The nation survived then. It will now.

The president's response to the sequester demonstrates how out of touch he is with the real world of working families. Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year, and 30% more than it spent in 2007. Government spending on nondefense discretionary programs will be 19.2% higher and spending on defense will be 13.8% higher than it was in 2007.

For a typical American family that earns less than it did in the year President Obama was elected, the anguished cries and dark predictions coming out of the White House should elicit not sympathy but revulsion. . . .

The most recent estimate by the Congressional Budget Office for this year's sequester is that nondefense spending will be cut by 4.6% and defense spending will be cut by 7.9%. While the sequester will reduce spending authority by $85 billion, the actual cuts that will occur in 2013 will be $44 billion. That is a mere 1.2% of total federal spending this year. . . .

While history shows that a divided government can enact significant spending cuts as an alternative to sequesters, that doesn't appear to be the path Mr. Obama intends to follow. Instead of protecting civilian defense workers, the president will continue to force the Pentagon to buy biofuels at $27 per gallon to promote his green agenda. Instead of protecting children from cuts in nutrition programs, the president will continue to allow $2.7 billion of fraud and mismanagement he has identified in the food-stamp program. Instead of protecting Medicare from a 2% cut, the president will ignore $62 billion in annual waste that his administration has identified in Medicare and Medicaid.

But governing is not about blaming someone else—it is about choosing.

While Mr. Obama may choose to make the cuts ordered by the sequester in the most painful way possible, the best alternative—which is practiced every year to some extent—is allowing federal agencies to transfer funds among individual programs with congressional approval or by rearranging priorities as part of the March 27 resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

That doesn't sound like a herculean task to Americans who make hard choices every day. Their choices have become harder and more frequent because the country's political leaders seem unwilling to do the same in Washington."

Summing Up

Politics sucks.

But it's not about leadership.

It's about popularity --- and divisive rhetoric.

So to the politicians I say the following:

(1) Let the $44 billion in "non-cuts" to government spending and the smaller than planned government spending increases begin;

(2) Then find another few hundred billion dollars in additional "cuts" to make each year thereafter, so we can get our nation's financial house in order; and

(3) Most important, take a whack at future entitlements spending promises, too.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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