Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crying Wolf Doesn't Always Work, Mr. President

President Obama cried wolf again when he repeatedly warned that the sequester would do enormous harm to our American economy. He's even announced the closing of the White House (which I was taught was the people's house and not his) to tours from visiting students and citizens until further notice. Unbelievable!

Evidently Mr. Obama has forgotten in his hubris that he doesn't doesn't own the house in which he temporarily resides. He's been too busy playing political games to allow for any simple thoughts about the best interests of the American people to enter into his political calculations.

But just maybe the games and the political calculations are beginning to change and some seriousness will be entering the picture in Washington. And if closing the people's house to its rightful owners is what it takes to get both the President's and the people's attention, then it's a small and temporary price which is very much worth paying.

And it's an especially small price if it signals that the people aren't buying the divisive crapola he's been selling. And that's exactly the way it 'smells' to me. We're not buying that more government spending and higher taxes are the answer to our woes.

If so, that's great because we really don't need any more reckless and wasteful government spending. What we do need more of is a sense of optimism about our American future. We also very much need for the animal spirits to return to the private sector which would result from a more confident and optimistic American consumer and a serious movement toward achieving North American energy independence.

Of course, it's going to be a long slog to get back to a confident America, but we'll never get there if we don't get started. And to me it's starting to look like we've begun.

While Pogo was right in believing that "We've met the enemy and he is us," We the People also have the solution to our own homemade problems, big as they are and intractable as they may now seem to be.

So perhaps it's time to replace Pogo's comment with our own "Don't Worry, Be Happy" approach.

That seems about right to me, and Polling the Sequester provides a basis for limited optimism in that regard:

"Is the White House winning the sequester fight?

"President Obama appears to have taken a noticeable, yet brief, hit in public support coinciding with the federal budget sequester that took effect March 1," reports Gallup. "He averaged 49% approval for the week ending March 3, down from 51% the prior week." A Fox News poll of registered voters last week put his approval rating at 46%.

President Obama has gambled that he can win a public relations battle against Republicans over the automatic spending cuts, just as he did in the debt-ceiling debate in 2011 and in last year's fiscal cliff negotiations. But history may not repeat itself.

. . . on economic issues Republicans are closing the gap with Democrats. "Despite the GOP's deep unpopularity, Democrats hold only a statistically insignificant 2-point edge, 32 percent to 30 percent, over which party was best able to handle the economy," writes Josh Kraushaar of National Journal, citing the Journal poll. "Most notably, on the sequester, the White House held only a narrow advantage when respondents were presented the arguments for and against it. A bare 50 percent majority agreed with the president's argument that the cuts 'are too severe,' while 46 percent argued it is 'time for dramatic measures.'". . .

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky suggested a freeze on hiring new federal employees and calculated that it would save $6.5 billion per year. He also suggested bringing federal employee pay in line with the private sector. Right now, federal pay is around 16% higher. That would save another $32 billion a year.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma suggested consolidating duplicative federal agencies and programs. The Government Accountability Office has identified more than 1,300 such redundancies, which cost the federal government more than $364 billion a year.

The problem is that Mr. Obama isn't interested in reducing spending or lessening the pain of the sequester. Instead, he's trying to scare people in hopes that they will help him pressure Republicans to agree to more tax hikes. This is what's behind talk of air traffic controller shortages and teacher layoffs; and stunts like releasing illegal immigrants from detention centers and closing the White House to tours. The president's biggest concern is that voters will figure out that a $3.6 trillion budget can easily absorb $85 billion in cuts. The question is whether Mr. Obama and the Democrats have overplayed their hand this time."

Summing Up

Overplayed their hand indeed.

My view is that most people believe the government wastes far more money than the sequester is cutting from government spending.

We may not be aristocratic politicians but we're not complete fools either.

There's a new day coming to government waste and political unaccountability, and it can't come soon enough.

Our country definitely needs some serious minded grown up behavior in government.

Let's insist on it.

Thanks. Bob.

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