Friday, March 8, 2013

Sequestration and Government Spending ... All Dollars Are NOT Created Equal in the Land of Oz

We're getting a great lesson in how government takes MOM, converts it into OPM, and then prioritizes how it spends what used to be our money, while doing so in a thoughtful and carefully considered fiduciary manner. Huh?

Of course, it doesn't do that at all. It just takes our money, lets it all fly out the government door, and then wants more to satisfy its insatiable spending spree, which of course is never going to be sated. Not even close.

Thus, it spends what it receives, then spends some more and then demands even more MOM from us so the government knows best gang can spend it in order to save us from ourselves. Aren't we lucky to have such a dedicated group of public servants acting on our behalf?

Talk about waste! And speaking of talking about waste, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is on a roll talking about it these days.

So let's pay close attention to what he has to say in The Drama Over, Time For Smart Budget Cuts:

"Now that budget sequestration is under way, it looks less like the fiscal apocalypse that had been predicted and more like a long-overdue intervention with politicians who are addicted to borrowing and spending.

I agree with President Obama that sequestration's across-the-board rather than specific cuts are a "dumb" way to reduce spending. . . . But if sequestration is dumb, it's even dumber not to cut spending at all.

Cutting spending can be a powerful pro-growth strategy, but the outcome of sequestration depends on how the administration chooses to cut. Not all dollars are spent equally: The Obama administration's decision to spend federal dollars studying how cocaine affects the reproductive habits of Japanese quail didn't multiply anything other than quail.

Shifting money to working families from quail research—and thousands of other frivolous expenditures—would mean fewer government workers furloughed. The $181,000 quail study alone could prevent 62 furloughs. If the federal government stopped sending unemployment checks to millionaires, it could save $14.8 million a year (according to IRS data) and prevent 5,103 furloughs. Smart savings would mean that single moms and others on a tight budget don't have to work as much to finance wasteful government spending—and can keep more of their own money to spend, fueling economic growth in the process. . . .

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that cuts to air-traffic control will force flight delays but won't compromise safety or cause air disasters. He can avoid both with smart cuts. I sent him a letter this week detailing $1.2 billion in savings that would more than cover his $600 million shortfall. He could start by curtailing subsidies for "Airports to Nowhere" that serve fewer than 10 passengers a day. . . .

The same is true of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Instead of forcing Americans to spend more time in airport screening lines, she can find savings in the wasteful grant program that gave America an underwater robot for Columbus, Ohio, and a BearCat armored-personnel carrier to guard a pumpkin festival in Keene, N.H. (population 23,000). Trimming this $830 million grant program by just one third could avoid Transportation Security Administration furloughs entirely.

But if cabinet secretaries insist on using furloughs, they could start by furloughing employees who already don't bother to show up for work. In a 2008 report, I found that the 3.5 million hours that federal employees were AWOL in 2007 could be used to screen 1.7 billion checked bags, or enough to avoid security delays for nearly four years.

Another source of potential savings is duplication of federal services, which accounts for $364 billion spent every year, according to the Government Accountability Office. . . .

The longer this fight drags on, the harder it will be for the administration to pretend it can't find savings. After all, what is dramatic isn't the size of the sequestration cuts but recent increases in government spending. Since 2002, total federal spending has increased nearly 89% while median household income has dropped 5% and median wealth has dropped 23%. In other words, while families have been doing more with less, government has been doing less with more.

If President Obama believes he doesn't have the flexibility to set budget priorities, all he has to do is ask Congress for more leeway. Forcing working families to bear the brunt of Washington's refusal to use discretion in spending cuts is economically indefensible and morally reprehensible. The president should instead work with Congress to make smart cuts that will strengthen the nation and its families."

Summing up

And so it goes in the government knows best free spending Land of Oz we know simply as Washington.

And in the Land of Oz -- er -- Washington, a great and unintended civics lesson on the virtues of limited government is on display every single day. MOM doesn't have a chance when the OPMers get their hands on the people's money.

As a concerned citizen, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

So I'll do neither.

Instead I'll try to spread the word on why our government knows best gang needs to get its hands on less of the MOM which enables them to convert it into OPM and then spend recklessly and wastefully.

The problem with our so-called representative government is about the irresponsible behavior of our government aristocrats.

What should concern all of us is their apparent lack of competency to properly manage our nation's financial affairs and their negligent and willful disregard to look after the interests and general welfare of We the People.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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