Monday, September 9, 2013

What's $250 Billion Among Friends? ... Another Lesson In Why Politics Sucks

Government spending is being "sequestered" yet the sky hasn't fallen.

Ever wonder why?

Well, Senator Coburn has a list of $250 billion reasons.

The Sequester Enforcer has the story:

"President Obama has made ending the sequester caps next year a top priority in budget negotiations with Congress. But he'll have a hard time convincing Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Mr. Coburn has taken on the role of sequester defender and in a highly effective way.

When the White House attempted to cut high-priority programs like the air traffic control system, it was Mr. Coburn who instantly publicized scores of other places the Department of Transportation could find savings. When the Agriculture Department was threatening to cut food safety inspections earlier this year, it was Mr. Coburn who pointed out that the agency seemed to have plenty to spend on promoting pickles, Bloody Mary mix and wine. The Interior Department warned of cuts to forest fire prevention, and it was Mr. Coburn who asked why the agency wasn't cutting funds for sheep studies and beaver conferences.
Mr. Coburn has created a website with lists of low-priority programs that should be terminated. The savings add up to more than $250 billion in waste. "This isn't just nickel-and-dime stuff," one of his aides says. Mr. Coburn has also sent letters to agency heads urging them to make smart cuts to waste and duplication and not to cut sensitive services.

But the Oklahoma senator could soon run into opposition from his own party over Defense Department spending reductions. House Republicans have cut deeper into domestic programs (below the caps) in order to raise Pentagon spending. Mr. Coburn opposes that move because it could undermine the spending caps Democrats have agreed to. Besides, there's waste in the Defense Department, too, he argues. He calls DOD the "department of everything" because it funds everything from medical research to green energy projects. Just this week DOD announced that it would delay for a year passing a financial audit for most activities. A full audit won't be available until 2017. Mr. Coburn's response is to stick with the automatic cuts at least until the agency can pass an audit.

Which is to say that Mr. Obama and Democrats face a formidable adversary in dismantling the sequester."

Summing Up

Politics sucks.

But not all politicians play the game the way the "insiders" do.

Thanks for that, Senator Coburn.

Why aren't there more public servants interested in serving the public rather than themselves?

Thanks. Bob.

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