Sorry for the continued coverage of the sequester, but its a gift that just keeps on giving. By now, we are all familiar with the “sky is falling” rhetoric that President Obama and the rest of the liberals are spreading all over creation. Even some Republicans, most notably those who are in the National Governors Association, have joined in the call to halt the sequester. No doubt, they are concerned about the budget cuts that may affect their states, but they should be listening, instead, to the facts. The sequester does not involve spending cuts in real dollars. It will just cut the amount of expected growth in different departments and agencies that receive their funding from the federal government.
Having said that, there is a plan being drafted in the Senate that will give President Obama more flexibility to decide where the supposed cuts will take place. I’m not sure if I favor the plan or not, but the White House has already came out against it. What it will basically do is place the ball in Obama’s court and the blame for anything bad that happens will rest at his feet. Trust me, Obama wants no part of that and Jay Carney is making sure everyone knows it. But, there is trouble stirring in the wings, caused in no small part by the plan being developed by Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.
(The New York Times) Congressional Republicans are preparing to counter increasingly dire warnings from President Obama about the impact of automatic budget cuts with a plan to give the administration more flexibility in instituting $85 billion in cuts, a proposal they say could protect the most vital programs while shifting more of the political fallout to the White House.
The plan is vigorously opposed by the administration, which said Monday that it would do little to soften the blow to military and domestic programs. But it is also dividing Democrats, with lawmakers from the states facing the deepest cuts signaling that they may be prepared to go along with Republicans if it means avoiding indiscriminate cuts to military programs and social services.
As I said above, I’m not sure if I am in favor of the plan, but it surely is sweet to see the President and all his men scrambling for cover when they realize what this plan will do. Senator John McCain is coming out strongly against the plan, saying it will be ceding congressional authority to the President. I’m not so sure that’s the case. Congress still has to appropriate any money Obama decides to spend and giving him the authority on where to apply the cuts that are supposedly part of the sequester seems like a logical choice to me. The President has bombed the airwaves for days with his claims that the sequester will cause massive layoffs, delays at airports, reduce firefighting efforts, (fill in the blank with your own catastrophe). If he is so certain those things will take place, then give him the ball and let him run with it. If he fumbles that ball, then the consequences will rest solely on him.
As for the cuts themselves, leave it to Tom Coburn to find where they could be applied to correct government waste. He wasted no time sending his own recommendations to the White House Budget office.
Republicans were also taking steps to show that $85 billion is not hard to find.
[Coburn]fired off a letter to the White House budget office pointing to current job openings in the government that could go unfilled: staff assistant at the Labor Department to answer telephones, salary range $51,630 to $81,204; 10 drivers for the State Department, $22.76 to $26.45 an hour; and director for Air Force History and Museum Policies and Programs, up to $165,300 a year.
“Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a Border Patrol officer, a food inspector, a T.S.A. screener or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?” the senators’ letter asked the acting White House budget chief, Jeffrey Zients.
So, to anyone who says the cuts in the sequester are the end of the world, I say hogwash. Does anyone really believe the smart folks in Washington can not find 2.4% to cut out of a $3 trillion budget? I know I don’t and anyone who believes it can’t be done without causing all manner of catastrophes on a federal and state level needs to step back and take another look. I would classify that as a lie on the “Pants on Fire” level. It simply isn’t true, no matter what the President and his liberal minions try to tell us. It isn’t even true if the Republican governors declare it to be so. Yes, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is among that number, and even though I voted for her, I still disagree.
Feel free to let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with the plan to give the Republicans political cover on the sequester. I really am interested in what you think about this.