It’s a lousy way to address the nation’s budget problems, a failure of leadership by Congress and especially by this president, who talks a great game about wanting to control spending and reform entitlements, but who rarely offers any suggestions of substance and sees higher taxes as the solution to nearly every problem.
Deep spending cuts are due to take effect automatically on Friday as part of the sequestration process that President Obama initiated. The president now is demanding that Republicans go along with higher taxes in return for more spending on his part. If they fail to do so, he is warning of economic catastrophe, military catastrophe and more. The House Republicans have passed measures two different times to replace the sequester with more sensible cuts, but he has rejected them. He’s now threatening a meat-cleaver approach to cuts if the Republicans do not go along with his “revenue increases.”
There are hundreds, or more likely thousands, of middle-managerial type people reading this page who, if told by their bosses to cut their budgets by 5 percent, could do so, albeit with reluctance. After all, that’s what everybody has been having to do in recent years thanks to the economy.
Yet rather than insist that government make small cuts here and there to achieve the 5 percent cut in domestic spending that’s needed, and the 7 percent cut in military spending, Obama is threatening to make deep cuts in vital services right off the bat to pressure Republicans to give in. And you can be sure the major media will be in lockstep with him in terms of assigning blame.
The sad thing is that despite all the teeth-gnashing about the sequester, it would amount to a pittance, just $1.16 trillion over the next 10 years. That sounds like a lot, but it comes to only 3 cents on each federal dollar. You’ve probably cut your household budget by a lot more than that in recent years. Why can’t Congress? And why can’t this president?
The $85 billion in savings from the sequester would represent just 2.3 percent of total federal spending for the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Additionally, even if the sequester goes into effect, the federal government would still be spending slightly more in 2013 than in 2012 — that is, $3.55 trillion vs. $3.53 trillion.
U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) put that into the right perspective last week.
“So what we’re doing (with the sequester) is decreasing our federal spending for one fiscal year of $3.6 trillion by just $85 billion,” he said. “If we can’t find that then clearly, we’re never going to be able to get our fiscal house in order.”
As Ronald Reagan often said, “Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.”
So it’s understandable why, with such facts in mind, many Americans think that if a sequester is the only way to get Washington to face up to its spending problem, then “Let her rip.”