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Sequester Stupidity About Smart ‘Cuts’

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Before I offer any comments, just take a moment to watch this clip, and let it sink in for a minute.

Pay special attention to the comments at about 58 seconds.

Here’s the money quote:

“The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10-percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that. There’s no smart way to do that. You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one? When you’re doing things in a way that’s not smart, you can’t gloss over the pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.”

This is such an astounding statement of deflection, dishonesty, and dumbassery, I almost don’t know where to begin.

For starters, the $85 billion is not coming out of defense spending alone. Sure, $85 billion is 10% of the defense budget.  But, that’s as relevant as me whipping out a dollar bill and stating, “See this dollar?  This is ten percent of a ten dollar bill.  And that’s why the GOP stinks.”  It’s not even logic.

The point is to confuse people with a notion that defense spending is going to get cut 10% over seven months.

It’s dishonest.  The $85 billion number is across all federal spending.

Death by a thousand non-cuts

The sequester is also not a “cut.”  It just means that spending won’t grow as much as it otherwise was projected – each year – for the next decade.

So, while our total spending for the next 10 years will be somewhere north of $40 trillion, the sequester will shave less $1 trillion off that figure.  So, we’re talking about 1/40th of total federal spending.  Or 2.5%.

Here’s a graphic from Americans for Prosperity:

For the children

To add insult to the ignorance, the President pivots off this phony defense budget figure to pit “Pauly Poor Kid” vs. “Debbie Disable Kid.”  In one sentence Obama says the $85 billion will gut the defense budget, and in (literally) the next sentence he’s using those $85 billion to starve and neglect children.

Further, the President argues there is a “smart” way to make all these cuts to federal spending, but the sequester is not smart.  At the risk of injecting honesty into the discussion – IT WAS HIS PROPOSAL!!

Via Bob Woodward:

My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

 

Demanding others do what you won’t

Also, packed into this cynical and ridiculous argument is a rejection of the Republican offer that the President have flexibility to make the cuts he prefers.  Here’s a chance to make those dumb cuts smarter — hooray!

But the President doesn’t want it.  “Now, lately, some people have been saying, well, maybe we’ll just give the President some flexibility,” Obama said.  “He could make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won’t be as damaging.”

The President added, “… there’s no smart way to do that.”

So, what the hell does he think his job actually is?

He is the Chief Executive, for crying out loud!  He’s flat-out saying that he is incapable of or unwilling to do the job he was hired to do.  Think out it – he’s saying he cannot find “smart” ways to ensure that the future spending grows at 98% the rate it otherwise would.

The blatant disregard for fiscal restraint, fiduciary responsibility, and basic honesty is astounding.

What’s more – the President already has the ability to make cuts to agencies and programs. According to the Wall Street Journal, thanks to the Democratic Senate’s refusal to pass a budget, the President already has authority to exact the “smart” changes he would prefer.

Even more dishonest and hypocritical is that the President is savaging the GOP for offering ideas on how best to curtail future spending, while refusing to do so himself.  He’s saying it’s impossible to make “smart” 2% reductions in spending over a decade, but demanding the GOP find a way to do so. And when Republicans offer proposals, he attacks them for doing so.

 

If the world doesn’t end Friday…

As if you needed proof of how UN-serious this Administration is about fiscal sanity, a meeting has been called.  But before you start thinking this will be for a serious purpose… after Presidential vacations and Congressional recesses over the past month … the leaders called their meeting for Friday.

A congressional source with direct knowledge of the plans tells me the top four congressional leaders – John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell – will meet with President Obama at the White House Friday to attempt to negotiate a way to avoid the spending cuts that both sides have said should be avoided.

You’ve heard the saying, “May you live in interesting times.”  Often assumed to be a proverb or a blessing, it’s actually a curse.  And watching the sequester spectacle confirms that we are, indeed, cursed.

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Pete Kaliner hosts the 3-6 p.m. drive-time slot on Asheville’s WWNC Radio. Visit his blog and listen live.

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