Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obama's Sequester Cynicism

Gary L. Bauer

Campaign for Working Families

In yesterday's report I warned that in spite of the sequester's miniscule size compared to the overall federal budget, Barack Obama is determined to make the cuts as painful as possible. But don't take my word for it. Over the weekend, the Washington Post ran a story headlined, "The Big Sequester Gamble: How Badly Will The Cuts Hurt?"

The article argued that defenders of Big Government need the sequester to be painful in order to convince the American people that the solution is higher taxes, more spending and even bigger government. "The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens," one liberal lobbyist confessed to the Post.

That is why Barack Obama is telling us just how awful these cuts will be. Kids will be kicked out of school. Flights will be delayed. Workers will be furloughed and their paychecks will be cut. Today the president went to Newport News, Virginia, to warn that the Navy might have to cancel repairs to 11 ships and lay off civilian workers.

It doesn't have to be this way. But that is exactly how Obama wants it to be! The cynicism of this White House and its allies is breathtaking. They are willing to punish hard-working, taxpaying citizens of this country in order to advance their far-left, big government agenda.

Will Obama's Cynicism Prevail?

This morning I got more real life evidence of why the Obama strategy on sequestration may ultimately work. I begin every morning by trying to personally respond to as many emails as I can from our loyal friends and supporters. I want to share two I received today.

Keep in mind these folks are receiving my daily report. They are most likely pro-life and pro-family, and they probably voted for Mitt Romney. The first one comes from a military family in Europe.

"Mr. Bauer,
I still receive your End of the Day reports... but now, I read them from [Europe].  My husband is a former Marine, Operation Iraqi Freedom Soldier, and now a civilian employee with the [Department of Defense].  …
"This morning, my husband … was informed that should the sequester take place, he will be forced to take one day a week off, and we will live without $400+ a paycheck... Then my daughters came home from the international school they attend, with the news that the teachers will also be furloughed. … "Can I ask a question?  Are ANY of the entitlement checks, received by millions... being cut a penny or two?  Are any congressmen going to lose even $400 out of THEIR paychecks?  Is the president, or even one member of his cabinet,  going to see a lower amount in THEIR paycheck if this happens?"
Here is the second message:

"As one of the 'bureaucrats at desk jobs,' who is facing a 20% cut in my pay, I would hope that you wouldn't discount the impact that would have on my life.  It won't just hit me on the odd day I happen to be at the airport.  I  have shown up for thirty years to a job that those in leadership deemed necessary to be done, worked hard all day long every day, producing excellent results, and continually educated myself … so I would be prepared to change with the times and do an ever better job.  I made a deal and kept my end of the bargain. I just wish my employers (Congress, the executive branch and the voters) had kept theirs."

There is no logical reason why they or anyone else should be suffering cuts in pay or why teachers should be furloughed -- EXCEPT for the fact that Obama is doing his best to portray any cut in government spending as draconian. But if I am receiving these kinds of emails from people who are probably loyal conservatives, just imagine what kind of messages Republican congressmen are receiving -- and in many cases from voters who supported them.

When the sequester was negotiated, Obama demanded that some areas of the budget -- such as major entitlement programs -- be off limits. As a result, even though the sequester only amounts to 2.5% of total spending, the parts of the budget that are getting hit are taking a bigger hit proportionally than just 2.5%. Some discretionary programs are taking a 5% cut while some Defense programs are taking a 7% cut.

But rather than cutting salaries, agency executives should be looking for fraud, waste, and other unnecessary spending. Any department head who can't find five or six percent in waste, fraud, duplication, etc., should be fired!

Last night on the CBS Evening News, the director of the National Institutes of Health told viewers, "Medical research in America will be slowed by [the sequester], advances that could have happened sooner will happen later or perhaps not at all."

That statement is absurd. The federal government is not the only entity doing medical research. Is there really nothing else in the NIH's budget to cut other than important research projects? Of course there is. But if you are the person getting cut, if you are the family in Europe, it doesn't sound absurd when your paycheck shows up 20% smaller. That is what Obama is counting on.

And because the left-wing media willingly parrots the administration's propaganda, many Americans who don't watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh or read these daily reports won't know the cynical game that is being played here.

Do I think Republicans in Congress could be doing a better job? Yes. I pointed out yesterday there should have been more oversight hearings. Perhaps they should be raising money to run ads to explain this.

But there is no way for Republicans to explain it without the cooperation of the media. Speaker Boehner and House leaders held a press conference yesterday and presented a lot of great information. It got about 30 seconds of coverage on the evening news.

This is a very frustrating time in Washington, my friends. But we cannot give up. The skirmish over sequestration is a major battle in the fight over the size and scope of government. If Obama can convince the American people that it is too draconian to cut just 2.5% of the budget, then America is doomed to follow the path of European-style socialism.