Sequestration: The Latest In Political Chicanery
By: John Hampton
On March 1, budget cuts brought about by the sequester went into effect. What is the sequester and where did it come from? The current incarnation of the sequester came about during the debt ceiling debate of 2011. It was passed as part of the Budget Control Act, which President Obama signed in August of that same year.
During negotiations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (better known as the Super Committee) was tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. These cuts would be spread over a 10 year period. November 23rd of 2011 was set as the deadline for the committee to accomplish its task. Automatic spending cuts would trigger, starting in 2013, if the committee failed. The cuts were meant to be evenly split between Defense and Domestic programs. This was supposed to encourage compromise, as both parties would work together, in order to see that their own interests were protected. Needless to say, the committee failed, and the concomitant sequestration is now upon us.
Who was it that suggested the current sequester? According to Bob Woodward team Obama first proposed the idea of sequestration. But the President puts all the blame for legislation that he himself signed, on House Republicans. According to thehill.com, while speaking of the sequester, President Obama said “These cuts are not smart. They will hurt our economy and cost us jobs.” The President also said “Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.”
If the President really believes the cuts are not smart and will hurt the economy and cost jobs, then why did he sign legislation which not only called for, but actually mandated that cuts be made, if certain benchmarks were not met? How can the President sign legislation that facilitates spending cuts and then blame Republicans when the cuts are implemented? That makes no sense at all. It is completely inane. Could it be that, the only reason the President signed legislation enabling spending cuts, was because he assumed they would never be implemented? After all, everyone knows that Republicans would never agree to cuts in Defence spending, would they?
President Obama signed the Budget Control Act in August 2011. When he signed the Budget Control Act, it contained the sequester component. Whether or not he thought the sequester would actually be implemented is immaterial. Mr Obama is the President. He signed the legislation and now he must be held accountable for his actions and any unintended consequences. This constant scapegoating of Republicans has become quite hackneyed. A genuine leader must accept responsibility for all his /her actions, even when the outcome is neither expected nor desired.
As noted above, the President said “Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.” The President could have done virtually anything he wanted during his first 2 years in office, as his party controlled both houses of Congress. Again I ask myself why, if he really cared about equity in the tax code, did he not change it when he had the power to do so? Remember all the talk of Warren Buffett paying less in taxes than his secretary? Why was that not an issue for Democrats when they controlled Congress?
A change to the tax code would not only affect wealthy Republicans and Conservatives (who are frequent targets of this administration), it would also affect affluent Democrats who avail themselves of all the same benefits legally available in the current code. I wonder if there’s a connection there. And if the tax code was changed to reflect equality for all, it would no longer be an issue for Democrats to use against Republicans. Democrats have no credibility in this matter. The only time they rail against the tax code is when they have no power to change it. Countless other areas managed by politicians and bureaucrats are equally as fouled up!
Why is our government so inept? The so-called Super Committee failed miserably. Both parties share the blame. If only politicians had the pluck to address the massive amount of fraud, waste and abuse within our system, we would be well on our way to recovery in many areas. But instead, career politicians employ every unethical tactic available, in order to maintain their positions of power and authority over “We the People”. And now that spending cuts have been implemented against the will of the White House, political brinkmanship is in high gear!
At this critical moment in our history, only extraordinary leadership, sound judgment and the courage to put the best interests of America and the security of Americans above all else, can pull us from the brink of disaster. Unfortunately, very few politicians possess these traits. And when these traits are displayed, more often than not the individual is shouted down by selfish uninformed mobs, demonized by other politicians (sometimes from their own party) and lambasted by the main stream media.
Can America survive in this stifling environment? We can only hold our breath for so long! Will the assault on our freedom be reversed? There is a notion held by some currently in power that, our Constitution is obsolete and should be remade to their standards, and that an already bloated federal government should continue to expand through increased taxation, and that the American people, politically unsophisticated as we are, must be monitored and controlled by use of executive orders, onerous regulations and political correctness. If this notion is not soon repealed, then I fear the answer to those questions is “No”.
John Hampton lives in Tehachapi CA and is quite concerned about the policies and motives of the current Administration. He believes in a system that holds our freedoms sacred, promotes personal responsibility, prudence and high moral standards.