I have been watching with disgust the growing fear mongering as sequestration looms closer. Now it is only days away and our “campaigner in chief” is either clueless or bored with the whole process to come up with solutions. Instead, he is falling back on his comfort zone: blame Bush, blame the Republicans and hit the road to campaign some more.
Obama is completely avoiding some simple facts: The sequester was the idea of his administration. It was the carrot dangled as a promise to work on budget cuts when he was wanting tax increases during the last fiscal cliff crisis. Now that the time has come to work on cuts, he is cutting and running, and is demanding even more tax increases.
Second is that these “spending cuts” aren’t really cuts in what is actually being spent today. It is a cut in increases in future spending. It is also only a 2 percent cut (2 cents on every dollar). So there is no need for all the layoffs, airport waits or security dangers that we are being threatened with.
In addition, his administration has full authority to choose where the cuts will be. In other words, if the president is worried about losing TSA screeners at the airport, he can choose instead to cut the allowance for the conferences that agency hosts every year. If he is worried about cuts at the Justice Department, he can choose to cut the $20 million from the National Drug Intelligence Center that still has funding on the books but has been closed since last year.
Every area of government has examples like this. If we can’t find 2 cents of waste, redundancy or inefficiency to cut from each dollar, our economy is in huge trouble.
What this will take is an actual budget that this administration has not had since its beginning. Budgets aren’t fun. There are no exciting travel itineraries or adoring crowds involved. Any family who has one knows that a budget requires adults to sit down, assess what they have and plan to live within those means. They first make sure that they have enough earmarked for essentials like food, shelter, transportation for work, basic clothing, savings for the future, etc. Next they budget in repayment of other debts that they made promises to pay.
Then, if there is enough, they have the freedom to add fun stuff like toys, hobbies, vacations and dinners out. Anyone who has done this knows it can be very painful, but it’s what grown-ups do.
For Obama, this means he needs to stay in Washington and meet with difficult people. He must sit down with people who understand the budgeting process who can advise him wisely in where cuts can be made to save the most money and disrupting the lives of the American public the least. It will mean sitting down with people who disagree with him and possibly don’t like him. It’s not fun, but it’s what grown-ups do.
Mr. President, you wanted this job. The fun of campaigning is over; grow up and do your job.
June Van Alstyne