Friday, March 01, 2013

The Sequester is Here, The Sequester is Here

The sequester is here!  The sequester is here!

Most lawmakers said they had hoped to avoid the across-the-board cuts but couldn’t come to a consensus on how to do so. Senators defeated two last-ditch efforts Thursday and then House members skipped town for the weekend, leaving it to President Obama to begin carrying out the cuts, which he said he would do just before midnight.
He has scheduled a Friday morning meeting with congressional leaders to talk about the situation, but no action is expected.
That is how President Obama is governing - wait until it is too late for him to be hands-on with Congress and then schedule photo op types of meetings to appear to be taking action.  It's ridiculous but it's reality. "No action is expected" is the new normal in Washington, D.C.

The sequester signed into law by President Obama - after demanding it be made into a law in the first place - has certainly brought about some entertaining moments as members of the administration and Congress have been caught in some downright whoppers of scare tactic style statements.

As though to prime the panic pump, DHS got out in front of the sequester and began releasing illegal immigrants and then announcing it to ramp up the theatrics of the story.

A week before mandatory budget cuts go into effect across the government, the Department of Homeland Security has started releasing illegal immigrants being held in immigration jails across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokeswoman, said ICE has reviewed “several hundred cases” of immigrants being held in jails around the country and released them in the last week. They have been “placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release,” she said.
This begs the question: if ICE knew of "an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release" before the sequester loomed, why hasn't ICE implemented the practice already? 

We can always count on Maxine Waters to bring the wow factor to an argument.  Thursday she, along with her sisters on the Democratic side of the House, claimed that if the sequester should move forward, "over 170,000 jobs would be lost." 

Never mind that the number of employed Americans is currently around 150 million.  Rep Waters is not one to let real numbers, or facts, get in the way of a good exaggeration.


Earlier in the week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan was caught in a whopper, too.  After proclaiming with confidence that teachers are receiving pink slips right this very moment due to sequester cuts, well, turns out that isn't really true.  He even gave an example of a county in West Virginia laying off teachers.  Still false.  Those teachers were being transferred, not losing their jobs.

Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the “transfer notices” sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter that involves a change in the way West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children.The transfer notices are required by state law and give teachers a warning that they may be moved to a different position next school year. They don’t necessarily mean a teacher has been laid off, said Pam Padon, director of federal programs and Title 1 for the Kanawha County public schools. “It’s not like we’re cutting people’s jobs at this point.”
A frequent claim brought forth by administration officials is that air travel will be in chaos due to delays with cuts in TSA workers. 

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could not provide information to support repeated claims from the Obama Administration that the nation may expect 90-minute flight delays due to sequester spending reductions.

When asked for data to support this claim, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta responded, “I can’t tell you with precision that it would be 90 minutes every day.” (February 27, 2013 – House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Aviation Subcommittee Hearing).

So, why are we here? It is a common sense conclusion that President Obama has no intention of cutting any federal spending.  The irony is that the sequester cuts don't really cut much - it is mostly a slowing of spending growth.  You'd never know that to hear Democrats talk about the subject. It's a well planned and rehearsed sham.

This explains Mr. Obama's End-of-Days speeches the past week. Rationalists around Washington's professional budgeting community have been trying to explain that this apocalypse is entirely avoidable. The bureaucracies can move spending under many shells. But Mr. Obama really believes the stars will fall from the sky if spending declines.In Washington's standard model, it's all just politics. Mr. Obama is running an established strategy of driving public opinion to marginalize and ultimately defeat Republicans. Who could doubt it? But maybe it is also time to start taking Barack Obama at his word. Maybe it's time to come to grips with the fact that he sees the public economy of federal spending as the life force of the nation as no president ever has, not even Franklin Roosevelt.If after all these years no one in Washington can cut a deal with Barack Obama on spending, taxes and economic growth, maybe it's because he is in a place indeed occupied by no one else.
Other than the already released illegal immigrants, nothing will be felt immediately.  Most in Washington admit it will be weeks before much is noticeable.  

Complete dysfunction in your nation's capitol.  It's the new normal.  President Obama promised to fundamentally transform America.  Mission accomplished.

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