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March 8 2013

President Implements Sequester as Painfully as Possible

Emily Wismer

 

President Obama claims there is "no smart way" to implement the $85 billion in cuts called for in the sequester (which are actually around $50 billion, according to Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member Steve Moore).  The American people shouldn’t buy it.  In fact, they should be furious that the Administration is deliberately implementing the sequester in the stupidest way possible.  Instead of targeting wasteful spending—and everyone knows there is plenty of wasteful spending in our $3 trillion federal budget—and minimizing the number of Americans impacted by spending cuts, they are trying to make cuts hurt to prove a point.

Consider this:  According to the Washington Times, when a Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official requested the ability to spread out the sequester in his region to minimize the affects, he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts the President has warned congress would occur.

And that is just what the President is doing. In a recent fact sheet released by the White House, the President claimed the sequester would or could:

•    Put 10,000 teachers jobs at risk and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aids and staff.

•    Delay research and innovation for Americans with chronic diseases, while eliminating jobs for thousands of researchers.

•    Cause more food borne illness due to the elimination of 2,100 food manufacturing inspections.

•    Remove food stamps for 600,000 women and children.

•    Cut some long-term unemployment benefits by an average of $400.

•    Kick 100,000 formerly homeless people out of their current housing, potentially sending them back to the streets.

If any of these come to pass, it isn’t because of the sequester.  It’s because the Administration wants to terrify Americans into supporting ever growing government. 

The Administration knows no one wants to spend more time with the TSA during the summer travel season, yet it pretends that it has no choice but to cut back on TSA workers.  Yet there is plenty of other fat to cut from this agency.   For starters, the Administration is investing about $1,000 per employee to make sure our TSA agents are going to be dressed nicely and looking fantastic. How fantastic? A total of $50 million fantastic.  Most Americans would prefer agents not quite so well dressed and shorter lines.

The President announced tours of the White House are canceled, due to sequester cuts. But according to Paul Gregory's "back of the envelope" calculations, the entirety of savings from eliminating White House tours equates to about two hours of operating Air Force One. 

Contrary to the President’s partisan politics attack America’s low-income families, it is not at all difficult to find $85 billion in spending cuts. Instead of the drastic measures the President has announced, White House could:

•   Eliminate some of the 1,362 duplicative programs the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has identified. According to Senator Coburn, these programs waste a whopping $364.5 billion per year.

•   Eliminate military spending that has nothing to do with defense, like cooking shows, studies of how fish view democracy, nonmilitary research and development, duplicative education efforts, alternative energy research, and domestic grocery stores run by the Pentagon, saving at least $69.7 billion over ten years.

•   Let go the White House's 3 calligraphers who make $86,000-97,000 salary per year.

•   Eliminate the $200 million per year spent to help U.S. agricultural trade associations and cooperatives market products in foreign markets, including through a reality TV show in India.

•   Eliminate the military’s wasteful spending on to promote biofuels and bring about their commercialization. On one project, the Navy purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuels at $27 per gallon for a total cost of $12 million.

•   Despite the threat of furloughs, in the first business day following sequestration, 606 new federal jobs posted on www.usajobs.com. According to Senator Coburn, the average new hire equates to a week of furlough for 52 federal workers. The jobs include social media specialists, public affairs specialists, and 23 recreation related hires.

No, in spite of the Administration’s doomsday predictions about the sequester, the sky doesn’t have to fall as a result of sequester, if it does it’s because the Administration decided to pull it down, and the public should know who to hold responsible.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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