Again America is pushed to the edge of uncertainty about a hyped impending disaster. This time it is the sequester, or automatic across the board federal spending cuts. Just like the fiscal cliff showdown at the end of December, we are put in these situations because we have a president who prefers to campaign than to actually lead.
Despite having opportunities for real bi-partisan solutions to the sequester, such as taking up the two bills passed by the GOP led House months ago for discussion, the President and the Senate Majority leader Harry Reid have refused to take them up for debate, and then at last minute try to blame the GOP for taking America to the brink. The president had plenty of time to show leadership and get this process moving, but he was campaigning. See: The President is Raging Against a Budget Crisis he Created- WSJ
The Senate has not passed or proposed a budget in almost 1400 days as required by the Constitution and the President has not proposed one this year as required. That is a specific failure of leadership and is the fault of no one else. Now the bills passed by the House have expired because the Democrats did not act to do their jobs before the new Congress started this year. They own the disfunction in Washington, no matter how they or their friends in the media want you to think otherwise.
The President has made statements to give the impression that he has tried to reach out to members of Congress to discuss these issues. However, because a few reporters have asked real questions, it has been revealed that he has not spoken to key leaders on these subjects in awhile and it some cases not at all. He has been embrassed into trying to make quick meetings with congressional leaders such as one on the day sequestration began.
This only further illustrates that President Obama is on a perpetual campaign to regain Democrat control of the House in 2014. He uses deadlines like the sequester and fiscal cliff for the political purpose of demonizing the GOP as obstructionists with the backing of a compliant media. This campaign attic and failure of leadership is at the expense of the country’s best interests. If President Obama really cared about Americans and the alleged dire consequences he is predicting due to the sequester, he would have made working out a solution months ago a priority. But he was campaigning, and still is.
Not only was the sequester the President’s idea, he signed it into law in 2011 and then threatened to veto any attempts to stop the cuts. Most of the cuts fall on national defense. Now he has held campaign style events to scare Americans of various the impending disasters due to these cuts. Some of his allegations are deliberately false such as when he said that firefighters would be laid off because of the sequester, and when Education Secretary said that letters are already in the mail to lay off teachers.
A major misconception of the sequester is that these are real cuts. They are actually a reduction of about 2.4% in the rate of increase of spending. After the sequester this year’s fiscal federal budget ($3.553 trillion) is still higher than last years ($3.538 trillion). The GOP has proposed giving departments flexibility in deciding which areas of their respective areas to cut, and the White House has refused to take action in that regard.
This is not the first time a president had to deal with a sequester or serious spending cuts with a divided congress. There was a sequester in the 80s under President Reagan and significant spending reforms in the 90s under President Clinton, but these presidents led to come to meaningful conclusions. See ‘Obama and the Sequester Scare’ by Phil Gramn who co-sponsored the Gramn-Rudman sequester in the 80s.
Absent from these discussions about sequester and spending cuts is the conversation about how tax payers’ money should actually be spent effectively. It is still possible to cut spending if this money is spent efficiently and productively to avoid waste, and still full fill necessary obligations, but that would require a meaningful budget and leadership. Any mention of cuts is normally opposed by Democrats saying that some vital service will now be taken away and people will suffer.
In addition there is little discussion about growth policies, the real way to increase revenues, not through tax increases. What is President Obama’s growth policies? It seems to be more taxes and more federal control of capital. How has that been working out? The same way like high tax and spend cities like Detroit and states like Illinois or California
The president promised ‘Hope and Change’ in 2008 and ‘Forward’ in 2012. Those are just the slogan of a campaigner, not a leader who should actually lead people of different parties and persuasions in getting the best ideas to solve issues.