AJOC EDITORIAL: Sequester an overdue dose of reality for DC spendaholics

Two days after this issue of the Journal went to press, the much ballyhooed “sequester” was set to take effect March 1 with an automatic $44 billion in federal spending cuts over the rest of the fiscal year split equally between the Defense Department budget and domestic spending.

Naturally, the prospect of cutting 12½ days of deficit borrowing has given our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., an excuse to do what they do best: full-blown panic mongering.

Unlike the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases or the every-few-months debt ceiling extensions, both sides of this issue had very real reasons for not wanting to see a deal get done.

Fiscal hawks see this as a small, albeit crude, first step toward the long overdue process of getting our deficit and debt under control before it engulfs even more of our economy.

President Barack Obama, who rarely conducts a press event anymore without surrounding himself with firefighters or children or people in hard hats, is eager to use the sequester as yet another political cudgel with which to bash Republicans upon their thick noggins.

Nevermind that the idea of the sequester originated in his White House, or that Obama vowed in November 2011 to veto any attempt to reverse the automatic spending cuts put in place when the Super Dooper Debt Committee created in the August 2011 debt deal failed — shockingly! — to agree on a plan to make spending cuts in something other than across-the-board fashion.

To hear Obama tell it now — and during last fall’s debates with Mitt Romney — the sequester was a GOP plan and he has no idea how it came into being despite the fact he signed the bill.

We all know nobody in Congress reads legislation before they vote for it, there’s no reason to expect our absentee president to know what he is signing either.

This president has spent more time on his golf game — 115 rounds give or take — than he has addressing our country’s coming fiscal disaster. Add it up, and at about five hours per round, it amounts to 72 working days, or about 14 working weeks, worth of golf in just more than four years.

Remember when the press pretended to care what presidents did with their spare time? Ah, those were the good ol’ days of speaking truth to power.

Now the media breathlessly report on Obama hanging out with Tiger Woods and golf coach Butch Harmon or Michelle Obama presenting at the Oscars with the critical eye of Teen Beat magazine.

No one has seemed to notice that Obama rolls into his home office no earlier than 9:30 a.m. according to the official White House schedule, or that during February he received his daily briefing only four times before 10 a.m. Most employees who show up that late every day would get fired, not rehired.

Well, America rehired him.

The sequester is a dose of reality for that decision, as if skyrocketing gas prices weren’t enough, or the persistent unemployment of 8 percent that would be well into the double digits if so many millions of Americans hadn’t completely dropped out of the workforce over the last four years of Hope’n’change.

Gas prices — that’s another issue the media used to care about when they could accuse George Bush and Dick Cheney of profiting from it.

When rising prices are caused by inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve that are enabling Obama’s deficit spending and concentrating wealth among those who can access the overnight borrowing window, the press has gotten a lot less curious about the root cause of pain at the pump in the absence of any discernable economic growth.

There is no leadership in D.C., and it’s about time some product of their never-ending trifling blew up in their faces. As far as that goes, leadership is not sending out press releases blasting others for lack of leadership.

Leadership would be walking into Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office and asking him why the hell the Democrats in the Senate haven’t passed a budget in four years, then going on the floor and saying the same.

Regular order is a distant memory under the most feckless Senate leader in modern history, but only in alternate political universe could we hope to see that press release from our state’s Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Begich has sponsored several bills to address issues like tax reform and Social Security, so his Feb. 24 statement criticizing nameless “Republican and Democrat leaders” misses the mark. The problem in Congress is Reid. There are no Republicans blocking Begich’s bills from being brought to the floor.

There are no Republicans blocking a sequester alternative in the Senate, because the Senate Democrats led by Reid haven’t proposed one and neither has Obama.

This is how Obama and Reid have run Washington ever since they lost the House in 2010. Manufacture a crisis, do nothing, blame Republicans. Lather, rinse, repeat, and count on the media to soap their backs and carry the water.

Reid isn’t going to bring a bipartisan piece of legislation sponsored by Begich or any other reasonable Democrat to the floor, because it’s far more advantageous to preserve a political weapon than to take an issue off the table.

That’s how Reid and Obama approach every situation and it has truly grown wearisome.

Then again, most Americans might not notice anything as a result of the sequester. That would be the worst outcome for the tax-and-spenders who are consolidating our present and future generations’ wealth into D.C. and a few surrounding counties that now top Silicon Valley in per capita income.

What if the economy doesn’t crash because a measly 1 percent of federal spending is cut? The most dangerous thing for Obama acolytes and the D.C. parasites is if the American public figures out the government can get by with less.

That’s the reality too many Americans have already been living for the last four years.

Andrew Jensen can be reached at [email protected].

02/28/2013 - 7:30am