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Sequester Sleight-of-Hand

By Aaron Rainwater

Feb 21, 2013
Categories: Politics

On March 1st,  $85 billion in sequester federal budget cuts are scheduled to "kick in" and President Obama is trying as hard as ever to paint the most catastrophic picture possible of the consequences,  never mind the fact that Obama proposed this sequestration in 2011.

Obama claims “border patrol agencies will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed, federal prosecutors will have to close cases and lest suspects go … [there will be] more delays at airports across the country, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care.”

But is any part of that even true?

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doubts Obama will let this happen, pointing out that “the president won’t cut funds to first responders when just last year Washington handed out an estimated $115 billion in payments to individuals who weren’t even eligible to receive them, or at a time when eleven different government agencies are funding 90 different green energy programs.” With these being just of few of many examples of incredible waste, it's hard to argue that there isn't money available to fund critical government services.

But it gets worse! Not only is there money that could be spent more efficiently, but thanks to built-in increases in both discretionary and nondiscretionary spending, even with the planned sequestration, the national debt will still grow by between $7 trillion and $9 trillion in the next decade—and  that's under the rosy assumption that our benevolent rulers don't create even more spending mammoths like Obamacare, Medicare Part D, or  another full-blown war.

You might be asking, "How can the debt get that much bigger? I thought spending was being cut?" If so, you're probably better at math than D.C.'s big spenders. The $85 billion in “cuts” isn't actually a cut at all. It's a slowdown in projected spending.

Only in Washington, D.C. could the idea of slowing the rate of spending growth by an amount that would fund our current government for only one week be decried as a harbinger of criminals being set loose on the streets, planes falling out of the sky, education falling apart, and the sick being left untreated—many of which occur right now thanks to the failures of government.

 

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