Sequestration: Now you see it, now you don’t.
The devil is in the details or as Nancy Pelosi famously remarked prior to passage of obamacare, “You’ll know what’s in it after we pass it.” Smart girl that Nancy. The Balanced Budget and Emergency Control Act was passed in 2011 with bi-partisan support. The president signed it. Unlike nuclear war, no one ever thought the missile would be launched.
Well the bulk of the nation is just now getting to know what is contained in the Act, prompting the Administration to tone down the rhetoric surrounding the cuts that became effective on March 1; now claiming that it will be a “slow grind” over time, before we feel the real pinch. Janet Napolitano, over at Homeland Security, affectionately known as “Bis Sis’ in some quarters, not one to let a good crisis slip by has not gotten the WH memo; becoming the first to raise the specter of longer lines at airports as T and A Inspectors go about their business a bit more shorthanded after layoffs and cuts in overtime kick in. Personally , I can’t believe agents get overtime pay for groping air travelers, but that is another issue.
The Left, ill at ease over the first effort of its kind to reign in federal spending is naturally bent out of shape, while the right, knowing that the average American just sustained a larger hit to the wallet in January, is a bit more sanguine. But what is most shocking besides the back and forth accusal’ s and rebuttals is what Nancy referred to as “what’s in it.” I’ve read it. All 70 pages of it. It’s really easy reading for any anyone who has ever had to put together a household budget (Something Harry Reid has not done in the Senate for four years.) And the public has little to fear , at this point, the main reason for the Democrats change of tack. As George Will of the Washington Post put it, Obama was crying wolf when he should have been crying hamster.
After the first few pages of text, replete with methodology and definitions, the line item accounting begins by Department, Agency, Commission, etc. Column one shows the department budget, column 2 , the percentage reduction ( in the case of non-defense it is 5%) the third column shows the actual dollar reduction. I said there was something striking about the report and it’s this: You will not believe some of the “stuff” this country wastes money on. I will refrain from pointing fingers at any particular party. Each in their reign has contributed to bloat and waste beyond description.
Rather, here are a few examples. And I’m sure that depending on your political stripe you will find other expenditures more to your dis-liking, should you care to read it.
1,475,000,000 Food For Peace… How’s that workin’ out for us? Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery…Payments to Wool Manufacturers… My Favorite, Tobacco Trust Fund, established under the “Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004.” Payable in equal installments for 10 years, at 960,000,000 per year. And it goes on and on.
Two other items also struck me. The Department of the Interior looks like a Chapter of the Sierra Club and nearly every Department has an Office of Civil Right housed therein. I am all in favor of Civil Rights, but an Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Transportation?
And finally, a word about the man responsible for this whole mess. The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is budgeted less than $500,000 annually and you will be pleased to know, has miraculously survived sequestration cuts all together.
For the report just Google…OMB Sequestration Report, March 1, 2013.