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Where Is the Sequester Disaster?

Bill Neinast


Not a single plane fell from the sky.  No elevators stopped forever between floors.    Ninety-nine percent of the world’s population is still alive.  None of the ground water under Washington County has been sold and siphoned off to metropolitan areas.  Flu did not devastate the country.  Finally, as of this writing, the federal government is still alive and well.

This is an abbreviated list of catastrophes recently predicted that never occurred.  Remember that at one second past midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, airplanes, elevators, and anything dependent on computers would crash. When that occurred, very few people would be effected because most of the world would have succumbed to AIDS.

Although AIDS is a devastating disease, the world’s medical community rose to the occasion.  Through the development of medicines and education, at least in developed countries, the disease is now just another serious but controllable condition like cancer and other deadly diseases.

By now, according to one scenario, Washington County would have been drained dry by “Water Barons.” There was nothing to fear, however, because another bureaucracy would be created to challenge those Barons.  You know, those friendly guys who say, “Hi!, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

At the crucial time back then, the voters were smart enough to say, “No thanks.  We have too many bureaucrats already.”  Everyone, including those in panic mode over this, are still drinking, cooking, showering, and watering their gardens from the same local sources as before.

Although the flu was more widespread than normal in the last few months, the extraordinarily long funeral lines did not develop.  Now the disease is not even making the evening news.

The most ridiculous of all these bugaboos is the one kept alive and hyped by President Obama.  On his campaign stops, and that is what they were, he was scaring his staged audiences with predictions of a virtual governmental slow down or shut down if the Republicans did not compromise and give him more “revenue enhancements.”

As the leader of the tax and spend party, he is the one who would not compromise.  He refused to come off his, “If we do not make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, I will not approve any budget cuts.”

If that failure to come off his demand for more taxes is compromising, why is the Republican failure to abandon its insistence on attacking the problems with budget reductions a refusal to compromise?

In any event, as of this writing, the sequester has been in effect for more than 48 hours and the federal government is still alive and well.  Actually, the left leaning press is even beginning to question the President’s prediction of disaster.

The Washington Post is now assigning its caricatures of Pinocchio with a nose that gets longer with each lie to the President’s and cabinet members’ tales of dire consequences if the sequester takes effect.

The Secretary of Education got four Pinocchios for his claim that 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs.  The President got two Pinocchios for his claim that janitors and security personnel in the capitol building would get pay cuts.  The Architect for the Capitol and the Sergeant at Arms who supervise those employees also denied this claim by the President.

Senator John Cornyn recently commented on the President’s scare tactics. 

He stated, “To put this in perspective, let’s look at what a 2.4 percent cut to a family budget would look like. To reduce their spending by 2.4 percent, the average Texas family would need to: run cars on 94.7 gallons of gasoline a month instead of 97 gallons per month; find $6 in savings from a $250 monthly grocery budget; look for ways to conserve $4.20 from a $175 monthly utilities bill; all working Americans had to figure out how to make ends meet with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month when the payroll tax expired. How is it that Washington can’t do the same?”

So here’s the perspective.

The sequester will cut $85 billion from a $3.8 trillion budget.  Relatively speaking, if this sentence represents the budget, the cut is equivalent to the period at the end.

The effect of the cuts can be ameliorated by moving funds among line items in each department’s budget.  Some claim that the President already has authority to make those moves and the Congress is willing to give him specific authority to do so.

He refuses to do so, however, because that would weaken his arguments of impending doom and blame for the Republicans when the economy goes South this year.

Rising gas prices and the pay cuts that kicked in for all American workers on Jan. 1 when the reduction of payroll taxes expired will be major factors in the slip back into recession. 

You will never hear that from the White House.  Everything coming from that source will be that any down turn is due solely to the Republicans’ insistence on spending cuts only and no new taxes.

All of this over a 2.5% cut in a budget that has grown by 17% in the last five years.

The sky did not fall on Henny Penny’s head.  All the feared catastrophes mentioned above fizzled.  A good bet, therefore, is that the feared “devastating” effect on the bloated federal government will meet the same fate.