Another financial crisis is the big news of the day. The Obama Administration appears to prefer governing by crises rather than leadership; they seem to like crises in order to push their agenda and can never “let a crisis go to waste.” The federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” will go into effect on March 1, 2013, and will bring cuts to federal programs – other than the entitlement programs. Sequestration brings automatic budget cuts of $1.2 trillion over a ten-year period, with half of the cuts coming from domestic (discretionary) programs and half from defense. The plan was passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
The idea for sequestration came from the Obama Administration – the White House - during the July 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. In fact, President Obama went so far as to say that he would veto any bills that tried to change the sequester. He obviously hoped that the Republicans would not hold him to it because he is now out “campaigning” against and telling everyone that the Republicans are the bad guys. He wants Congress to offset the sequestration budget cuts with more tax increases. I hope the Republicans do not cave on this one. I believe Congress must follow through on the cuts in order to prove to us that they are serious about balancing our budget in ten years.
The sequestration is not a perfect plan; a better plan would be more deliberative and thought out, one that would set priorities, trim entitlements, and cut spending in other ways. We would be so much better off if the administration would put forth a budget that the Senate would pass and that the House would approve. We need to cut federal spending now, have real program reforms, and have a balanced budget. The sequestration is a not a perfect way to cut spending, but it will cut spending. It will not, however, cause the problems that Obama is prophesying. If American citizens can trim their household budgets to pay the additional taxes put on us last month, the federal government can trim its budget also.
Patrick Louis Knudsen, the Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann, Senior Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, said that more tax increases are “simply unacceptable” and added “President Obama has already pocketed a $618 billion tax increase, so simply holding the line against taxes is a given.” He further explained, “Government spending and debt are both too high, and this threatens all Americans with a weaker economy and a lower standard of living. Every opportunity to reduce spending and put the government on the path to a balanced budget must be taken. Anything less is a path to defeat.”
The fact is that we need the cuts to come from programs that need to be reformed: the entitlement programs are the biggest reason why our deficit continues to grow. Sequestration does nothing to programs like Social Security, welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid, but it lops off a big chunk for national security. According to Heritage, “Trying to use defense cuts to balance the out-of control entitlement spending while we still face growing threats (Russia, China, Iran, and al-Qaeda affiliates) is a fool’s errand that will create a hollow military and do nothing to fix economic troubles.
“But if Congress does not replace the sequestration cuts with smarter cuts – like eliminating Obamacare funding or other ineffective programs – then the sequestration cuts will be our first step toward getting serious about federal spending.”
Charles Krauthammer, conservative political pundit, says that Obama is on the defensive now and Republicans should call his bluff. He believes that Obama and the Democrats calculated that the Republicans would not stand for such “draconian defense cuts” and would make further concessions. Their plan apparently “backfired” because the Republicans are offering “no concessions. Obama’s bluff is being called and he’s the desperate party. He abhors the domestic cuts. And as commander in chief he must worry about indiscriminate Pentagon cuts that his own defense secretary calls catastrophic.
“So Tuesday, Obama urgently called on Congress to head off the sequester with a short-term fix. But instead of offering an alternative $1.2 trillion in cuts, Obama demanded a `balanced approach,’ coupling any cuts with new tax increases.
“What should the Republicans do? Nothing.”
Krauthammer then proceeded to suggest three messages that the Republicans should give to the President. Message #1: “Republicans should explain that in the fiscal-cliff deal the president already got major tax hikes with no corresponding spending cuts. Now it is time for a nation $16 trillion in debt to cut spending. That’s balance.”
Message #2: The Republicans should reject any tax increases “and plainly explain: We are quite prepared to cut elsewhere. But we already raised taxes last month. If the president wants to avoid the sequester – as we do – he must offer a substitute set of cuts.
“Otherwise, Mr. President, there is nothing to discuss. Your sequester – Republicans need to reiterate that the sequester was the president’s idea in the first place – will go ahead.”
Message #3: The sequester is one thing, real tax reform quite another. The sequester is for cutting. The only question is whether it will be done automatically and indiscriminately – or whether the president will offer an alternative set of cuts.
“Then we can take up real tax reform….
“The country needs tax reform. But first it needs to rein in out-of-control spending. To succeed in doing that, Republicans must remain united under one demand: cuts with no taxes – or we will let the sequester go into effect.”
The federal government must cut spending or the nation will go bankrupt. I prefer a more disciplined way of cutting, but I can support the sequester if a better plan is not adopted first. I hope my fellow Americans will not fall for the most recent cries of our President “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Chicken Little was mistaken, and so is Obama – whether ignorantly or on purpose. When our nation is spending $4 trillion each year, $1.2 trillion over a period of ten years will not be disastrous. It may cause our federal government to cut some positions and trim some “fat,” but it will not destroy us. The constantly increasing debt will lead to destruction, just as ancient Rome and modern Greece were destroyed. We cannot continue down the path we are currently taking and must do something about it. I hope and pray the Republicans stay strong on this one and call Obama’s bluff!