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Obama Fights Having Power Over Sequester Cuts

From the New York Times:

G.O.P. Drafts Plan to Give Obama Discretion on Cuts

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and MICHAEL D. SHEAR | February 25, 2013

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans are preparing to counter increasingly dire warnings from President Obama about the impact of automatic budget cuts with a plan to give the administration more flexibility in instituting $85 billion in cuts, a proposal they say could protect the most vital programs while shifting more of the political fallout to the White House.

Actually, as the chief executive, Obama already has this power. Which is why Congressional ‘earmarks’ are so popular. Without them, the President has very wide latitude about where the money Congress allocates gets spent.

The plan is vigorously opposed by the administration, which said Monday that it would do little to soften the blow to military and domestic programs…

Which is also very telling. Naturally, Obama doesn’t want to be revealed as the man behind the curtain who will be ultimately responsible for whatever terrible consequences come from reducing our growth in spending by 1%.

Cuts that he will try to make as painful as possible, so that no one ever suggests making any reductions to government spending ever again.

Seeking to shift responsibility for the cuts to Mr. Obama and to defang attacks by the White House, Republicans were expected to unveil legislation on Tuesday that they said would mitigate some of the biggest concerns. The measure would let agencies and departments cull programs that were long ago proved to be ineffective, and would make sure critical federal functions like air traffic control and meat inspection were spared.

But White House budget officials are leery. If Congress grants the White House the authority to protect air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and national parks, the administration’s carefully devised high-pressure campaign that has been mounting for weeks could deflate.

Moreover, the White House would take on the responsibility of deciding which programs to protect and which to expose — and the political consequences that go with that…

And we can’t have Obama ever take responsibility. After all, he is just a figure head. Our ‘celebrity in chief.’ ‘King Kardashian.’

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, dismissed the Republican plan, saying that no amount of flexibility could mitigate the damage of the automatic cuts. He said such changes could help only “on the margins.” White House officials fear that the legislation would give lawmakers the false sense that they had voted to take the sting out of cuts that will hurt no matter what flexibility the administration has…

Once again, these ‘cuts’ are just one penny on the dollar. And they are not even cuts, but just a reduction in the rate of increase. In fact, the federal government will still spend a lot more money in 2013 than we did in 2012, even after adjusting for inflation.

Meanwhile, as usual, Obama is talking out of the other side of his mouth in public

From the Politico:

Obama: ‘We’ve got to do some governing’

By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | February 25, 2013

President Obama urged compromise Monday as he pushed congressional Republicans to reach an agreement to avoid big spending cuts due to take effect at the end of the week.

"There are always going to be some areas where we have genuine disagreement … but there are more areas where we can do a lot more cooperating than we have seen in the past couple years," Obama told a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House.

"At some point, we’ve got to do some governing. And, certainly, we can’t keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis."

And the governors didn’t bust out laughing at either of these two howlers? Obama does not ever govern.

All he does is manufacture crisis after crisis, and try to get others to govern for him. So they get the blame while his policies destroy the county.

Turning to sequestration, Obama turned his appeal to Republicans, who the administration wants to see agree to revenue-raising measures.

"These cuts do not have to happen," he said. "Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little bit of compromise." …

Of course, the Republicans have compromised. They gave Obama his tax increases. They have also offered a steady stream of alternatives to the sequester. All of which he has ignored.

Obama made his sequester. Make him lie in it.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Obama Fights Having Power Over Sequester Cuts”

  1. Relax! The Sequester is No Big Deal.

    According to “The Hill”, There are 800k civilian workers furloughed, technically a layoff; but really just a forced unpaid vacation of 1 day a week. And it is not at the Pentagon, 80% are outside Washington.

    Not to worry, according to my friends who work for the DoD, here is the bottom line: each non-critical civilian employee will have to take off one day a week until the end of the federal fiscal year September 30th starting March 1st if sequestration takes place. Notices have already been sent out but less than 14 days in advance instead of the promised 30 days. This will save the government 20% of their salary and benefits.

    The federal employees are predictably outraged. No promised 30 day warning. They are not letting employees use their accumulated leave to cover those furloughed days. Morale is so low that they are thinking about canceling Morale Day. A big morale boosting party paid for by the taxpayer.

    It is hard to sympathize, as I am out here dealing with the private sector. Over the past several years I have had friends whose salaries have been reduced as much as 50%. Since real estate market went but, I have had to scrap by substitute teaching and working for a company that managed foreclosures for banks. (They pay next to nothing).

    In candid conversations, they have complained about doing not real work. That is work that actually benefits the country. According to them their day is filled crap that is both frustrating and irrelevant to any real accomplishment.

    Washington – an epithet among “the worker bees” (Federal Employees that really work) – has the uncanny ability to make the work fit any budget. George told me about a program that got full funding under Obama. Of course it was designed by “permanent government employees” – as opposed to contract or temporary employees. At first one employee and an assistant were able to handle 300 cases a month. When they looked at the number of eligible applicants, they were only going to need only about 10 employees to handle the case load. This was not acceptable. They changed procedures making them more complicated and more labor intensive. The director got more than 70 new subordinates making his pay grade secure.

    George even waxed poetic on how it was like a huge ever expanding amoeba acquiring new employees with new programs, then never cutting back even when the programs were cut. They just expand the available work often to the aggravation of the applicant.

    There are other time wasters and inefficiencies. They fill out their time sheets by hand. Yes, they sign in in the time book. They are not allowed to look at the time sheets of others in the same book. Their time has to be entered into a poorly designed database at the end of the period. Each regional office has its own programmers design its timekeeping system. The data from this data base must be moved to another database by the time sheet keeper, and then verified by the employee before checks are written. I believe there is a module for Quicken that could handle all this for less than $99. But having an IT department staffed by 3rd rate colleges (An MIT degree counts the same as a podunk U degree in federal resumes) is prestige and jobs for your friends.

    Every politically correct course you could ever imagine is required yearly. Each course is poorly designed and just getting access can take hours. Such courses as “Sexual harassment” (No compliments ever!), “Rape prevention” (Ladies don’t let you drunk girlfriends go home with a guy she met in the bar and guys don’t let your friends take home drunk women), “Human Trafficking” (If you see it, tell your superior.) “Suicide prevention”, (If you see a fellow worker looking depressed, ask him, if he is feeling depressed.) and “Terrorist Recognition” (Call authorities).

    The biggest time waster is file audits. First these files are generally about 2” thick some up to 6” thick. Every file must be checked and make sure every document is in the file and in its correct order. Even documents that are no longer relevant like the FedEx label after the applicant has returned a signed receipt. The auditor has to go to the FedEx site and download the tracking information. A total waste of time. The files then go sit in a warehouse somewhere to be destroyed in 6 year or so.

    Even with all this make work, during the last federal salary freeze; federal workers got their automatic in grade salary increases. Though in the federal workplace “salary” is a misnomer, they are really hourly workers with generous overtime when it could be approved. Last September and October they were trying to pump every dime they could into the economy to make the numbers better possibly for Obama’s re-election. All overtime was approved.

    So, everybody relax. We will be just fine after the Sequester. Remember it only applies to non-essential personnel. There may be some files sitting in warehouse somewhere that are not perfect. The worker bees may be busier. And if it is like the Clinton/Gingrich furlough, my friends will get paid for their furloughed days when a resolution is reached.

    • captstubby

      good job.
      makes me want to remove the “have you hugged a federal employee today?”
      bumper sticker of my car.

    • The filthy secret is that much worse cuts – and major collapse – will come soon if we DON’T make voluntary cuts now. Our creditors overseas aren’t going to loan us money indefinitely, and the Fed can’t print 87 billion a month forever. We’ll be reduced to penury at some future date, not too far off.

      Why the GOP isn’t talking about this points to their level of corruption. When Boehner AGREES with Obummer that the Sequester is Armageddon, he just feeds the delusion. The sequester is only a 2% reduction in the INCREASING RATE of spending.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Lawyers.

      They’re all lawyers.

      They eat as lawyers, drink as lawyers and live as lawyers.

      The one thing about lawyers that separates them from the rest of society is that they really DO think they are better than anyone else.

      But remember this: Every bad idea and plan was the invention of LAWYERS.




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