American Elephants

Obama’s Spending is Scarier Than The Sequester. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama devised the “sequester” otherwise known as the impending across-the-board spending cuts. It was his very own idea. He reasoned that Republicans were so protective of defense spending that they would come to the bargaining table and let him have his way in return for backing off from the 3% cuts compelled by the sequester. Looks like his ideas are going to come back to bite him.

In the meantime, Obama gave a State of the Union Speech in which he said that he had lots of ideas to improve practically everything, and it wouldn’t cost a single dime. Some folks who are better at math put the cost at around $84 billion additional. Obama claimed that he had already saved $2 trillion, but that turned out to be because he was going to spend $8 trillion, but decided to spend only $6 trillion.  Counting spending not done—as saving, is better described as smoke and mirrors.

It has become clear that Obama has no intention of cutting back on spending. His agenda depends on giving stuff to people and “investing” taxpayer money in fun projects. He appointed the Simpson Bowles Commission, and ignored their hard work, which was serious bi-partisan suggestions. But then he appointed a big Jobs Council, and he ignored their hard work as well. It was all just theater to him. He is not interested in jobs that do not arise from his useless “green” energy fantasies, or the crumbling roads and bridges that never get fixed. These commissions have costs and hard work and long meetings, and to have so little respect for their work is really quite appalling.

Republicans have rightly concluded that the sequester is the main negotiating leverage they have and may be the only way to restrain spending. Now Democrats are beginning to get hysterical because the programs they cherish, from job training, education, to the EPA and energy subsidies and even Planned Parenthood are going to get chopped too.

None of the programs are starving for money. In Obama’s first two years, while private businesses and households were struggling with their budgets and cutting back — federal discretionary spending soared by 84%, with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets.

Since Republicans took the House in 2011, spending has slowed. Still from 2008 to 2013 federal discretionary spending has climbed from $933 billion to $1,062— an increase of 13.9%. Domestic programs grew by 16.6%, much faster than the 11.6% for national security. So glad we had so much money to “invest” in Solyndra and other green boondoggles.

Defense is more worrisome because of security concerns, not economic reasons. The sequester cuts the Pentagon budget by 7%, and the rest by only 3%,but this fits with Obama’s plan to raid the military to pay for social programs like the ever-expanding cost of ObamaCare.

We should have put the idea that all government spending is stimulus to jump-start the flagging economy to rest, dead and buried.  We’ve put that to the test over the last five years, and the result for all to see is the weakest recovery in 75 years and trillion-dollar deficits in each and every year, with ever more people out of work and out of hope.

President Obama speaks about the dangers of debts and deficits, but that too, is just theater. He has no intention of cutting back on spending. He has told us so. And he has told us that if Congress refuses him, he will find ways to go around Congress. The Executive Order will trump all. The most lawless administration in history isn’t going to be restrained by mere laws.

The Minority Youth Unemployment Act by The Elephant's Child


The artist is Henry Payne, the point is spot on.

Let’s Ban President’s Day by The Elephant's Child

There was a time when American schoolchildren celebrated two birthdays in February, Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, and  George Washington’s birthday on February 22. They cut log cabins out of construction paper for Abraham Lincoln, and usually an axe and a cherry tree for George Washington which left the kiddies with a rather warped vision of why the two birthdays were important.

So to clarify this historical misinformation, starting in 1971, we celebrated the birthday of the father of our country on the third Monday of February rather than his birthday, so that working people could have a three-day weekend, and since Lincoln’s birthday is also in February, added him to the weekend,  which is celebrated by a golf trip by our current president, a ski-vacation by his wife, and sales at most retail stores.

The cutting down the cherry tree story is apocryphal. George Washington did not want to be president after the long years of war, he wanted to retire to his farm, but the people wanted him, and he strove mightily to be worthy of their choice. He was very conscious that he was setting an example for future presidents, and conscious that the war just ended was a revolt against a monarchy and its overreaching taxes and limits on American liberty. Many were prepared to make Washington a king, but he resisted the pomp and  settled for plain, much to his credit. His restraint and moral stature did much to set the nation on its future path.

Abraham Lincoln’s statesmanship in saving the Union is the greatest challenge faced by a president. And it is a truly American story of a self-made man, indeed rising from a log cabin the highest office of the land and presiding over the bloodiest war in our history, emancipating the slaves and assassination. A tragic war and a tragic president whose intellect and character set an example for the ages and helped to reaffirm America as a free and self-governing nation.

We really need to set aside the two birthdays as a time to learn about our two greatest presidents. Let’s cancel “President’s Day.” There are things more important than three-day weekends.

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