American Elephants

Inflicting Maximum Pain, Just to Prove a Point by The Elephant's Child


The brilliant Thomas Sowell is always quotable, but today’s comments are particularly apt:

Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?

The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.

The example was deliberately extreme as an illustration. But, in the real world, the same general pattern can be seen in local, state and national government responses to budget cuts.

In this state they threaten to close the parks, at least if it is  summer. The president is following the usual playbook, in a little too obvious a way. He has painted himself into a corner, and is hampered by a complete inability to be at fault, apologize, accept blame, admit error, confess to wrongdoing or even consider the concept that he may, just possibly,  have been wrong.

He not only keeps rewriting the history of how he got into the sequester, but he is seeing to it that the most disrupting and annoying things that were claimed as what would happen if the Republicans didn’t give in and raise taxes so he could continue his addictive, out-of-control spending.

Raising taxes is far more damaging to an economy than reducing spending.

ObamaCare is an economic bomb with long-lasting effects. This $900 billion entitlement creation has made the future unfunded liabilities of the entitlements much worse. President Obama has removed the entitlements completely from any bipartisan discussion. In last year’s Obama budget, entitlement programs nearly double over the next 12 years. According to the House Budget Committee the budget saves $419 billion over a decade. Mostly from cutting payment to Medicare providers.

John Boehner has said that nearly every entitlement reform Republicans proposed was rejected by the White House, unless Republicans agreed to raise taxes. In the meantime he still has not managed to come up with his proposed 2013 budget as required by law.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced enough slowdowns in customs and immigration at major airports to assure that lines are long and people are annoyed.

Four Navy air wings have been grounded, and in addition two air wings are dropping to a “tactical hard deck” and basic flight training for pilot and flight officer trainees will halt in March. The deployment of the carrier Truman has been cancelled. Seven other ships have had their upcoming deployment cancelled, the hospital ship Comfort will not conduct its “Continuing Promise 2013” humanitarian mission to Central and South America.

The Department of Defense will furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world, and they will be shutting 250 commissaries around the world, which will affect the troops who depend on the stores for basic necessities.

That’s just a few agencies. Obama will see to it that what is cut is not the waste and fraud that has been enumerated so often, but attempt to demonstrate Republican non-cooperation by making sure that any cuts are visible and inflict the maximum inconvenience. Just to prove that saving money is not Obama’s concern, the U.S. suddenly found $250 million to spare for Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood control in immediate foreign aid termed “economic assistance.” This comes after $450 million in “emergency aid” last year including dozens of F-16s for the new president who belongs to an organization dedicated to “civilizational jihad.”

Remember this is simply the task of managing 2% in automatic spending cuts. Could you cut 2% out of your family’s budget over a year without cutting your children’s life-saving medicines? Cutting out one daily latte each workday would do it. And with all apologies to my local Starbucks, I could manage that just fine. Goodness, we are told that if Obama had just given up his golf lesson last weekend it would have saved 341 jobs.


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