American Elephants

President Obama to Congress: ” I Don’t Want to Hear About Spending Cuts.” by The Elephant's Child


Nancy Pelosi said “the cupboard is bare” — there’s no more that can be cut from the budget. Harry Reid, the disagreeable Majority Leader in the Senate wants to get rid of the sequester and restore the cuts that have already been made. There’s going to be no “Grand Bargain.”President Obama says he doesn’t want to hear about spending cuts.

“Don’t tell me we can afford to shut down the government, which costs our government billions of dollars, but we can’t afford to invest in our kids,” Obama said at a school in Brooklyn. “This obsession with cutting for the sake of cutting hasn’t helped our economy grow, it’s held us back,” Obama said.

“Cutting for the sake of cutting?” You will notice that the Democrats never speak of excess spending. They talk of investments, usually in “our kids.” Government waste? Never mentioned. I knew I had written about government waste several times, so I entered government waste in our own search bar, and I have apparently written about it at least 25 times, to go by the headlines.  From one of the most recent:

•Federal watchdogs have ideas for saving $67 billion a year, according to a report by a House committee. That’s without counting the sequester.

•So who are these “watchdogs”? They are the government’s Inspectors General who police the departments of the government for waste, fraud and abuse. They are the government’s auditors. They suggest ways to make government operation more efficient and to plug money leaks.

•Each year, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surveys the Inspector Generals and reports how many of the recommended steps have not been taken and how much taxpayer money has been wasted as a result.

•The 2013 Inspector General’s report was released last week, and said that 16,900 of the IG’s recommendations are yet to be implemented. Using the most conservative estimates, they put the lost savings at $67 billion a year. That’s almost 80% of the sequester cuts that are supposedly causing layoffs, furloughs and general misery throughout the government. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse as opposed to putting all those government employees on furlough? Such a choice.

•The inspectors general do a fine job of enumerating the waste — but getting it ended is something else again.

•There are 82 programs across 10 separate agencies endeavoring to improve teacher quality — something almost every local school district is trying to do as well. Are teachers improving?

•There are 47 job-training programs —45 of  which overlap. The federal government runs 80 programs for the “transportation disadvantaged.” No bus service?

•There’s an airport in Oklahoma that is kept open simply to collect federal funds. ($450,000) The airport receives one flight a month.

•The robot squirrel  project to see how they interact with rattlesnakes  ($325.000) has received considerable publicity.

•The government pays as much as $2 million annually in monthly service fees to maintain about 28,000 grant accounts that are empty and have expired. Because they have not officially been closed they still are charged service fees. Free money.

A post from 2011 had a list of 8 programs of blatant waste from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who noted that his findings would “make us all look like jackasses,” and contain enough actionable information to “keep Congress busy for a year.” That list is here. None of these wasteful programs has been eliminated. We’ve frequently had some brave soul in Congress who, perhaps having majored in math, or economics, or worked in the private sector, regularly comes up with ways to eliminate waste and government sprawl, but seldom does anyone think it important enough to actually get a bill passed eliminating them.

In February, I wrote about “Obama’s Big Government Vision for American Decline” in which I took Obama’s own words to demonstrate the problem. Plenty of material here to write your Congressman about. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi demonstrate the problem. Neither have ever done anything else but politics and government in long careers. Pelosi talks about how wonderful ObamaCare is going to be for the people. Harry Reid is stymied by the disastrous cuts of the sequester. They just want more money to spend. Politics is about winning, and winning is about buying votes, and politics is life.

And the people? They vote for whoever “cares about people like me.”

2 Comments so far
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“I Don’t Want to Hear About Spending Cuts.”

Well then, “President” Obama, I suggest you do what someone of your maturity and experience usually does in this situation: stick your fingers in your ears and yell “LALALALA I’MNOTLISTENINGTOYOU LALALALA” until the grownups leave the room. Then you can do what you usually do after that… go on TV, and make a speech about how Republicans won’t work with you.

Here’s a bit of trivia for you, EC: Among the many superlatives this administration is able to claim already (weakest recovery, worst job creation record, most impressive foreign policy foul-ups) the following can be added – this administration has fired, suspended, and outright eliminated more Inspectors-General positions than any administration in the past 100 years. I guess he really doesn’t want to hear about spending cuts. Or fraud. Or waste.


Comment by Lon Mead

Thank you. I didn’t know that. Not much publicized. I imagine the Inspector General at The EPA was one of the casualties.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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