American Elephants

Obama’s Scandals Mount. Sssh! Don’t Tell the People! by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2011, when Democrats needed the federal debt ceiling raised, President Barack Obama’s top deputies believed the prospect of massive defense cuts wold compel Republicans to agree to a deficit-cutting grand bargain. Then OMB Director Jack Lew, White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors pitched the idea to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)After several rounds of bargaining, Republicans accepted the deal, and the federal debt ceiling was raised — staving off a potential financial crisis.

It was called sequestration, automatic budget cuts would reduce federal spending by roughly $1 trillion over the next decade, with half the savings taken from national security programs. The problem was finding, or rather not finding budget cuts to which the president would agree. All agreed that sequestration which meant all accounts are reduced by an equal amount with no strategy.

In his new book The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward said the present crisis was not the product of ineptitude or misplaced priorities, it was caused by the conscious decisions of political leaders who have put their election priorities ahead of their duty to protect and provide national security.

President Obama has no interest in cutting back on spending, but he doesn’t mind slashing defense spending specifically. He wants tax hikes, specifically on “the rich.” One of Obama’s main reelection strategies is class envy, and he has told us a number of times that he believes in income redistribution.

In spite of attacks on some 20 of our embassies; the death of our ambassador to Libya and four other Americans; the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan with a death toll that has reached 2,000;  the devastating Camp Bastion attack; Iran edging closer to a bomb; China threatening Japan in the South China Sea; Egypt threatening Israel; the Defense Department saying to cuts would be devastating; Obama is still playing politics.

As if he doesn’t have enough disastrous scandals on his plate: lying to the American people about Benghazi, our Ambassador and four others killed through State Department ineptitude and lax security; new revelations and new murders in the Fast and Furious debacle; and Camp Bastion. Any one of which should be enough to bring down a presidency.

The defense readiness of the free world relies on America. The cuts are too big and have no rationale. At risk are nearly $500 billion in cuts from the defense portion of sequestration. 43 percent of the cuts would come from defense. The cuts to Defense alone are scandalous. They are projecting weakness to our allies and our enemies. But this is the president who has passed word to Mr. Putin that he can be “more flexible after the election.”

Here’s the big one: The White House has moved to prevent defense and other government contractors from issuing mass layoff notices in anticipation of sequestration, notices which they must, according to law, send to workers deemed reasonably be likely to lose their jobs sixty days before they will be let go. The White House wants defense contractors to keep the layoffs secret and the contracting agencies would cover any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could follow. The spending cuts would take effect January 2, 2013 — $109 billion.

So the Office of Management and Budget went a step further in guidance issued late Friday afternoon. If an agency terminates or modifies a contract, and the contractor must close a plant or lay off workers en masse, the company could treat employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability, attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs as allowable costs to be covered by the contracting agency—so long as the contractor has followed a course of action consistent with the Labor Department’s guidance. The legal fees would be covered regardless of the outcome of the litigation, according to the OMB guidance issued by Daniel Werfel, controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management, and Joseph Jordan, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy.

Democrats have said — there’s no need to needlessly alarm hundreds of thousands of workers. But it’s quite clear that the Obama administration doesn’t want the public to know about defense orders dropping by 40%, and all those layoffs until after the election. The White House not only wants to cover up the massive job losses and slashed defense orders, but they want taxpayers to pay for the cover-up.

This article has a couple of dandy graphs that explain what sequestration means. Entitlement spending is the driver of rampant increase in spending, but the administration is unwilling to address that. In 1965 entitlements consumed about 2.5% of the budget. By 2045 entitlements, if nothing serious is done, and done soon, entitlements will consume over 18% of the entire economy. The federal government would spend every dollar it brings in on entitlements, leaving no room for even interest on the debt.


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