Saturday, March 2, 2013

Maybe It's the New Math...

I'm awake far too early on Saturday morning.  My oldest pet, Chewbacca, a typical dachshund, is in his twilight years.  I think he hurt his back again, because every once in a while he moves and lets out a yelp.  He woke me up.  So while I was sitting on the couch petting the little old man, I was thinking about Ed Schultz, President Obama, and the sky-is-falling crowd.

We've heard multiple claims over the last few weeks about how bad Sequestration is going to be.  I guess the President forgot about his interview with the Des Moines Register, back in October, where he said this:
So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place ... we're going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business. It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain.

That sounds like someone who is so very much upset with Sequestration, right?

So, in a remarkable about face, he's spent 3 weeks telling us that if the Republicans don't stop Sequestration, the sky is going to fall, meteors are going to kills us, the TSA will somehow become more incompetent than it already is, teachers will lose jobs, firefighters will lose jobs, and we will die in some terrorist attack because we can't protect our country.  Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.

The sequester is an 85 Billion dollar cut.  It WAS proposed by the White House during the stand off of the 2011 Debt Ceiling increase.  Congress agreed to raise the Debt Ceiling if there were budget cuts that would stop the insane spending.  This was the White House's grand bargain.  Sequestration, which by the way, hits the DoD the hardest, was the end game.  If the bipartisan commission on Debt Reduction couldn't agree, and Congress couldn't come up with the same amount of money in cuts, this automatic cutting would occur.  Obviously, the commission failed.  Congress has proposed two bills to replace Sequestration, both of which have never even been allowed a table vote in the Democrat Controlled Senate.  And so, the President thought he would win.  Those evil Republicans would NEVER cut defense.  Except they were adamant that they would.  So the "world is going to end" scenario was the only option left.  The Campaigner in Chief took to the airwaves and the road to tell everyone how bad the end of the world would be, if the plan HE proposed, and which he hyped to the Des Moines Register, took effect.

85 Billion Dollars cut from a budget that has left us with trillion dollar deficits and an astronomical 16.6 trillion dollar debt.  85 Billion Dollars in cuts to a 3.5 trillion dollar budget.

And now we come to Ed Schultz, of MSNBC fame, one of the President's personal water carriers.  On his radio show (yeah, he has one, I was surprised too), he told a caller who was in favor of Sequestration that this amounted to one third of the federal budget.  I am not sure where Mr. Schultz learned math, but when did 85 billion equal one third of 3.5 trillion?  It's 2 percent, give or take.  In this hard economy how many of us have had to cut 2 percent of our budget?  For the average American that's what?  A night out once a month?  

So, Democrats are basically telling us the world is going to end over the equivalent of a night out.  I know 85 Billion dollars is a lot of money, it's just not that much of a 3.5 trillion  dollar budget.  

We spent 1 million dollars on a mechanical squirrel last year.  We spent $100,000 on training for the zombie apocalypse.  We dumped billions of dollars into green energy companies that went bankrupt, because the average Joe can't afford solar panels.  Hollywood gets 3.5 billion dollars a year in federal, state and local tax breaks.  Federal tax breaks are also extended to the poor members of the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.  Line by line the federal budget, and I'm guessing any first year Economic student could find 85 Billion dollars that doesn't include releasing criminal illegal immigrants, refusing to deploy an aircraft carrier, or somehow results in the layoffs of 70,000 teachers.  Those things were done, because they would have the most effect on the citizenry of the U.S.  We would see them and think "bad".  They were not required by Sequestration.  They have to find the cuts, but it doesn't mandate down to the letter what has to be cut.

Let me help you out here.  Instead of zombie apocalypse training, pay a firefighter.  Instead of firing a teacher, layoff some paper pusher in Washington D.C.  Cut Head Start since it's been proven through various studies that preschool/kindergarten has no discernible benefit after the second grade.  Make Defense Contract bidding competitive, stop using it as election payoffs for Congressmen and Senators, and deploy the aircraft carrier.  See?  Not so hard.

Every Middle Class American has had to tighten their budget, most by more than 2 percent.  The government can do the same.  It will not end the world.  It will improve our fiscal outlook.  And everyone will live, unless of course, you prefer to become Greece 2.