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Sequester Sequester Oh My!

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Photo courtesy of gregw66/Flickr

The following article was written by Carl Graham of the Montana Policy Institute:

I could have saved a lot of time and gotten up later if I had this George Will column before my radio show this morning. It eloquently lays waste to the sequester hysteria about people dying in the streets and life on this earth as we know it ending because the federal budget will be cut by $85 billion out of $3.6 trillion this year and $1.2 trillion out of $46 trillion over the next ten years, an amount of spending that is as unfathomable as it is unsustainable.

The Washington Post has some interactive graphs and charts showing dollar impacts across the states and the Pew Center has some nice visualizations if you want real data, but what’s coming out of the White House takes the cake. It’s report, Impact of March 1st Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs, and Economic Security looks like something out of the old Soviet Union, a pure propaganda piece using cherry-picked facts and worst-case scenarios to present an agenda-driven scare piece.

I won’t go line by line because I’ve got better things to do than dissect a fictional frog, but here’s the bottom line: If the cuts will really result in fewer teachers, less spending on police and security, fewer vaccinations, increased violence against women, and all of the other catastrophic outcomes despite spending levels that are still well above even those of just a few years ago, then the administration has pretty messed up priorities.

They prefer to spend hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing solar panels and windmills while children go hungry, untaught and unvaccinated? The President spends nearly $1 million dollars to go golfing with Tiger Woods but he’s going to put our lives in jeopardy over local police funding? It seems that they’re taking the most important, and in many cases even constitutionally valid, federal programs and making them the last priority by cutting them first. Couldn’t they at least cancel a couple of GSA Las Vegas conventions and provide a few more student loans? Oh the humanity!

Of course this isn’t the case and in fact is a time-worn method called the Washington Monument strategy. They hide and protect the waste and abuse while putting out the hew and cry that even a dollar less than what they currently spend will cause plagues, locusts, and, dare I say, global warming.

Cities do it all the time by saying they’ll cut police and pothole repairs while they attend conferences out of state and keep the local pool open. It’s a scare tactic and nothing more than blatant political pandering. It doesn’t give you much credit for common sense, either. Across the board cuts are the worst possible way to cut spending. But if it’s the only way then it’s better than nothing.

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