Addressing the looming sequestration Tuesday, President Obama predicted all manner of pain and suffering — i.e., jobs lost, meat inspectors and air traffic controllers furloughed — should the initial $85 billion worth of cuts go into effect on March 1.
“Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day. It doesn’t make those distinctions.
“Emergency responders like the ones who are here today — their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded. Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.”
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta added to the gloom and doom, stating that 800,000 — 800,000! — civilian Pentagon employees would be furloughed.
Who does Mr. Obama think he is kidding with this attempt, unworthy of his station and intelligence, to peddle a routine we always hear when it comes to budget cuts? The Washington Monument will have to close, we have heard many times, if we touch the Interior Department’s budget. So we’re going to lose air traffic controllers, paramedics, criminal prosecutors and day care for children if we cut just one-forty-fifth of the 2013 federal budget? Really?
Far from being a “meat cleaver,” as the president called what happens on March 1 and thereafter if he and Congress cannot agree on federal spending, these cuts are barely a shave. Cutting $85 billion from a $3.8 trillion budget is hardly a sign that the eschaton approacheth. And neither are the rest of the automatic cuts. The president’s claim is laughable, and no one should think he believes it himself. He’s too smart for that.
No wonder Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had this to say on CNN: “It’s a pittance. I mean, it’s a slowdown in the rate of growth ... [I]s anybody not going to stand up and call his bluff on that ridiculousness?”