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Let’s Go Sequestering!

Is there a silver lining in allowing the sequester to go forward?

by
Rick Moran

Bio

February 22, 2013 - 3:08 pm
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That isn’t likely to work this time. And, as Cooper says, perhaps it is just as well:

At a time when Americans are convinced that foreign aid is a significant part or the budget—the median answer in one survey in 2010 was 25 percent of the budget—it’ll be a good object lesson for people to see that government means planes landing safely, meat being inspected, Yellowstone being kept open. Yes, most of what the government does is write checks and defend us, “an insurance company with an Army,” so the saying goes. But it does a lot more.

This civics lesson may be beneficial for several reasons. Americans talk a good “small government” game, but when faced with losing a pet program or a subsidy, they are just as likely to scream bloody murder. If we are ever to live within our means, we must collectively decide what it is we want government to do, and then be willing to cough up the tax money to get it done. No more allowing politicians to bestow goodies on us that we never asked for, and may not even need. A revolution in attitude toward government is needed, and the sequester has the potential to start a national conversation about the role of government in society and the limits that must be placed on federal power if we are to save ourselves from a debt Armageddon.

This is not to demonize government. It certainly doesn’t mean we should love it either. You don’t have to love government to want to make it work efficiently, prudently — conservatively. Nor should one have to hate the government in order to restrain it.

Recognizing that the federal government is out of control, that it is taking on functions for which it was never intended to perform and cannot competently manage does not make one an anti-government zealot. That is a political attack, and not a rational argument. Wanting to place limits on where government can intrude in our lives does not mean that you hate the poor, or the children, or anyone else. If the sequester does nothing else, it may reveal in stark relief government functions that truly are necessary and those that might not be.

And wouldn’t that be a revelation to both liberals and conservatives.

You don’t have to be wedded to an 18th century form of government to discuss responsibly limiting federal power in the 21st century. Nor should the challenges of the 21st century make us lose sight of the founding 18th century principles upon which the American experiment in self-governance has rested.  We are a big, urbanized, industrial, 21st century democracy of 300 million people. In that sense, a big country needs a big government. It needs government to be big enough and strong enough to stand up to multi-national corporations and trillion-dollar banks and not allow them to rob us, poison us, or oppress us.  It needs to be big enough to enforce the concept of equal justice for all Americans. It needs to be big enough to protect us from threats inside and outside the country. And it needs to be big enough to care for those tens of millions of citizens who either can’t — or won’t — care for themselves.

We’ve left the details to Congress and have paid for that inattention by being saddled with crushing debt, shrinking currency, and an expansion of federal power that threatens the very liberty that those 18th century principles were designed to protect. The sequester may ultimately reveal that at least some of what we’ve asked government to do, we are better able to do ourselves.

That, alone, might make all the pain caused by these willynilly cuts worth it.

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Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
Screw the lobbyists - let the sequestration begin! For far too long the politicians have danced to the tune of the lobbyists. Now its time to dance to the tune of 'We The People' - the ones that pay the stupid spending bills these clowns keep passing. So what that they had to cut the budget in this manner? Its whats called 'a start'. Now get on to the business of finishing it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My doctor made me wait longer today, because of the "sequester", he said.
And I've noticed my gas pumping slower, too.
And have you noticed your water coming out of the faucet slower?
If this has an effect on global warming, or whatever they call it today, that'll be good!
Will it slow down Congress and the President on passing un-Constitutional legislation and the Supreme Court on approving their new dictates?
Why is the sun coming up later?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
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This sequester business reminds me of growing up. If I couldn't decide what toy to take with me on a trip, my dad would let me do without. If there two flavors of toothpaste and I couldn't decide which I wanted, my dad would tell me to brush twice.

So if Congress can't decide what to cut....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"We are a big, urbanized, industrial, 21st century democracy of 300 million people."

That's what Democrats have been saying for fifty years, but the word "democracy" cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution.

Now Republicans are saying it too.

Neither deserve our vote.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Republicans are going to have to do what they've never been successful at doing before, be better communicators than the Democrats. A small decrement like this would in a sane world be taken by letting positions go unfilled, reducing travel, conferences, supplies and equipment, etc. Comrade Obama ain't going to waste a crisis, so he'll make sure this one hurts; some grannies will go over the cliff or whatever else they can do to generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt and blame the FUD on the Republicans. Even though they don't have to and are required to give pretty elaborate notice and protections to federal employees, they'll just summarily lay off a bunch of them and do it in the most visible places. Just like the number that was run in CA a few years back, it actually benefits the employees to have the government not follow the rules; they get summarily laid off, but after a decent interval, the MSPB, a labor arbitrator, or the courts order back pay to them for the improper layoff, so the savvy ones know this and don't really fear the layoff, but they'll play along to make it look good. Likewise, the Administration is counting on the Republicans not being able to stand the heat over the defense cuts. They've already violated the WARN provisions, so when they summarily layoff defense contractor employees, backpay will be a certainty and the government has already guaranteed that it will pay it. I don't know that the House Republicans will have the guts to refuse to appropriate the money to make whole the improperly laid off defense contractor employees. Comrade Obama is playing a callous, cynical, but not unpredictable game, so the Republican leadership shouldn't be caught flat-footed, but I fear they will be.

We did a decade and more of declining or flat revenue after the '80s oil price crash. Everyone who worked on budgets did decrement scenarios every year. Everyone involved in collective bargaining did concession scenarios to try to reduce our labor costs. We found that if we laid off employees to meet our recurring revenue, we really couldn't afford to pay off their leave and refund their retirement and benefits contributions without liquidating assets or tapping the Permanent Fund, which would have required a vote of the People which was unlikely to carry. We responded by cutting recurring costs as much as we could and holding the line as stringently as possible on wage and benefit costs. We bargained some serious cost containment measures into our health insurance program, made some serious reductions in retirement benefits for all new employees and kept wages almost flat from '85 to '04, with only a little uptick in '90 - '91 due to the inflation caused by the Exxon Valdez cleanup. We resolved to keep our employees and program constituents sullen but not mutinous. It came close to mutinous when Republican fratricide gave us a Democrat governor for two terms but the Legislature stayed Republican. The unions thought they owned the government since their guy got elected and at first the Governor tried to give the unions stuff, but the Legislature would have none of it, so things got testy for a few years, but ultimately even the Democrat administration realized that it couldn't make them happy. It gave them a small increase in '02 going into the gubernatorial election on the assumption that the Legislature would disapprove it. The Legislature realized that the administration wanted several thousand PO'd employees highly motivated to vote against Republicans in the fall election, so they approved the contracts without giving the administration additional funding to pay for them but the employees were quietly under contract at election time and the Republicans kept both bodies and won the govenorship.

Democrats are one trick ponies and they want to run this play. They want federal employees and the constituents of the effected federal programs to spend the next twenty months hating all things Republican and Democrats don't mind hurting their constituents if it serves their political ends, especially if it can be blamed on the Republicans. Republican leadership has some thinking to do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...so he'll make sure this one hurts; some grannies will go over the cliff or whatever else they can do to generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt and blame the FUD on the Republicans."

Yes, and Obama and the democrat progressives will use verbatim quotes from the campaign rhetoric of the GOPs Tea party movment 2009 through 2012 -- slash the government -- kick old people and the inferred government leeaches to the curb -- slash government spending, etc.

They'll use the trap(sequestration) they set for the GOP/TeaParty using all the radical extemist anti-government rhetoric of the GOP Tea Party movement to put the consequences of sequestration right in the laps of the GOP/TeaParty.

Obama and the progressives are light years smarter than the GOP when it comes to political strategies. Obama used much of the GOP and the Heritage Foundations 'proposed' healthcare reformation plans along with the healthcare plan implemented by Romney in MA to formulate his Obamacare. Obama and the progressives dug deep into many areas where the GOP has proposed or agreed to proposed plans, to formualte nearly every suggested plan he has publically stated.

The GOP has failed to learn that loose lips sinks ships and that the dem progressives are very patient masters of manipulators. The GOP/TeaParty has nobody to blame but themselves for sloppy radical and extremist rhetoric on the national public stage and on hundreds of internet sites representing its base!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why do you say that the sequester will amount to 10% of the spending? If the current expenditure is 3.4 trillion dollars, wouldn't that 10% amount to 340 billion? I've not read anywhere that that is the amount at risk. You're perpetuating a lie. Even your column admits to only 85 billion over two years, so that the actual POTENTIAL cuts amount to only 45 billion dollars. I hardly think that is worthy of the sky is falling you and other propagandists
are screaming about.
I say let it happen and your screams be damned.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He didn't; he said ten percent of spending other than SS, Medicare/caid and other "sacred cows." And the cuts are about 10% of the discretionary budget of about $850B.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Once hyperinflation hits the world's economies with their over-printed fiat monies, we will see all the loyal Democrat social security and other welfare voters get their normal checks from the government and then be shocked that they cannot even afford a gallon of gas or a can of soup with their $1,600 government checks. Evolution will punish those who are incapable of protecting their own future.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...all the loyal Democrat social security and other welfare voters..."

Those Social Security recipients don't see themselves as "welfare voters." Go to any retirement community and you'll get a rousing chorus of "I paid in for forty years and I'm entitled to it." Few realize that they paid in nothing like what they're drawing out and all too many paid in nothing at all. Even if SS and Medicare/Medicaid had been run as actual funds with investment income supplementing employee/employer contributions, all would be grossly underfunded. The contribution rates haven't been nearly high enough in many years if ever and the government has added all sorts of recipients who've never contributed at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What you fail to address is the Social Security trust fund contains nothing but IOUs the government has written to itself. If anybody can find an accurate reporting on how many trillions of dollars the government has spent from the SS Trust fund on other government spending to include paying down the national debt, you're a magician! The social security fund has been routinely raided by the government almost from its inception. Now its reduced to pay-as-you-go which is the ONLY reason its heading toward a funding problem.

So, the 'old folks' are correct! They paid into an accout that should have been run responsibly with IOU 'due dates' from its inception and it would have been the largest reserve pool of money in the world. The government has defrauded the ss trust fund for decades -- the 'old folks' didn't drain it dry!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're not the smartest person in the world enlightening us rubes, Zeke1. I suspect everyone here knows that there's nothing in SS or Medicare but IOUs from a deadbeat government. My point remains that most participants will take out far more than they ever put in or had put in on their behalf.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actuarial professionals far, far smarter than yourself have ran and continue too run the social secuirty trust fund. During the first year of collection it represented .70% of the government revenue and by 1940 going to 1.85% and by the end of FY 2010 it was just slightly over 20%. They knew and continue to know what they're doing but they're helpless to the congress raiding it every year for decades.

If you read and can comprehend all the actuary advisory councils reports, say from 1994 forward you'd see they're way ahead of you and your knowledge. The same goes for the actuarial professionals over at medicare.

To educate yourself on how the two fund accounts of SS and Medicare actually works you can read the following link and even see how 2010 had a sizable surplus which ultimately was loaned to the treasury general fund to cover other congressional appropriations.

Bottomline! Had the program been run exactly as was designed, it would have run very smoothly with population increases and benefit spikes and still had the largest cash reserves of any government worldwide. So you personal contentions that the program was designed for eventual failure is complete idiocy!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is it possible, just possible, that sequestration might lead to a serious national dialogue about deficit reduction begining with Simpson-Bowles?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here we come sequestering among the cash so green
Here we come sequestering no fairness to be seen
Tax and spend, come to you
Tax and spend, your children too
And we'll tax you and send you a W2
And we'll tax you your whole lifetime through
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It will not work the way you describe. After another 20 months of this, the public will be totally fed up. They will be convinced that it is impossible for this President to govern with a Republican House. By then, it won't matter who is to blame or who is right. They will just know that divided government cannot function with this president. And in the midterm election, there is only one thing the public can change that will change things - House control. So they will change the only thing they can.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps if they started over with a whole new Congress maybe that would work instead of pointing the finger of who did what. Congress should live on a budget too I think
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"We are a big, urbanized, industrial, 21st century democracy of 300 million people. In that sense, a big country needs a big government. It needs government to be big enough and strong enough to stand up to multi-national corporations and trillion-dollar banks and not allow them to rob us, poison us, or oppress us.

Yeah, we have our federal government to do that to us now instead.

Our problem isn't that the free market can't protect us from itself, it's that the free market can't protect us from a government intent on destroying it.

Banks and multi-national corporations may be Hollywood's bad guys (along with the military), but we don't have to feed that slander with pseudo-populist pap.

Tort lawsuits and discrimination suits that have gone off the rails does more damage to us as a civilization than do their victims...the REAL victims...of fraudulent and phony claims, race-baiting scams and suits not protecting us from invasion....but suing states being invaded.

Tea Party "backbenchers" may not qualify as anything other than the "great unwashed" to namby-pamby fence sitters. But we couldn't fix a broken light bulb if we aren't honest about the real problems.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why do so many intelligent people refuse to understand that the federal government growth comes from 1) private sector special interest groups seeking government laws favorable to their special interests and 2) states demanding federal government handouts for everything imaginable.

Post WWII, you will be hard pressed to find a federal law enactment that does NOT have its orgin from a special interest group. Today, the special interest groups high priced lobbying lawyers even' write the bills' for various menbers and committees of congress.

Time to start putting the blame where it belongs! Time to remember that ANY cnadiate wishing to run for elected state or federal office must first sell his/her soul to some special interests to have the funding from which to run and campaign with. Then, if elected to office, they then learn durn quick ,you again have to sell your soul to more special interest groups of your political party or you're relligated to a dim lite corner and on crappy do nothing committees for which you can do nothing to represent the district who elected you.

Private sector special interest groups control and run the states and federal government!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem with the idea that we need a big government to stand up to big business is that inevitably big business buys big government and we're twice as screwed.

The real shame is that government doesn't need to stand up to business. All they need to do is police the commons and ensure proper product labeling. Market forces will take care of the rest.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Extra deficit spending goes right into corporate profits. There is a mathematical identity (called sectoral balances) which makes this fact true. Business wants deficits. Wall Street wants deficits. You cannot change this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The sequestration is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the spending cuts that we truly need to make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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