The PJ Tatler

Government by Temper Tantrum

As the father of two small boys, I’ve seen some tantrums these last few years. They follow a predictable script.

• Child wants something

• Dad says no

• Child demands something

• Dad says no

• Child begins tantrum

• Dad says no

And so on, until the child realizes that Dad can take the screaming and the tantrum ceases. Or punishment is doled out. Or — sometimes — both.

Witness, if you will, government by tantrum:

The Obama administration denied an appeal for flexibility in lessening the sequester’s effects, with an email this week appearing to show officials in Washington that because they already had promised the cuts would be devastating, they now have to follow through on that.

In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked “if there was any latitude” in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.

He said he was discouraged by officials in Washington, who gave him this reply: “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

The government wants something. It wants to spend $3,803,000,000,000. It’s been told that it may only spend $3,759,000,000,000. (Please notice that nine zeroes are left unmolested.)

And so now the government is going to throw a tantrum. It will hide its aircraft carrier, stop food-safety inspections, close the White House to tourists who flew in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. In other words, shrieking “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT WHEN I WANT IT!”

We should tell it No. We should remind it that the Department of Education, which doesn’t educate a single child, has a budget almost twice the size of this year’s sequester. We should remind it that most Americans took a 2% pay cut starting last January, and that’s part of the 8% whack our incomes have suffered since 2008. We’ve had to make do with less, we should say, now it’s your turn.

But the Whiner-in-Chief won’t listen. It’s his sacred duty to drive the gravy train — right off the cliff.

And if we say no? Then we’ll be made to suffer.

Meh. I’ve seen worse. I have a two-year-old son.

I can take it. Can you?


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