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Section A: General News


Editorial: More of the sequestration consternation continues




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About politics and other things
March 13, 2013 | 1,319 views | Post a comment

If you think it’s repeating, it is to some extent, but the administration and Democratic National Committee have not let up. I just got an email from the DNC warning of furloughs hitting military towns.

They sent a copy of an Associated Press story, but we all know that the AP is being used by the administration to get out its message. They continue to warn Americans about what could happen as a result of the sequestration, intentionally scaring people.

So desperate are they to keep alive the fears that they have developed a slick website www.gopsequester.com to show what the “evil” Republicans have done. The intro on the website reads: “When they chose not to come to the table and stop the sequester, Republicans in Congress put tax breaks for the rich over middle-class families. ...” The site is paid for by the DNC.

You should check it out. Perhaps you agree with it. I do not.

Sequestration, if you don’t know, is the term given to the mandated across-the-board cuts approved by Congress, and signed into law by President Obama. It became effective March 1.

After living with these “cuts” for almost two weeks, the sun still shines, birds sing, and people go about their daily routines.

It has become apparent that the goal of the administration is not to find a workable solution, but to inflict pain on the American people. Why else cancel White House tours?

We’ve already established that the across-the-board budget cuts were not cuts in the sense that ordinary Americans make cuts. Instead, the sequester refers to cuts in the amount of growth built into federal budgets. How could cuts in projected increases have such immediate dire consequences in day-to-day operations?

Could the costs of White House tours, for instance, have been more than offset by forgoing a couple of Obama family vacations? If the president really wanted to avoid punishing us, there are a myriad of approaches that he could have taken.

Instead, emails and AP stories continue with dire predictions. For instance, I received an email Sunday from Stephanie Cutter at www.barackobama.com, in which she warned of the harm to children, seniors, firefighters, and police. She writes: “[The reason] Republicans let these cuts go into effect is because they simply wouldn’t support closing tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires -- for things like yachts and corporate jets.” She didn’t mention presidential golf lessons with Tiger Woods, though.

No, Ms. Cutter and her supporters worry about 1,000 fewer EPA inspections. She’s apparently not worried about an agency of the USDA sponsoring the California Small Farm Conference and wine tasting, or another such event to be held in Oregon later this year.

In fact, the Republicans have a list of possible cuts that could be made without inflicting all this pain. Federal agencies, for instance, spent $268 million on conferences last year, according to www.federaltimes.com. You would think that the federal bigwigs have never heard of teleconferencing or Skype.

It’s no longer necessary to fly across the country to meet in swank hotels and physically rub elbows in order to exchange information. With digital technologies, you can videoconference, and it’s almost like being in the same room. And who’s to say they couldn’t have their own bottle of wine as they Skype?

Savings from a few rounds of golf and a few conferences could go a long way in finding a better solution than closing airports, firing teachers, calling off border guards, and letting children and seniors go hungry.

Oh. That’s right. These things aren’t happening -- yet.
 

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