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How Congress Sold Us Out

March 5, 2013 by  

How Congress Sold Us Out
UPI

For the past several weeks, the word “sequester” has dominated headlines as President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers shrieked about the coming doomsday to be brought forth by $85 billion in Federal spending cuts, while Republicans refused to budge on taxes.

Since the sequester officially took hold on Friday, both sides have pledged to create a plan to retroactively reverse the spending cuts, with Democrats vowing that a deal won’t be reached if taxes aren’t raised and Republicans still vehemently fighting the idea of higher taxes. If they don’t come up with a plan, so what?

Obama has been warning for weeks that sequestration will have devastating impacts on everything from American education to public safety to the ease of travel. Meanwhile, defense hawks on both sides of the legislative aisle spent the months advertising premonitions of a vulnerable America if the military-industrial complex is funded by one less red cent.

The Federal government, it seems, is the boy who cried wolf.

Not only did the entire Nation fail to shut down on Friday after sequestration hit; American financial markets hardly even shuddered. The American public has grown accustomed to periodic government-hyped emergencies. And, ever more transparently, these manufactured crises don’t arise from a lack of government funding but remain necessary to whitewash Congressional inability, or unwillingness, to make budget decisions.

The truth about sequester — as evidenced by the White House’s full steam retreat from its previous sensational predictions — is that the mandatory across-the-board cuts are actually quite modest. In fact, over the next six months, government spending will be reduced by a trifling 2.4 percent. And, over the next 10 years, Federal spending under sequester will increase — yes, increase — by $2.4 trillion instead of $2.5 trillion without the mandatory cuts.

The same pattern will emerge in all the areas of spending that government officials have proclaimed as unbearable sacrifices to bloodthirsty, government-collapsing sequestration. Military spending, for example, will increase by 18 percent over the next decade. Some people representing the military apparatus have claimed disdain that a one-time real reduction in spending will reduce U.S. defense capacity to what it was in 2007 under sequestration.

But left unmentioned are the following facts: In 2007, while a troop surge was under way in Iraq and some of the heaviest fighting of the United States’ undeclared military adventures in the Mideast continued, military spending topped out near $600 billion — more than 20 percent of total government spending. Add to that money given to the Department of State to provide aid to countries destabilized by the military activity, and the numbers grow significantly.

Lawmakers are making a big deal over sequestration not because it affects you or me in its current form, but because it affects them. Congress holds Constitutionally granted power over the U.S. budget, and it has so abused this power over the past several decades that lawmakers are willing to hand ever more budgetary control to the executive branch. This is the little-reported facet of the sequester debacle that should most concern average Americans; it is a recipe for tyranny.

Republican lawmakers have decided two things: 1) They cannot publicly give Obama his tax hikes and expect voters not to give them the boot; and 2) they cannot risk losing financial backing from big-money players in the military-industrial complex in upcoming elections.

So instead of forcing a deal that cuts spending, they’ve opted for a plan that is a win-win for all members of the political class. The President has reportedly agreed to sign a continuing resolution that locks in the sequester levels of spending and gives him flexibility to choose how and where to cut spending. So, Republicans don’t have to take the blame for defense spending cuts, and the President can ensure that his corrupt green-energy programs and social welfare initiatives remain intact. Thus, bleeding heart voters for both camps remain — if ignorantly — happy; and special interest donors continue to pump money into the coffers of whatever party will further their cause.

The financial “emergencies” are allowed to happen by design and through clandestine cooperation between both parties to cover up the fact that Congress is far too busy making special deals and campaigning to do its job. With the distraction, lawmakers on both sides are allowed an opportunity to pedal blame and look tough — Republicans by saying to their voters “look, look, we didn’t raise taxes,” in hopes that America forgets the $620 billion in tax hikes to which they agreed to avert the last “emergency” (fiscal cliff) just weeks ago. Democrats emerged victorious in that round of false problems because of the tax increases. (It almost seems as if an election year is approaching, eh?)

Meanwhile, a new precedent has been set by suggesting that the President should have unilateral power to decide where the U.S. should nickel and dime. Obama asserted the other day that he couldn’t force a Congressional deal in the sequester because he is “not a dictator.” He should have said he is not yet a dictator, but Congress is working on fixing that for him and his successors.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • rick

    It has become knowledge that the House is already trying to figure out a way to make a law to re-instate funds to programs hit by the sequester.

    SO!!! What was the purpose if Congress just goes back on their word and spends even more money.

    Stock up on food, gas, money and firearms. You will need them in the future.
    P.S. keep track of the news so you know when to run for the hills.

    • John R. Howell

      Thank you Rick for your clear thinking. And don’t forget ammunition! John R. Howell

  • SFS444

    This is why we need to get rid of the old Republicans and elect new Republicans preferably combat vets who have a strong sense of commitment to this country.

    • John R. Howell

      You are quite right, SFS444. The “old Republicans” are what I call Rinos, and there is a large herd of RINOs loose in the House! Let’s get rid of them! John R. Howell

      • http://yahoo Don

        why get rid of only old republicans. what about democrats like fienstien who is pushing for totally unreasonable gun rights. if she had her way noone would own any guns. the second amendment would be gone. then there is pelosi. she is also in the anti gun club plus last year she pushed for laws which would trimmed our first amendments to free speech. mccaine isn’t much better it kinda boils down to the same thing. they are no different in any party . they have become like royalty and seem to think they can regulat what we can have and can do. this country ‘s federal government needs a big house cleaning. too many ignorant uncaring voters keep electing these people back. the vote could beat the buck if everyone voted wisely and get rid of this bunch. the people could have the country back like the constitution originally intended them to.

  • Warrior

    Finally, the Washington Post speaks out on Obama! This is very brutal, timely though. As I’m sure you know, the Washington Post newspaper has a reputation for being extremely liberal. So the fact that its editor saw fit to print the following article about Obama in its newspaper makes this a truly amazing event and a news story in and of itself. At last, the truth about our President and his obvious socialist agenda are starting to trickle through the protective wall built around him by our liberal media.

    I too have become disillusioned
    By Matt Patterson (columnist – Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner)
    Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a “community organizer”; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote “present”); and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
    He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor”; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?
    Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal: To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberal Dom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass – held to a lower standard – because of the color of his skin.
    Podhoretz continues: And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?
    Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon – affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.
    Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.
    And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois ; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
    What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks? In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people – conservatives included – ought now to be deeply embarrassed.
    The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that’s when he has his Teleprompters in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth – it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.
    And what about his character?
    Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence. But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?
    In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.

    • http://www.boblivingstonletter.com/ Bob Livingston

      Dear Warrior,

      You write: “Finally, the Washington Post speaks out on Obama!” Please verify the veracity of this post. The best I can tell this first saw the light of day on American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obama_the_affirmative_action_president.html I could not find it in the Post’s archives.

      Best wishes,
      Bob

    • Jim B

      Now that is insightful thinking, and it will be historical truth in time. Zombies create zombies, it’s what they do!

    • mark

      Warrior, this article was never published in the Washington Post. You’ve fallen for another right-wing internet scam. Typical and not suprising at all, as total disinformation and fraudulent data is quite common on the political blogosphere where hardly anyone ever checks their sources or relies on outright lies and fabrications posted on extremist sites.

    • Concerned

      Even though the credit to this article is a bit off the message in this article is very right on. Race is a very large factor in why this man sits at our highest office. It is okay to steal the seat if you are an ” entitled person”. Which to the best that I can tell you must be black and dumbed down to be entitled.

    • http://exodus-consulting.com Thomas

      I don’t care where the article was published. Every word resonated. Every. Single. One. That would have been a great Ron Paul speech last year.

  • Gary L

    All this sequester talk is BullSh**t. We don’t have the money, so they borrow it. Then they give it away over seas to people who hate us and waste it here at home. B.S.

    • Larry K.

      you’ve got that right 100%

  • Bob666

    Actually, this is one of the best articals ever posted on PLD. I look forwad to more of Sam’s work.

  • Michael K

    Unbelievable that Congress is turning over budegetary powers to the president for $44 billion in cuts this year. The remaining $41 billion would occur in subsequent years. Refer to the Congessional Budget Office report titled The Budget And Economic Outlook Fiscal Years 2013 – 2023, PDF page 11, first paragraph. $35 billion $9 billion worth of cuts in 2013. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43907-BudgetOutlook.pdf

  • Seeker1212

    Words, Words, Words, and still no change: We have been listening and sharing all the facts of what a treasonous group we have in Washington, but there is no change in the deceptive practices of our elected officials, except to pass more laws to strip the American citizens of their constitutional liberties.
    As feared, the only time that change will take place, is when the masses stand-up, not with words, but with action.

    • mark

      Never gonna happen. Keep dreaming about your revolution against the government. It’s chances of taking place? Less than zero.

      • Seeker1212

        Thats what King george thought

      • boyscout

        Wait a sec, that sounds like a Tory response. Slim chances are not no chances. When T.J. suggested that a little revolution every so often might not be such a bad idea, I believe that this was his reference to the rather large revolution that he had personally experienced and hoped not to see repeated.
        As it is, both the size and nature of our government has grown, incrementally, to extreme proportions. History has not provided the necessary counter balancing little revolutions. Now, from this point, extrapolate your own conclusion.

      • STEVE E.

        I looking for the day for the government to go bankrupt and fall on itself without a violent revolution to take place. Then only those government worshipers that are dependent on them will be harmed. The independent people will survive because they are armed to protect them from the starving rioters. The government can’t police the whole society.

      • Bob W.

        Sorry, Steve, But Mark does not know what extrapolate means.

  • Bill

    We need some leaders that have enough cajones to make the real cuts that are needed.

    How about 25% across the board for all agencies, and that is only for this year.

    Look at Iceland; They went bankrupt, jailed the people that were responsible and are now on their way to economic recovery.

    The more we prolong the pain, the worse it will be

    • http://yahoo Don

      can you imagine jailing most of congress?

      • http://luckyk351.wordpress.com luckyk351

        @Don As stated elsewhere, What a wonderful world we would be living in!!!!!

      • STEVE E.

        I would love to see them go to jail instead of waiting for judgement day.

  • Eugene W Hanson

    What is wrong with the American people?? Are we all fools? We put up with the same old crap year after year! Lies, lies by both parties. The Congess and Senate give themselves a cost of living raise ever year, 5 to 6%, on top of their $225.000.00 plus saleries and expence accounts. They are suspost to be serving us, instead we the American people are serving them and that is the way it will stay until we put a stop to It. No more being reelected for live. Two terms and they are done, just like the President. Then all this crap would stop!! No more good old boys and girls club. They make the laws for you and I, but not for themselves. America WAKE UP!!!

    • alpha-lemming

      Short answer???…. yes, we are fools. Or perhaps, more accurately, insane. We send the same perps back year after year and expect a different result.

  • Lucky3511

    Why is it, most members of Congress are in the millionaire class, while apparently only having their congressional salaries to live on. Does any one smell a wee bit of corruption herein?

    • Jana

      That’s why I think we need term limits. We should not have career politicians. They forget what it’s like to live out here on and in the economy, and with the laws they set for us but exempt themselves from.

  • Chuck S

    The repubs are too liberal in a lot of ways, but they aren’t so bad here. The taxes WERE going to increase for everyone at the start of the year. No matter what the repubs did, the dems could have let the taxes automatically increase. The tax increase they accepted was a lot smaller than if nothing passed. Although a part of me says that letting the tax cuts expire would increase taxes on those on the bottom who pay little or no taxes – mostly Obama voters – so they’d pay more of their fair share. They’d find that the Bush tax cuts weren’t just for the rich – they were big cuts for people on the bottom.

    A good thing the repubs did was not stopping the sequester – the only sign of spending cuts we’ve gotten, even though it means spending will still increase, but at at slower rate. Obama talked as if the Mayans actually were predicting sequester as the end of the world (more below), He told about all the horrible things that would happen. The repubs maybe wanted Obama to take responsibility for actually doing all those horrible cuts. Hopefully he’d make much more sensible cuts because if he made the horrible cuts, people could point out much better cuts he could have made.

    Obama used an old liberal trick – if he has trouble wasting more money, he says he’ll have to cut the most important things, so people will say we need the spending after all. Logically, what you cut is the least important – so logically the things he named are what he considers the least important – actually what will scare us the most and advance his big spending agenda.

    It’s like when a city is facing budget cuts, the mayor may say that he’ll have to cut fire and police – not waste and corruption and bureaucrats and welfare.

  • http://gravatar.com/bychoosing WTS/JAY

    That any country as diverse as the U.S. should have so few choices in politics stands as an indicator that something is indeed amiss with our political system. Which of two fungible fakirs takes office is of increasing irrelevence to the daily issues faced by the public; the distance between the formal 2 party system (the ivory-tower theory) and the polity (the grassroots reality) is reflected in dismal voter turnouts, year after year.

    “The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don’t acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.” — Kurt Vonnegut

    And yet, with every election cycle, the Demo-gogues and CountryClubicans proceed to trade issues and insults in a farcical attempt to maintain some modicum of differentiation between themselves. As though it isn’t bad enough we have to consecrate their coercion with our votes, they insult our intelligence with media side shows, artificial issues, vacuous platitudes and thought-terminating cliches. But after years and years of the same superficial issues being rehashed ad nauseum, the lugubrious cavalcade of hystrionics is, when taken in retrospect, a political pantomime completely choreographed for our ‘voting pleasure.’

    The Republicans and Democrats could be argued to cast themselves as the ‘Old Testament Party’ and the ‘New Testament Party.’ Republicans: “Follow these rules or be punished.” Democrats: “Feed the poor and forgive all sins.” — Bruce Rodgers

    Just as with the attempts to rectify the Ptolemaic system with epicycles, previous ‘reforms’ have not mitigated the crisis of the U.S. republic’s winner-take-all system. Past attempts to ‘fix’ the U.S. system with reforms (such as referendum and recall) have only dabbled at the fringes of the chronic simmering crisis.

    When I speak of crisis, I mean a chronic syndrome that threatens at any moment to implode from the gravity of it’s internal contradictions. The U.S. voting system of winner-take-all 2-party personality-driven elections suffers from the suffocating non-choice of two main parties. The problems could ultimately topple the system, but probably won’t because of the vice lock the Democrats and Republicans have on the country.

    People are generally disatisfied with a dichotomoy-based system that pretends to be about freedom of choice; politically we have the choice of two evils, the result being that there’s not really any choice, only a ultimatim from a duopoly, a framed election. I think the polity senses this, and they simple display their innate – if poorly expressed – skepticism by not voting.

    “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” Bill Vaughan

    Hidden behind the din of media pundits speculating on the sexual improprieties of the President, the reality of continued empire-building remains the fundamental underpinning political force driving the republic.

    The CIA continues to ally itself with foreign criminal enterprises as a means to gain political power abroad, regardless of whether it requires a systematic quid-pro-quo protection of narcotic pipelines that comes to resemble narco-colonialism and afflicts our cities with cheaper and cheaper drugs.

    The Pentagon now practices urban warfare in our cities, the regular police forces are becoming increasingly militarized, while some rural populations verge on some kind of low-intensity rebellion.

    Behind the scenes, the empire continues about the business of expanding its scope of power. NAFTA and GATT were rammed past the normal political process, where concerned environmental and labor groups were given less than 48 hours prior to automatic ratification to comment on the until-then secret pact.

    “Criminals and a free people have a lot of “wants” in common; as a result, governments ALWAYS regard a free people as criminal.” – UNKNOWN

    more: http://leebertarian.homestead.com/files/poli_sci.html

    • tony newbill

      This might seem a little cold but It would seem to me that the USA should stop trying to feed the world if it is going to harm the USA People .
      http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/30-facts-about-the-coming-water-crisis-that-will-change-the-lives-of-every-person-on-the-planet

    • Daniel

      WTS/Jay,

      I read a lot and post seldom, but your post is definitely one of the best posts I’ve read here and certainly a well-thought and well-crafted piece. One of the issues that continually gets in the way of our solving our problems is the nation’s preoccupation with liberal (the term is now intended and often perceived as an insult) and conservative (same) views. You cover that intelligently and succinctly in your post. That the two parties are simply used as needed by the string-pullers is abundantly obvious. I believe that if we can clearly view the underlying problems in our country, this concern about left and right will evaporate and a concern for liberty and true prosperity will take its place.

  • http://na Mike in NE

    I see no difference in R or D, other than to pad their own bank accounts. Nothing but smoke and mirrors/ dog and pony show. A common quote is “follow the money”, and that would be the FED, aka the money changers. I think the treasury should be in charge of money creation of which the people might have some control, I repeat might. The FED is answerable to no one except the R’s and D’s, which as mentioned, their only interest is more of the same. Why does the same house built 40 years ago that cost 40,000.00 to build now cost 120,000-160,000 ? Are they built any better? Maybe faster, not better. Oh yes, that’s just a small example of devaluation of our money, the main goal being what? Serfdom or freedom? I will die defending freedom, not smoke and mirrors. Really simple when it comes right down to nut cuttin’. At this stage of the game, not so simple. It will require the blood of tyrants. Not the bed I made to sleep on, but it is what it is, in a nutshell. Tyrants do bleed the same as every human, rich or poor, well connected or not.

  • jim

    The Sequester…as it is called….is a joke if it is anything at all! These idiots in Congress and the White House don’t have the b-lls to do what needs to be done!!!

    The CUTS need to start where the problem is…AND THAT IS IN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!
    1.Cut the pay of ever person in Congress down to what it was in the 70′s…
    2.Cut the presidents pay down to what it was in the 70′s…
    3.Fire all those known as Czars and delegate their authority to other pre-existing bureaucracies that were redundant to begin with.
    4.ELIMINATE ANY AND ALL REDUNDANT AGENCIES / BUREAUCRACIES
    5.Dissolve the TSA, the NEA, the DHS,…..athourogh reshuffling of all the bureaucracies in our Federal Government!!!
    6.Instill an annual testing of all in Congress and the White House and the Supreme Court….which will be to see if they are retaining a working understanding of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our Declaration of Independence!

    • jim

      ……..and that is just for starters !!!!!!!

    • duane

      Jim, you got my vote on this one. I have been trying to tell my liberal and conservative friends for years that we need to do what you have listed in your comments, along with strict term limits for both the house and senate. btw would you consider running for office?
      Oh! silly me, I apologize for insulting you with that last question. Only dumb and lazy people who cannot function in the real world are qualified to run for office. Again, I totally agree with what you said.

  • 3dayer

    all of you that think that this sequester is “no big deal” or “a joke” are obviously forgetting that there are VERY REAL people out there that will be seriously affected by this. Federal workers at every level (except, of course, THEM) who will be furloughed without pay for up to 22 days – that’s a TWENTY PERCENT cut in pay! communities near military installations that will be hit too indirectly thru decreased discretionary spending of the people working at those installations. businesses in those communities that might have to let workers go due to that decreased spending. now I’m certainly no fan of Obama or anyone in DC but this is not some abstract concept that won’t have consequences or won’t affect anyone.

    • tony newbill

      well I guess that President you support better get of his You Know what and get that GDP up over 2 % then if you want more revenues to pay for those things you need right ????

      • 3dayer

        I can see you didn’t read my comment very closely – I DO NOT support Obama in any way! and yes he and the rest of those jackasses in DC need to get their collective $^!T together and do something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.shreve.94 Michael Shreve

      [expletive deleted] The effect will be 0, Zip, Nada. It would take a a 10% reduction in CURRENT spending to create ANY significant change.

      • 3dayer

        like I said, tell that to the folks facing a 20% pay cut. or better still, why don’t you join them – “share their pain”, as it were – and give back 20% of your weekly pay for 22 weeks then tell me the effect will be zip. bet you won’t do that, tho, will you?

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