Spinning The Sequester: Obama’s Posh Idea Of ‘Austerity’


Last week, President Barack Obama commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Nation’s economic dive in a White House speech that managed to excoriate his party opposition on the same day that a crazy man was killing people in a Naval yard only a few miles away.

Obama touched on the shooting, saying “we are confronting yet another mass shooting,” before moving on the real topic at hand: blaming Congressional Republicans for the “austere” budget sequestration — a program of spending cuts (not actual budget cuts, mind you, but spending cuts) that Obama himself originally had proposed.

From the President’s Sept. 16 speech:

The problem is at the moment, Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to grow the economy and build the middle class. I say “at the moment” because I’m still hoping that a light bulb goes off here.

So far, their budget ideas revolve primarily around even deeper cuts to education, even deeper cuts that would gut America’s scientific research and development, even deeper cuts to America’s infrastructure investment — our roads, our bridges, our schools, our energy grid…

…Instead of making necessary changes with a scalpel, so far at least, Republicans have chosen to leave in place the so-called sequester cuts that have cost jobs, harmed growth, are hurting our military readiness. And top independent economists say this has been a big drag on our recovery this year. Our economy is not growing as fast as it should and we’re not creating as many jobs as we should, because the sequester is in place. That’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of independent economists.

The sequester makes it harder to do what’s required to boost wages for American workers, because the economy is still slack. So if Republicans want the economy to grow faster, create more jobs faster, they should want to get rid of it. It’s irresponsible to keep it in place.

And if Congress is serious about wanting to grow the economy faster and creating jobs faster, the first order of business must be to pass a sensible budget that replaces the sequester with a balanced plan that is both fiscally sound and funds the investments like education and basic research and infrastructure that we need to grow. This is not asking too much.

The fallacy of Obama’s assertion that it’s “irresponsible” for government to spend money less quickly than he’d like is twofold:

  • First, Obama lives in a closed system of liberal thinking on fiscal policy, one that can conceive of government only in terms of its presence in — not its absence from — every phase of social enterprise. If he truly believes the sequester is a bloodletting of government-supported programs, imagine the culture shock he’d experience if he woke from a long sleep to find American government operating at Tea Party scale.
  • Second, it’s a lie that sequestration is slowing down anything. The juggernaut of government spending, across a kaleidoscope of programs (most of which won’t be familiar to average Americans who think of Federal spending in terms of militaries, Interstate highways, foreign relations, ports, air travel and interstate commerce), is running with as much momentum as any tax-and-spend liberal could hope for.

Reason has culled a list of budget entries published in the Federal Register dating back to March 1, when the sequester first went into effect. It’s 17,679 items long, and it’s only a small part of what the government has authorized since that time. Check it out here.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Average_Joe56

    “I say “at the moment” because I’m still hoping that a light bulb goes off here.”

    Mr. Obama…your light bulb went “off” years ago. I’m not sure if it is “Burnt out”…or just “Blown” (considering your past…either is possible…both are likely). I am guessing that just like cock roaches….most of your activities are done while the people are kept in the dark….Who would have thought? All of us!

    “And if Congress is serious about wanting to grow the economy faster and creating jobs faster, the first order of business must be to pass a sensible budget that replaces the sequester with a balanced plan that is both fiscally sound and funds the investments like education and basic research and infrastructure that we need to grow. This is not asking too much.”

    Mr. Obama, where has this speech been for the last five years? You know….while the Democrat controlled Senate was busy…not passing a budget…at all?
    Sorry Mr. Obama…the people are no longer sleeping….the lights ARE ON…and we are paying attention…Your tactics, partisanship and lying to the American People have been noticed and we are not buying your BS anymore (most of us never did)…You may wish to seek out a fertilizer dealer to peddle your wares!

    • Warrior

      Uh, uh, “it’s irresponsible”, uh, uh, “it’s unpatriotic”. uh,uh.

  • Sickupandfed

    I think most people are over the sequester issue. It happened and the only thing they can think of that happened was the White House tours were closed. There was no doom and gloom as Obama promised. Most people weren’t noticeably affected by it and now they don’t have any interest in it anymore. Remember, the average American has the attention span of a housefly when it comes to news and politics. Now they are hearing about the “horrible and evil” Republicans” shutting down the government. People are getting tired of all the crying, whining, and gnashing of teeth, of horrible doom from this administration about ANYTHING that goes against his agenda.

  • ChuckS123

    Obama used an old liberal trick – if he has trouble wasting more money, he says he’ll have to cut the most important or noticeable 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.

  • James

    That darned Sequester, it was Oblamo’s idea, maybe the only good one he ever had, but somehow the GOP is to blame, he does not want to take credit for the ONE good idea he ever came up with.
    The Sequester does “NOT CUT THE FREAKING BUDGET” it only cuts the increase in spending. How do people not see this. We are still spending MORE MONEY, just not as much MORE MONEY.
    The Demorats and the media somehow try to hide the facts. This is the biggest hoax (aside from global warming) ever perpetrated on the American citizen. So we closed the white house tours because they only got a 2 percent raise instead of the automatic 5 percent raise.
    Does this actually make sense to anyone out there……………

  • ibn insha

    I can’t believe this man can lie like nobody else in the history of mankind and still be in the office. Oh I forgot, he is loved by majority that is why he was elected and reelected to office despite being clearly inept to be the President of the United States.

    Sequester was his idea yet he blames Republicans for calling his bluff. When was the last time when anybody heard a businessman claim that his business was suffering because of bad infrastructure? Never. (Our roads and bridges do need to be repaired but it does not mean that whole infrastructure is in shambles and as if bridges are falling in the rivers and roads are dropping in the sinkholes). He always emphasizes on spending on infrastructure because those are union jobs. Education related jobs are union jobs. But he loves spending in general as long as government spends it.