The sequester is an issue only because the President has consciously refused, throughout his four years in office, to propose any entitlement reforms. Can anyone name a single entitlement reform that President Obama has specifically advocated, in public, and made even a token effort to implement? (Please, don’t count the phantom savings that we will never see from purported healthcare reforms. Even the most ardent apologists concede that the short-term truth is clearly the opposite.)
Since nearly 60% of the budget is off limits, the sequester hits even harder. And the President has compounded the folly by making no effort to direct these cuts at non-essential services, instead preferring that they fall on the most useful ones, thereby wreaking maximum inconvenience on ordinary citizens. Can it really be that the cuts at the TSA need to be at the airport scanning personnel level? We couldn’t make a few cuts at the handbook-writing, convention-planning level?
Can it really be true that the President and Congress cannot find 6 percent savings in all discretionary spending by a Government that expands nearly that much year after year? Or, to be more rational about it, that we cannot find 2.5% savings across the entire budget, or just half of the annual increase?
What we have seen, and is still playing out now, is politics, not responsible public policy. The sad thing about this is that it’s not even good politics. Had the President gone to the American people in late 2009 and, to steal a quote, asked everyone to “eat our peas” — by adopting Simpson-Bowles or something very close to it – the country would have begun a real economic recovery, and he would have been easily re-elected in 2012, with a higher percentage of the popular vote, not to mention avoiding the disastrous 2010 Tea Party takeover of the House.
It’s still not too late.