President Obama’s sequester — he designed it, he demanded it, and it is about to kick in — will have many consequences, some bad, some very helpful.
On the negative side, Stars & Stripes reports that Department of Defense officials are exploring how to collapse the school week to four days at some schools on military bases that serve the children of our troops. This is an incredible admission of the president’s indifference to the troops he leads. As he has played politics for the past four months since his re-election, he has used the military and its personnel and families as hostages to his demands for more and more taxes.
Also on the negative side, the New York Times reported Tuesday that “federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from immigration detention centers around the country, an effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom.”
And most of us have heard the Secretary of Transportation talk darkly about reducing the number of air traffic controllers, thus delaying flights (or worse, hint hint.)
This parade of horribles will in fact come true in some respects — the cuts to the Department of Defense are deep, and coming after four years of already massive reductions in military spending, the impact on the troops and their families will be severe.
In other areas the alarms are ludicrous, and planes will not be dropping from the sky or even significantly delayed because John Boehner is protecting millionaires.
The good news is that many Americans will be asking the obvious questions in the aftermath of the Obama Sequester.
Why, for instance, are we shuttering military schools a day a week when we have enough money to send it to National Public Radio and PBS?
Why are we turning deportees back on to the street when the Environmental Protection Agency does nothing but turn out mountains of paper designed to kill jobs?
Why is training for troops slashed and the expenditures on their equipment cut when we are spending huge dollars on determining the so-called “critical habitat” of the Gunnison sage grouse?
Everyone in Washington knows what has to be done. Entitlement reform must occur, and the government must prioritize domestic discretionary spending.
At a minimum, the eligibility age for Medicare must rise to match that of Social Security, and the latter must continue its gradual, slow increase to match the great gains in life expectancy and the population’s expected extension of years at work.
The cost-of-loving formula must be tweaked. Medicaid must be capped and turned over to the states to manage as best they see fit.
Means-testing of some benefits must be adopted, at least for those younger than 55.
And we must, we must, stop sending money on things we want — NPR, the endowments for the Arts and Humanities — as opposed tithe things we must absolutely have, like aircraft carriers on deployment in the Persian Gulf.
President Obama clearly understands that the sequester — his sequester — is not working out as he planned. That is because it is bringing clarity in its wake, and voters are seeing what the president’s fall campaign was designed to hide: an enormous, wasteful federal government that cannot even take care of its troops even as it spends billions on silly and absurd programs.