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How do you know if something is really a big deal in Washington D.C.?
Quite literally, politicians will do everything they can to make a federal case out of it! So what then are we to make of the reaction of today’s politicians in the nation’s capitol of the impending spending cuts that will take place as soon as March 1st?
Automatic cuts are getting a big yawn from Washington
As deadlines go, the March 1 sequester lacks punch. Nobody’s taxes will go up; the U.S. Treasury won’t run out of cash. Government offices won’t immediately turn out the lights and lock the doors. No federal worker will be furloughed for at least 30 days.
So Washington felt little need to cancel the Presidents’ Day break. On Friday, President Obama flew to Florida for a long weekend of golf. And Congress left town for nine days, with scant hope of averting deep cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies in the short time remaining when lawmakers return.
If the sequester spending cuts were really a problem, we should expect our politicians to act like it is a problem. Instead, it appears they’re going to fit a holiday in before the crisis!
Meanwhile, the few politicians who are trying hard to make a federal case against cutting the federal government’s spending through the sequester have so far failed to generate much concern among Washington D.C.’s bureaucrats, who presumably might be affected by the cut spending:
At a hearing Thursday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) begged a panel of top officials to give her more urgency and drama.
“Here we are, March 1st. It is now midnight. The clock has moved,” Mikulski intoned with a husky Baltimore accent. “Can’t you paint for me the picture of how sequester is triggered? Do all the lights go out in federal buildings?”
Well, no, said Daniel Werfel, controller at the White House budget office.
Well, that was quite an epic fail!
More seriously though, the bureaucrats who did play along with the sequester spending cut fear mongering provided some insight into the kind of spending they would choose to cut:
This week, a host of Cabinet secretaries wrote letters and trooped to Capitol Hill hearings to warn that the impact will indeed be calamitous.
Furloughed inspectors will force meat and poultry plants to shut down nationwide. Wait times will soar at airport security and border crossings. Rent checks will be cut off to 10,000 elderly or disabled people and single mothers. And the FBI warned it will be less able to “penetrate and disrupt terrorist plans … prior to an attack.”
We also can’t help but notice that the solution to most of the problems and minor inconveniences that the bureaucrats would appear to be planning to create for the American people when those boring sequester spending cuts take hold could easily be solved by making non-federal cases out of them – taking responsibility for these things out of the hands of the federal government.
Thanks for the idea, federal government bureaucrats!
Source: Library of Congress