President Obama has begun to sweat bullets over the prospect that there will actually be drastic budget cuts that he can do nothing to stop. Worry over the whole thing led him to huddle in Florida last weekend with his top budget strategist, Tiger Woods. Despite all of their best efforts however, they were unable to come up with a plan to avoid these draconian cuts. Of course, these cuts are not drastic, and in fact, they aren’t really cuts, but even the prospect of a cut in the rate of growth in spending is enough to send the man into a tizzy.
The current debate surrounding the pending sequestration, or automatic budget cuts, is clear evidence that our federal government has become dysfunctional and incompetent. This process was called for and signed into law by President Obama, and made necessary by his inability to lead his own party through the normal budgetary process even once during his presidency. Although he is making a lot of noise about the dire consequences of the coming cuts, it is his insistence on more tax increases that has brought us to this point.
The President would have us believe that we are yet again on the brink of financial disaster and that the whole economy will collapse if we allow across the board budget cuts of $85 billion. Current federal spending is at about $3.8 trillion, so the cuts would amount to less than a 3 percent reduction in spending. Of course, these are not real cuts; they are in reality cuts in the rate of increase in spending, so no federal agency will receive less money to operate on than it did last year.
I see this sequestration as a complete failure by our elected leaders, and I believe it is the wrong way to cut the budget. That being said however, bad cuts are better than no cuts at all. If this is the only way they can happen, then bring it on. Naturally there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but a little teeth gnashing in Washington is long overdue anyway.
Will this happen? Probably not; our elected officials are quite adept at kicking the can down the road and are almost sure to do so again. At the last minute I am confident they will yet again find a way to shirk their responsibilities and find some way out of it. The can will be kicked, and off we will go to yet another high speed run at yet another fiscal cliff.