March 20, 2013 - I know there's nary a soul in the good ol' U S of A who's clicking their heels and dancing a jig over our Federal government's inability to be open, honest, frugal or any other trait Americans profess to process. (Sorry about mentioning clicking of heals and dancing a jig --I'm still basking in the afterglow of St. Patrick's Day.)
I bring this up because of that smackin' frackin' thing called "sequestration."
First, what a stupid name. Sequestration, sounds like the government types wanted to either put their heads in the sand so they couldn't hear the American people, or they wanted to keep any bit of any truth sealed from the American people. Either way, sequestration doesn't sound like a budget operation. Surely not a decrease in spending.
Clarkston business-type Stefanie brought me a copy of the March 4, 2013 Navy Times. The big, banner headline on the cover read:
Troops to Obama & Congress:
STOP WRECKING OUR MILITARY
39 ways you're paying for Washington's failures
You can see where soldiers stand on the cuts. But, isn't it just like governmental bodies (local, school, country state or federal) to make sure any cut comes in the most painful ways?
Locally, they say if we don't raise more "revenue" they will have to layoff teachers, bus drivers, police or firefighters. How many of the top administrators take significant cuts?
On the Federal level, soldiers get worked over. They are 'sposed to stay fit, yet open gym hours got whacked; we want 'em lean, mean and ready, yet instead of continued training they'll pick up the cuts by picking up more maintenance detail, cutting grass and washing windows.
Soldiers will make do, I know. They'll do what their orders say, but it doesn't seem like this sequestration business is all on the up and up. It don't seem legit.
I hopped on the internet and read stuff from a diverse bunch of writers -- writers from websites by Mother Earth to Heritage.org, from California to Minnesota to New York.
Heck, I even started to wade through the 394 page, OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, put out by the White House. (I only recommend it if you want to fall asleep.)
And, what commonality did I find? The sequestration isn't a cut in spending so much as it is a cut to an increase in spending.
In English this means, if you got $5 from me this year, were expecting $7 next year and I sequestered my spending to you, you'd only get $6 next year. While not as good as $7, the buck increase is still better than a sharp stick to the eye.
I'll give you a few quotes.
"Federal spending is projected to grow from $3.6 trillion in 2013 to more than $6 trillion by 2023, a 69 percent increase without sequestration. Even with sequestration, federal spending would still grow by 67 percent. Sequestration barely even slows the growth in spending, let alone cuts any spending out of the overall budget . . . In 2013, spending is projected to grow by $57 billon without sequestration and by $15 billion with sequestration." -- Romina Boccia
* * *
"Actually, these sequestration cuts are merely cuts in increased government spending, not real budget cuts ... there are a number of programs exempted from sequester cuts, including: Child nutrition (school lunch program), Federal-aid highway programs, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (Healthy Families), Military salaries, Pell grants, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Veterans' benefits and health care . . ." -- Katy Grimes
* * *
"The cuts that will actually take place this year are barely over one percent of the $3.6 trillion federal budget. Moreover, they will quickly be overwhelmed by renewed growth in federal spending. " -- Robert Robb
Here's my guess.
Congressmen and women will take a lot of time off from work and in the end there will be another increase in taxes coming this year. And, I for one am excited by this prospect. Heck, after the hike in January, my taxes have gone up over a grand this year. Gee, guess I clicked my heals and jigged too soon.
By a show of hands out there, how many folks have handled budget cuts in your household? How many have been down-sized out of a job? How many feel their elected officials are looking out for them?
What are your thoughts? E-mail, Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org