From President Obama’s perspective, the problem with the sequester is that the cuts haven’t hurt people enough for the public to understand the total folly of actually cutting the federal budget. Never mind that the sequester does not actually cut the federal budget–it only slows the rate of growth. But let’s look at some of the things that the sequester has cut, and let’s look at some of the places that could easily be cut in the federal budget.
Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an editorial about the amount of overlapping and duplicated programs in the federal government. The editorial pointed out that according to the Government Accountability Office, which on Tuesday released its 2013 report on fragmentation and duplication of federal programs there are an estimated $95 billion in duplicative programs that waste precious tax dollars.
The editorial cites several examples:
Having three agencies doing catfish safety inspections may strike some as funny, but there is nothing to laugh about in the Department of Homeland Security having $568 million worth of overlapping research and development programs. Or that Department of Defense foreign language training services are provided by 159 separate contracting groups at a cost of $200 million. And why should taxpayers have to foot $15 billion worth of duplicative renewable energy programs?
This is the place where politics enters the picture. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to go through federal spending and eliminate waste and duplication than to cut spending in places where it has a visible negative impact? Of course–that’s why it is not being done that way.
There are two other stories on the internet this morning loosely related to this editorial. The first, found in the U.K. Mail yesterday, describes a star-studded concert held at the White House on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, children cannot tour the White House because of the financial restraints of sequestration. How much did the American taxpayers pay for last night’s party? The other story is from yesterday’s Providence Journal. The Navy has announced that the rest of the year’s performances by the aerial performance team the Blue Angels have been canceled for budget reasons. That means that they will not be performing at the Quonset Point Air Show this summer. This is just ridiculous. The air show is not solely for entertainment purposes–it is a major recruiting tool for the American military. There is a possibility that the entire air show may be cancelled, which will make things more difficult for military recruiters in the Rhode Island area.
By playing politics with the sequestration rather than dealing with major financial issues facing America, the Obama Administration and those in Congress who support this administration have done a great disservice to the American people. It is now the responsibility of the American people to vote out of office those politicians who are playing games with the federal budget rather than solving the spending problem.