The Cost Of Mismanagement

The cuts to the defense budget in sequestration were much larger than they should have been–that was the only way that the Democrats would have even considered sequestration as an alternative to working out a sensible budget. However, the way the cuts have been implemented does not reflect a lot of wisdom on the part of the people making the decisions. Just as in the recent government shutdown, many of the sequester cuts were made in places where it would be most obvious–not in places were it would actually make sense.

On Thursday, posted an article about one area where the cuts did more harm than good. One place where the Defense Department made cuts was in the air shows put on in various areas of the country. These air shows provide entertainment, but in many cases have a much broader purpose–the provide a chance for Americans to interact with our military.  The air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was cancelled the day before it was supposed to take place.

According to the article, the cancellation of that air show cost the base between $600,000 and $700,000.

The article further reports:

Last year’s air show netted $1.6 million in profit, which goes back into Marine Corps Community Services programs on base, including family readiness programs, the youth and teen center, and fitness programs, officials said.
The Miramar air show was originally scheduled for Oct. 4-6, but sequestration cuts grounded many military planes and helicopters. The base asked the Pentagon for a waiver to allow them to fly military aircraft at the show, and when it was denied, officials decided the show would go on anyway.
The sequestration version of the air show was to be two days long and feature civilian flying demonstrations and acrobatics, along with military aircraft parked on the tarmac.

And while the show is typically paid for with sponsorship money, appropriated and nonappropriated funds, no appropriated-fund monies were to be used for this year’s event, said Lt. Chad Hill, a Miramar spokesman.

Among other things, the military air shows give Americans a chance to see what their military is doing and to meet many of the members of the military. Aside from raising money to support military families, the shows are a good way to remind the public that there are many brave young men and women serving our country in the military.
Unfortunately, when the government was shut down, the show had to be cancelled again.

The article reports:

Then the government shut down. Base officials continued moving forward with the show, but were told the morning before it was to begin that all nonessential activities — including outreach events like the air show — were not authorized under a shutdown.
Many of the acts were already on base preparing when Farnham held another press conference.
The Pentagon’s restrictions were “more than I had the authority to overcome,” he said. “The timing probably couldn’t be worse … but it is what it is.”

The fact that the government was shut down was unfortunate, but the fact that the shutdown was managed by a group of petulant leaders who chose to punish the American people for the shutdown was truly despicable. It is a shame that we have such petty people running our country.

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Where The Sequester Really Hurts

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.

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