Almost everyone has heard of Barack Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope". As the Obama presidency continues, it is becoming increasingly obvious that it should have been titled "The Audacity of Arrogance".
According to liberal news icon the Washington Post (October 26, 2012), it was the Obama administration that proposed sequestration as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. At the time, Obama claimed that it was the best way to ensure cuts to government spending. In fact he pledged to veto any legislation that revoked the sequestration clause in the bill.
Fast forward to February 2013 and Obama has pivoted 180 degrees. In February, when Republicans in congress refused to raise taxes further (after already raising them by $160 billion in January), Obama hit the campaign trail. First he tried to claim that the sequester was proposed by Republicans. As a condition of avoiding the sequester, Obama demanded that congress eliminate tax deductions and income credits. He predicted, that if congress refused, the results would be an economic Armageddon. According to Obama, if the sequester went into effect, the government itself would face an Apocalypse. Society would start to crumble.
But then the American public started hearing the facts. Post reporter Bob Woodward of Watergate fame confirmed that then White House Budget Director Jack Lew had proposed the sequester to Harry Reid in July 2011. At the time Obama thought that Republicans wouldn't buy into any proposal that included limited spending on national defense. He figured they'd cave quickly.
Meanwhile the White House's own budget office, confirmed that the dreaded $85 billion in spending cuts decried by the president amount to only a 2.3% cut in the federal government's current spending authority. And it is only 1.2% of total federal spending this year. When voters learned this, they scoffed at Obama's rhetoric. Millions of American families have had to tighten their belts and cut a lot more than 1.2% from their own household budgets during the last four years. They're not stupid, and they didn't buy Obama's hype.
Then the Treasury Department admitted that the "cuts" aren't really cuts at all. Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year and 30% more than it did in 2007. It won't really reduce government spending. It will only slow its growth. After learning this, voter dismay turned to disgust.
So Obama changed tactics. He decided to make the spending cuts required by the sequester bill (a bill he signed) in the most painful way possible. With first responders, educators and children as props, Obama announced that sequestration will forcibly imperil everything from pre-school to medical screening. According to Obama, sequestration even prevents the Pentagon from deploying aircraft carriers in support of US troops serving abroad (a wild and irresponsible claim quickly debunked by Bob Woodward).
Fortunately, a few responsible media outlets delved into the details of sequestration, and again informed the American public. As it turns out, the sequester occurs at a spending level known as budget accounts. Within those budget accounts are hundreds, even thousands of line item projects, programs and activities, also known as PPAs. If the president wanted to, he could protect key programs by selectively cutting costs on a case by case basis. The sequester is not the meat cleaver he claims it is.
What's more, Republicans in congress have repeatedly offered the president the option of granting department heads "transferring authority" to shift cash between accounts, thus giving them even greater flexibility when reducing spending.
But Obama isn't really interested in cutting speinding. He'd rather force the Defense Department to continue using biofuels at $27 per gallon than avoid laying off civilian workers. He won't stop giving away "Obama Phones", even if that's what it takes to have enough funds to ensure the safety of America's food supply. And he won't try to free up funds by getting serious about eliminating the $62 billion in annual waste in Medicare and Medicaid identified by his own Department of Health & Human Services.
That's because the only thing Barack Obama's actually serious about is transferring wealth to grow the size and power of his nanny state. He has very little respect for the American people. If he can't get his way, he'll make everybody feel the maximum amount of pain - even the middle class he claims to champion. Obama thinks he knows better than the citizens he is supposed to represent, and when it comes right down to it, he really doesn't care what they think anyway. If he can't con them into suppporting his socialist agenda, he'll try to bully them into it.