“And the reason we are here is because some members of Congress have made a choice to prioritize these cuts over closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.”
This follows last year’s prior abuse, when the White House web site purveyed the following message during the campaign:
“The bad news is that the Republicans in the House of Representatives are refusing to act unless they can also extend cuts for the wealthiest two percent in this country.”
The President has engaged in another unorthodox and legally questionable method of influencing public opinion, as well. The recent establishment of his “Organizing for Action,” group, described as a “nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012” has come under scrutiny for offering private meetings with the President in return for $500,000 contributions.
In addition to the partisan nature of the message, it completely ignores the fiscal cliff deal, which provided fairly hefty tax hikes, not only for the well to do, but also for over 70% of all workers. Most Americans did not expect this, and were rudely shocked when they received their first paychecks in 2013. That fiscal cliff deal was supposed to provide that, in return for tax hikes, spending cuts would follow that would have prevented the need for a sequester. Unfortunately, the White House didn’t live up to its end of the bargain; it got the tax hikes it wanted, but never agreed to spending cuts.
It seems increasingly inexplicable that, at a time when sensitive negotiations should be ongoing, the President continues to resort to inflammatory rhetoric, and meets only briefly with opposition leaders. Instead of sitting down with Congress, he engages in campaign-style trips around the nation, giving fiery class warfare speeches to cheering groups of supporters.
If this seems counterproductive, there may well be a reason. Despite the President’s vocal warnings about sequestration, a concept which he himself originated (despite his protestations to the contrary, and threats against reporter Bob Woodward who pointed this out) the bizarre procedure actually accomplishes one of Mr. Obama’s long standing goals.
Sequestration primarily affects defense spending. No area of federal appropriations has been hit even remotely as much as national security. Almost every civilian employee of the Department of Defense will receive a 20% cut in hours, and for reasons yet to be explained, many of these dedicated individuals have been forbidden from volunteering to work without pay to insure that our military planes and ships are safe, and that our military families get the medical and other care they need. It has been estimated that up to 65% of Army and Marine Corps brigades will be become ineffective due to lack of training funds, and several of our aircraft carriers may have to be docked. (All this while the President continues to press for unilateral U.S. nuclear disarmament.) Representing only 17% of the federal budget, the military is taking almost 50% of all cuts.
The Presidents apocalyptic language about a concept he himself proposed must be seen in light of how Washington actually describes its budgeting process. If a program is scheduled to have a 10% increase but, instead, only gets a 9% increase, that’s considered a “1% cut.” Many of the programs Obama describes as being slashed are actually getting more dollars, just not as much as previously projected. Obviously, this does little to reduce the mammoth U.S. debt or the equally distressing annual deficits.
Sequestration accomplishes Obama’s goal of diminishing the U.S. military while leaving his favored programs relatively intact. He has skillfully outmaneuvered the Republicans in Congress, both through legitimate campaign-style techniques, as well as a unlawfully inappropriate misuse of federal resources such as taxpayer funded official White House email and website resources.