In the days approaching January 1, 2000 there were warnings from various sources that at 12:01 A.M. on January 1st, the world would cease to function. Airplanes would fall from the skies, all computers would go berserk, communications would cease and civilization would be endangered. Companies of all sizes spent millions of dollars with consultants preparing for the inevitable. What happened on that famous January day and the days thereafter? Hardly a whimper and all of us breathed a sigh of relief.
Now after weeks of dire warnings by Obama and his acolytes, March 1st of this year came and went. The only notable result of the sequester was the giant serving of crow presented to the most corrupt and dangerous administration in modern history.
Obama himself predicted if he didn’t get his way, all airplane flights would be endangered by air controller layoffs, teachers would be fired, firemen wouldn’t put out fires and literally civilization would be disrupted. Even before the effective date of sequestration, the Obama administration proceeded with acts nothing short of criminal. As examples, 2000 prisoners were released and Obama’s education guru said some 300 teachers were given pink slips. Within hours of this announcement it was determined their releases had nothing to do with sequestration, but who cares – the damage is done.
As noted in The Wall Street Journal what Obama is trying to do is implement the sequester as rudely as possible so that he can extract another tax increase. The president declared, “The problem is the Republicans have adopted an iron-clad rule that we will not accept an extra dime’s worth of revenue.” He is convinced the low-information voters won’t remember these same Republicans reluctantly agreed in January to 6.2 trillion dimes in tax increases in return for zero dimes of spending restraints.
Here we are fighting over an absolute miniscule amount which are not “cuts and slashes” as reported in the Dem-Gaz and all over television, but a simple REDUCTION IN THE INCREASE. The exception to this is in national defense, and that is an area we should maintain at present levels or perhaps increase.
There is such a simple answer to this quagmire. The Republican House of Representatives have made a feeble try but even that is hardly reported. The simple solution is to reduce the compensation and reduce the number of government employees in all areas outside the military.
Page 2 of 3 - USA Today, not exactly a conservative rag, has recently reported in two different studies that our federal government employees are vastly overpaid and vastly under worked. USA Today tells us, and this has been confirmed by other studies, that for the same type of work the feds pay their workers between 150 percent and 200 percent compare to workers in private industry. In addition, the hours worked by federal employees average some 8 percent less than private workers.
The solution therefore is simple and equitable. Reduce the federal workers by the tens of thousands and for the remaining workers reduce their pay and have them work longer hours. An auxiliary move would be to reduce the overly generous pensions paid to the hundreds of thousands of “retired” federal employees. These people should definitely participate in true “budget cuts” just as in some European countries where pensions and government pay has been reduced 20 to 25 percent.
Because of payroll tax increases, millions of Americans have had to tighten their belts by 2 percent. And yet a 2 percent reduction in non-entitlement spending is considered an absolute impossibility for a country that borrows almost 40 cents of every dollar it spends. If we can’t agree on such a tiny cut back of increases, it is difficult to be optimistic for future generations.
A 2011 GAP report gave a sampling of what could be cut in Washington – 44 overlapping job training programs, 18 for nutrition, 82 on teacher quality, 56 dealing with financial literacy, and 20 for homelessness and on and on. The annual cost of these programs is around three times the amount of the entire domestic sequester.
Are any of these on the chopping block? No, as pointed out by Charles Krauthammer. Instead, shut down the firehouse, sell the fire truck and make it difficult for every American. If that doesn’t make you quake in your boots, Obama can release the remaining federal prisoners, close all federal parks and do whatever it takes to submit to our socialist king.
All this nonsense about such a minor part of the federal budget. Our entitlements now are in excess of 60 percent of our budget while 50 years ago these entitlements were 20 percent. Until we start addressing these major budget elements, haggling over minor budget expenditures will encompass our energy and time. We certainly need God’s help once again.
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(Jerry Jackson of Heber Springs writes his “conservative viewpoint” column each week)