by Steve Fair

Sequestration was originally a legal term referring to property being taken by a court and placed in a safe place. But Congress uses the term to describe policy procedure that reduces the federal budget as a result of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985. By the way, Social Security and the Food Stamp program are exempt from the across the board cuts.

Sequestration involves setting a hard cap on the amount of government spending and if Congress appropriates amounts that exceeds these caps, then across-the-board spending cuts, affecting all departments and programs by an equal percentage, go into automatic effect.

President Obama wants Congress to act and vote to stop the automatic cuts from going into effect. He has taken his case directly to the American people with a show stopping performance worthy of an Oscar.

In a meeting with the nation’s Governors on Sunday, the President told them, “This morning you received a report outlining exactly how these cuts will harm middle class families in your states. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off; tens of thousands of parents will have to deal with finding childcare for their children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventative care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.” Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, doesn’t buy it. “I think he’s trying to scare the American people,” Jindal said.

If the President is trying to scare the American people, it appears to be working. In a recent Pew-Washington Post poll, forty five percent of the those polled said that if the cuts go into effect, Republicans are to blame because they control the U.S. House. A third said they would blame the President and thirteen percent said they would blame both parties.

On Saturday evening in Tulsa, four of Oklahoma’s five Congressmen spoke at the Oklahoma Republican Party annual delegation dinner. Based on their statements, it appears sequestration will happen. The Oklahoma delegation- all Republicans- appear to be firm in their resolve to not buckle under the pressure to stop the cuts and to raise taxes.

“They(Obama and the Democrats) are trying to stampede us,” Congressman Frank Lucas said. “Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem- we have a spending problem,”

Congressman James Langford “The debt problem in this country is no longer something that will inpact your children and grandchildren- it’s a real threat to you. This year the federal government will take in more revenue than ever before.”

Congressman Tom Cole said, “Sequestion should be modified, not canceled. It’s not hard to find examples of wasteful government spending. Across the board cuts is not the best way, but it does cut spending.”

Freshman Congressman Jim Bridenstein said, “My concern and I think the concern of a lot of Republicans in Congress, is that once the sequester takes effect, people ware going to be screaming for a deal and that deal ultimately is going to be what the president wants- to raise taxes.”

Congressman Mark Wayne Mullin, who did not attend the dinner, said in a statement, “Reigning in federal spending and balancing our budget isn’t about Republicans or Democrats – it’s about America. Those in Washington are unwilling to make tough decisions so their answer is to cut everyone in an effort to seem fair. That is not good government.”

Three observations:

First, the automatic cuts that will go into effect March 1st are just 0.5% of U.S. GDP. And remember a cut in a government budget is only the projected increase in spending, not what we are currently spending, so many agencies may actually get more money than they have gotten the previous year. Why can’t the federal government run on less money? We have to. The Congressional Budget Office says the cuts will reduce economic growth in the short run, but it says they will increase economic growth in the long run by cutting the federal government’s debt burdens.

Second, at what point are congressional Democrats going to step up to the plate and admit the federal government has a major problem with spending? The Ds solution is always to raise taxes to higher levels, which has been proven throughout history to destroy nations.

Third, across the board cuts are wrong because they penalize government agencies that do a good job with their resources and reward those who squander our tax dollars. When it comes to cuts, one size doesn’t fit all. Identifying and eliminating waste in government is the right solution.

The bottom line is we better be prepared to make some sacrifices (personally and collectively) if we expect America to survive. Let the weeping and wailing begin!

Steve Fair is a political activist.
He serves as National Committeeman for the Oklahoma Republican Party. He is also Chairman of the 4th Congressional District of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He and his wife Debbie live near Duncan, Oklahoma.