By Louis Avallone
Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher in the TV series, where the teacher made odd, unintelligible sounds whenever communicating with Charlie, Lucy, Linus or any of the other characters in the Peanut’s series?
The teacher would be heard saying, “Wah wah woh wah wah wah wah,” and the children would respond with, “Yes, ma’am,” or “I understand.” The viewer at home was then left to interpret what had been said by the teacher, based on observing the kids’ reactions to the teacher’s “wah wah woh wah wah wah wah.”
Well, this is what it is like trying to understand President Barack Obama’s rhetoric and campaign speak, especially these days.
And many Americans are satisfied to hear “wah wah woh wah wah wah wah” anyways, without details.
One example of this rhetoric is the Obama campaign against the $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts that begin this month. As you may know, from the media coverage, the “sequester” is a $1.2 trillion collection of automatic federal spending cuts that will be made over the next 10 years, with these spending cuts divided evenly between the military budget and domestic spending programs.
Although only 1 in 4 Americans report paying attention to this “sequester” debate at all, a recent Gallop Poll shoed that 57 percent of Americans have concluded that the sequestration cuts will harm the national economy, while 44 percent believe it will harm their personal financial situations. So what did Obama say when he recently commented about the sequester?
Well, he started with scare tactics, causing unnecessary stress to our senior citizens as well as
disheartening millions of families where a mother or father is still looking for a job in an economy where 23 million Americans are out of work.
He said, “Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off,” and “(t)ens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care, like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings,” not to mention that cuts in federal spending “could” force reductions in food inspections, which “could” lead to outbreaks of more food-borne bacteria such as E. coli.
And if that wasn’t enough to get your heart pumping, he ramped up his rhetoric by saying that these mandatory spending cuts will jeopardize our military readiness and “eviscerate jobs and energy and medical research.”
Wow. I think he left out that there will be less baseball, hot dogs and apple pie for everyone too, right? So, when do the locusts arrive?
Well, here are the facts: Even with the $85 billion in spending cuts this year, the federal government will STILL spend more in 2013 than it did in 2012. This year’s spending cuts represent only 2.4 percent of the federal government’s $3.6 trillion budget, and our federal government wastes far more than $85 billion every year – and without the Biblical calamities prophesied by Obama.
Some examples of this waste? Well, it is estimated that the federal government makes at least $72 billion in improper payments each year and that we spend $25 billion annually just maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
Then there’s healthcare fraud that is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually, not to mention a GAO audit recently that found that the Pentagon’s weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion loss in cost overruns.
With all of this said, those scare tactics employed by this White House, regarding the sequester, are collectively a disingenuous, self- serving, ideological effort to avoid shrinking government at any cost, especially when you consider that federal spending will STILL be higher in 2013 than in 2012 (even with the spending cuts) and that federal spending will continue to grow in coming years – exceeding 40 percent of the economy by 2050, and that’s even with Social Security going bankrupt by 2037.
Notwithstanding those scare tactics and Obama’s “sky-is-falling” campaign against any spending cuts, it’s all quite hypocritical – especially from an administration whose own party, in the Democrat-controlled Senate, has not passed a budget in 1,402 days.
And so, we wait, while this administration runs up the federal debt, now expected to be $16.2 trillion by 2016, which is $6.2 trillion more than when Obama first came into office four years ago and while they oppose any spending cuts whatsoever and however small.
The bottom line is that Obama hasn’t redirected America from the slippery slope of financial insolvency. No, in fact, he’s brought his own sled.
And as long as most Americans are satisfied to hear “wah wah woh wah wah wah wah” without knowing the details, it’s just going to be tough sledding for us all.