Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thoughts on the Sequester

I find it really interesting! The Obama White House came up with the idea of sequestration — reportedly by Tresury Secretary Designate Jack Lew and with the explicit approval of President Barack Obama. But now that it looks like his idea will go into effect, President Obama is attacking it as the worst idea ever. Fascinating!

Let's look a little more closely at President Obama's idea. A couple of key things stand out.

  1. The first is IT IS NOT A CUT! — it's just a small reduction in the projected increase in the budget. Even with the sequestration, federal spending this year will still be higher than last year — just by not as much as automatically projected.
  2. The second is that the sequestration amounts to just a SMALL PERCENTAGE CUT in the PROJECTED INCREASE in federal spending. IT IS NOT AN ACTUAL CUT IN SPENDING.
In other words, it really looks like the White House hype doesn't match the reality.

And then there are the issues of how the sequester's "cuts" are laid out. This, too, is in a couple of parts.

  1. As the Obama White House designed it, 50% of the cuts are taken from defense — which is less than 20% of the federal budget. That's a much bigger cut, in relative terms, than the cut to the rest of the budget. And ...
  2. The sequester does not specify where those cuts are to be taken. That specification is entirely up to the Executive Branch — the officials of the Obama Administration.
In other words, when President Obama tells us about all the terrible things that will result from the sequester, every single one of those things ie entirely up to him. He will choose where the cuts will be taken. If national parks are closed, it's because Obama chose to close them. If FBI agents are furloughed, it's because Obama chose to furlough them. If teachers are laid off, it's because Obama chose to lay them off. No one else has the authority to make those choices — only President Barack Obama.

So the one person doing all the fear-mongering — for his own purposes — is the one person responsible for whatever damage will be done.

This is what we need to keep in mind throughout the coming weeks and months. And to us all I say buena suerte.

UPDATE: Here's another view of the sequester's impact.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Not to Use a Chainsaw

Seems to me this guy might be about to become a candidate for the Darwin Award.

UPDATE: One friend e-mailed to note the title of the post is exactly right — the guy's not using any safety glasses or hearing protection!