“You never let a crisis go to waste.” – Former Obama White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Fortunately for President Barack Obama, he doesn’t need to fret over lost opportunities as it seems there’s always a fresh crisis lurking around the corner.
The latest fire to put out is the fight over the sequestration, automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending.
In the days leading up to the deadline, the president has gone on the road lamenting the cuts and trying to rally the public against them in an attempt to once again buffalo enough Republicans in Congress into raising taxes. The president has demonstrated that he’d rather play politics than talk turkey with the GOP leadership.
While the debt clock keeps ticking higher.
Judging by his rhetoric on the sequester and his inability to part ways with a relative measly $85 billion (less than 3%) out of a $3.6 TRILLION budget, nobody in Congress or in America should have any faith that President Obama is capable, willing or interested in balancing the budget outside of massive tax increases.
If the president does believe federal government has a spending problem, it’s that Washington is not spending enough.
The president is trying to accomplish a few goals through his scare-a-nomics talk.
First, condition the public to oppose all cuts to federal spending. He wants people to have the same instinctual reaction to the word “cut” that dogs have to an ultrasonic whistle.
Secondly, use the sequester as a ready-made excuse for the inevitable tumble back to recession when employees start to receive pink slips when his national health care plan is fully implemented. While the sequester will have had little to do with a business needing to cope with the additional overhead that is part of ObamaCare, you can bet the president will be playing “Pin the Blame on the Speaker” when the unemployment rate returns to its Obama presidency average.
Third, the president is once again trying to divide the Republican Party by baiting some Republicans into going along with modest tax increases that won’t be so modest if the GOP goes along with adding new revenue everytime a convenient crisis springs up.
Now, for a moment, let’s buy into the president’s fear-mongering about the sequester. If the president is correct about so many facets of American society being adversely affected by a slight cut in the federal budget, then it’s an indication about how far the federal government has reached into our society and how much work small government advocates have before them.
But what happens if the Republican House does not blink (I’ll concede this is a big assumption), the cuts are made and the world remains largely as it was before the budget received a haircut with a number eight clipper?
Though largely protected by his praetorian guard in the media, President Obama risks looking like a Mayan calendar prepper on the morning of December 22nd . An uneventful doomsday may encourage the public to support additional budgetary reductions.
But what if the projected inconveniences do play out? Speaker Boehner & Co. will receive some short term blame though the ensuing potential fallout might lead to an investigation on how internal administrative decisions were made by agencies reacting to the sequestration, specifically looking for instances where the public was arbitrarily made to “feel pain” to defend their ever-growing budgets.
Government exists to serve. Agencies and bureaus that put a greater premium on existence than service should become endangered species.
While the term-limited Obama would be personally immune to blowback to a sequestration game gone badly, he’ll be digging a deep hole for whatever Democrat aims at being his successor. Americans voted to re-elected President Obama not so much because they agreed with him or thought things were going fine (polling data indicates that he won despite the state of the country) but because they personally liked him more than the other guy.
Congressmen, on the other hand, tend to win not because of their charisma but because of the issues and positions they advocate. The House of Representatives is determined by principle while the presidency is a popularity contest.
The sequester crisis is the latest failure of President Obama as a leader. He’s prove unable to work with a branch of government and has refused to take seriously a national debt albatross that has only ballooned during his time in office.