Rick Sanchez: The Sequester Protester

We are just days away from the sequester kicking in — $85 billion in automatic budget cuts affecting defense and domestic programs.

President Obama has called the specter of sequester a “meat-cleaver” that would put us in seemingly mortal danger. He says people will lose their jobs. He says the sequester is “brutal,” and that it will “eviscerate” things of dire importance. According to the president, everything from our national defense, military readiness, disaster response, healthcare, education, medical research, border security, air traffic control and airport security will be affected, weakened, reduced and put at risk.

It all sounds very dangerous. And scary.

So who could be behind such an ominous idea? Who could be behind the sequester and the doom that is about to befall us?

Whether it’s crony capitalism, corporate welfare, pork barrel spending, government waste or non-essential government bureaucracy, most Americans would not mind, notice or even be affected if we cut $85 billion in spending.

— Rick Sanchez

On Friday, Bob Woodward wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post where he asked (and answered) that very same question: who is responsible for the sequester? And the simple answer is one that Woodward learned of first-hand when he wrote his most recent book, "The Price of Politics": President Obama and his administration came up with the sequester.

Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, the most vocal sequester protester is actually the sequester requester.

It’s a fact that President Obama has been trying to run from. He’s tried to blame Republicans, and tried his best to scare people about what might happen if the sequester comes to pass. Worse than all of this, President Obama has even outright lied about his role in making the sequester a reality.

During the third presidential debate, the president said,  “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.”

But that was false. Woodward —whose reporting is renown and meticulous, and has caught presidents in lies before (Watergate, anyone?)— tells a different story: “The president … had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book… shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House…. [And] Obama personally approved of the plan… to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).”

And so the sequester was President Obama’s idea, he supported it and he pushed for it. But he's done a 180 and is now leading the sequestration condemnation.

The president now believes that $85 billion in spending cuts will be the end of the world as we know it. He tells us the sky is falling.

But like Chicken Little, he’s wrong.

$85 billion in cuts may sound like a big number until you realize that our budget is $3.6 trillion. Are we to believe that cutting 2.3 percent of our budget will cripple us? Are we to believe that we won’t be able to survive on 97.7 percent of our current spending?

According to the president, yes. And he has painted a “doomsday” scenario for us. If the sequester happens, there will be less airport security, less air traffic controllers, and thus travel will be unsafe. Food inspections will be cut —and with our food supply at risk, what will we eat? With travel and food impacted, I suppose we’ll all just stay home and starve. Call it starvation by sequestration.

Last week, President Obama said, “…the threat of these [sequester] cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”

Question: if the USS Truman is so important to our national defense, if our Navy is being hampered by the sequester and we’re now at risk, why are we advertising this to our enemies, Mr. President?

The reason is simple: it’s not true. If we were truly at military risk, I cannot believe our Commander in Chief would simply share this with the world. And that leaves only one explanation: these fantastic claims of sequestration fabrication are solely for domestic consumption.

The fact is that the Navy chose not to send the USS Truman to the Persian Gulf for pure partisan politics. Not sending the aircraft carrier helps bolster the president’s case against the sequester.

To believe the sequester is preventing us from sending the USS Truman to the Gulf is to believe that the Navy cannot cut anything else from its budget, that it cannot find anything else to cut, that everything else is more important than deploying the USS Truman. The civilian workforce? Pay raises? Office supplies? Uniforms? A million other items? President Obama thinks that these things are all untouchable, but sending an aircraft carrier to Iran’s backyard is expendable.

This either makes President Obama the worst military tactician in history, or a brilliant political one. The former is too frightening, so I choose to believe the latter —that this is simply sequestration misrepresentation, that these claims about the sequester are scare tactics, political theater designed to help the president win a political endgame.

It also means that President Obama is either unwilling or unable to make any cuts at all.

But as individuals, we know this is ridiculous.  It’s not how we live our own lives. And it defies common sense.

We all have checkbooks we have to balance.  Income versus expenses. We have credit card bills we have to pay. And if we don’t have enough income coming in, if our expenses are too high, we have to cut our spending.

If you or I had to cut 2.3 percent of our budget, to do with less than 3 percent of what we have now, could we do it and survive? Could we still have food, clothes and money for gas and all the essentials we need while shaving less than 3 percent from our spending? We all know the answer is yes.

But for some reason, Washington is allergic to common sense. Instead of doing what any responsible person would do, our government is spending money it doesn’t have, printed on paper it bought on credit from China.

And the president would rather scare us than solve the problem. He’d rather engage in the worst kind of manipulative partisan politics —the politics of fear— than actually suggest different spending cuts he likes.

If President Obama doesn’t like the sequester that he himself suggested, if the sequester is really doomsday, if the cuts are dangerous and will affect our national security, then why not find another $85 billion in cuts that aren't so apocalyptic?

The fact is there’s plenty to cut — starting with the president’s BS.

Whether it’s crony capitalism, corporate welfare, pork barrel spending, government waste or non-essential government bureaucracy, most Americans would not mind, notice or even be affected if we cut $85 billion in spending. If we are to balance our national checkbook, cuts are essential — and $85 billion is as good a number as any.