This weekend, President Obama deployed his entire team of lackeys to detail the parade of horribles that will supposedly inevitably follow the implementation of the sequester on March 1. The sequester, a package of $1.2 trillion in cuts to future spending, was originally President Obama’s idea. But now, in an attempt to leverage Americans into accepting still-higher taxes, Obama says that should the sequester hit, the world as we know it will fall into darkness.
On Saturday, Obama released his weekly internet address. Amidst the usual hash of half-truths and demagoguery, Obama blamed Republican intransigence for all of the horrors to be unleashed on the American people, up to and including plagues of locusts:
[I]t appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising – instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans – they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class …. Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?
Sure, the top taxpayers just got smacked on January 1 with a dramatic tax increase. And sure, the American people got smacked, too. But it’s Republicans who are extreme, because they’re not willing to sacrifice the entire economy to President Obama’s myopic focus on class warfare.
Obama wasn’t the only member of his administration detailing just how awful life would be if we cut 2.4 percent of future spending this year (we will actually spend more money this year than we did last year on the federal level). Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hit all the Sunday shows to depict America as a post-apocalyptic nightmare should the sequester kick in. He told Candy Crowley of CNN’s State of the Union, “In the end, there has to be some kind of furlough of air traffic controllers, and that then will also begin to curtail or eliminate the opportunity for them to guide planes in and out of airports.”
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to explain that our kiddies will be left to fend without those glorious unionized teachers: “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall … We don’t have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs,” said Duncan. Then, channeling his boss’ faux outrage, Duncan stated, “The fact that this is so easily avoidable is why I’m so angry.”
So why did Obama design the sequester in the first place? Duncan explained that it was all just a political tool to raise taxes: “Sequester was set up to be painful to everybody, recognizing the dysfunction of Congress, to be so painful it would force people to come to the table.”
Republicans, unfortunately, continue to play into the Democrats’ game on sequestration. They say that Obama and Co. are exaggerating (Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “Shame on Ray Lahood” on Sunday) but that the sequester is still a “terrible” problem, in the words of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). This is the height of foolishness. If we cannot cut 2.4 percent of future spending, how on earth do Republicans expect to convince the American people that the federal government is far too large? If the country will be crippled by a 2.4 percent cut to the federal spending level, how can Republicans reasonably expect the American people to oppose Obama’s spend-more-all-the-time narrative?
Republicans continue to be outplayed by demagoguing Democrats at every turn. Their pathetic reticence to embrace spending cuts means that Democrats will continue to grow government, raise taxes, and defeat Republicans electorally in the process.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).