With the White House fully engaged in scaring the bejeezus out of Americans over sequestration, it comes as no surprise today to see the White House tweeting pictures of American soldiers, with this caption: “THIS IS ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM. AUTOMATIC SPENDING CUTS – KNOWN AS THE SEQUESTER – WOULD REDUCE FUNDING FOR ARMY BASIC TRAINING AND MAINTENANCE, LEAVING TWO-THIRDS OF ACTIVE DUTY TROOPS OUTSIDE AFGHANISTAN WITH DANGEROUSLY REDUCED LEVELS OF READINESS.”
Barack Obama designed sequestration. To be more specific, he reportedly insisted on defense cuts as the hallmark of the sequestration. But is it true that training and maintenance will be slashed, harming our troops? According to John F. Cooney, an expert on sequestration, former Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice, and counsel for the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, while sequestration gives little flexibility in cuts across programs, there is lots of flexibility within programs:
The agencies will face the enormous burden of determining how to apply the uniform percentage reduction to each PPA. The Department of Defense alone has more than 2,500 PPAs, and collectively the other agencies have thousands more. Making thousands of individualized decisions about how to cut spending uniformly in specific programs will be a Herculean task. Within an individual PPA, the agencies will have great discretion in determining how to allocate the reductions utilizing the three tools available: cutting public services, furloughing staff, and cutting government contracts.
In other words, the Defense Department and new incompetent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will apparently have the ability to allocate certain cuts. President Obama simply wants the cuts to be as damaging as possible to our military to make the general point that government cuts are bad, and Republicans are for them.
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).