Oh the Humanity: Sequester Reduces Government Conference Travel

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Each year, the federal government wastes hundreds of billions of dollars on fraud, duplication, and other inefficiencies, many times the size of sequestration’s “cuts” to the federal budget. Over at The New York Times, however, the narrative of sequestration’s “harm” must be maintained:

Five months after gridlock in Washington triggered the deep spending cuts known as sequestration, much of the United States government is grounded.

Most government travel budgets have been cut this year by 30 percent, the result of an administration directive forcing managers to make difficult policy decisions about whom to send, where to send them and for how long. The result, agency officials say, is a government that cannot conduct essential business and is embarrassing itself abroad.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is having none of it:

Hopefully what you will have is more sound judgment at these agencies about what is critical travel and what isn’t,” Mr. Coburn said. “There is no question that federal employees should have some travel and go to some conferences, but most of it has nothing to do with their jobs. It’s a perk.”

Exactly. Until federal workers can prove their bureaucracies have wasted money under control, American taxpayers will continue playing the world’s smallest violin for them.

Also in the article are two inaccuracies that the Times should retract. First, it says sequestration consists of “deep cuts,” even though the federal budget will grow despite the “cuts.” While certain agencies may take actual cuts, the article fails to acknowledge that sequestration is inadequate the task of actually reducing federal spending.

Related, the article says sequestration is taking place because the President and Congress were “unable to reach an accommodation on how to reduce the nation’s debt.” In fact, sequestration was intended to reduce the nation’s deficits each year for the next decade, but never actually balances the budget or reduces debt.

The Times’ narrative needs a little work… or a training conference on how to use Google.