Sequester scare tactics vs. reality


Today, sequestration kicks in. The Beltway crowd has spent the last several months claiming these minor spending reductions will greatly harm the country, and the Obama Administration in particular has said sequestration will delay air travel because of $600 million in budget reductions, leave tens of thousands of parents scrambling for child care, and force prosecutors to “let criminals go.”

At the above three links, the “fact-checking” site PolitiFact has given some cover to the Administration. According to PolitiFact, the last claim is “Mostly False,” the child care claim “Half True,” and the air travel claim “Mostly True.” However, these all assume the Administration “cuts” spending in these areas in the way it is threatening to.

In reality, PolitiFact should have said all of these claims are false. The Administration could eliminate a sliver of spending that would stop inefficient, corrupt spending and hold to its alleged vow of not subsidizing wealthy Americans. It could cut the $11.5 billion in subsidies America has spent each of the last four years on farmers. With 70% of farm subsidies going to upper-income farmers, and President Obama having supported eliminating subsidies for at least upper-income farmers in 2011, this should be a no-brainer.

Estimates differ on exactly how much goes out to farmers – the Fiscal Times said last April farm subsidies average between $15 billion and $20 billion annually – but even $11.5 billion is nothing to shrug at. In fact, if the President would eliminate this subsidy to the wealthy, it would eliminate one-fourth of the sequester’s alleged “cuts.” It would mostly impact those who are colluding with Washington politicians, not the average farmer who runs a farm like most businesses are run – through hard work and risk-taking, not back-slapping with the Beltway crowd.

PolitiFact and many others in the media are allowing – whether purposely or by accident – the Administration to dictate the discussion and public debate over sequestration. The fact is that the emergency Washington claims sequestration will cause to middle-class families, the poor, etc. is a complete farce. If the politicians would be honest and stop giving your tax dollars to their buddies, far more than 2% of the budget would vanish.

Oh, and the Administration’s claim that the $85 billion will devastate spending? Turns out the $85 billion is really $44 billion in “cuts” in 2013. It’s barely over 1% of the entire federal budget. Queue the apocalypse.