With apologies to Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about sequestration, but nobody does anything about it.” And nobody talks about it more than the man who promised in November of 2011 to veto attempts to forestall the automatic budget cuts.
Once again, Barack Obama is on the lecture circuit, this time excoriating his obstructionist opponents for their unwillingness to compromise and meet him halfway. Really? Didn’t Republicans do precisely that in January, agreeing, despite their better instincts, to a tax increase on job creators in return for spending cuts?
You’d never know to listen to the president’s minions in Congress. Democratic Senator Claire said yesterday on “Fox News Sunday” that “unless the Republicans are willing to compromise and do a balanced approach,” the cuts are inevitable.
Or listen to the president himself. His Saturday address was a litany of all the evils that will befall the American people if the latest fiscal cliff isn’t averted. Lines at airports will be insufferably long (make that longer). “Parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids” as “thousands of teachers and educators [are] laid off.”
On Sunday, the White House doubled down on ways in which the spending cuts will hurt by doing a state-by-state accounting:
White House officials pointed to Ohio — home of House Speaker John Boehner — as one state that would be hit hard: $25.1 million in education spending and another $22 million for students with disabilities. Some 2,500 children from low-income families would also be removed from Head Start programs.
Officials said their analysis showed Kentucky would lose $93,000 in federal funding for a domestic abuse program, meaning 400 fewer victims being served in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state. Georgia, meanwhile, would face a $286,000 budget cut to its children’s health programs, meaning almost 4,200 fewer children would receive vaccinations against measles and whooping cough.
The White House compiled its state-by-state reports from federal agencies and its own budget office. The numbers reflect the impact of the cuts this year. Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect from March to September.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker Boehner responded by suggesting that the White House “spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it.”
Is he kidding? What fun would that be?