About the horrors facing us from the sequester:
By Dana Bash and Ted Barrett, CNN | updated 10:02 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
Washington (CNN) – Anticipating possible political backlash if forced federal spending cuts kick in as expected later this week, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican said Monday that he is preparing a message he plans to hit hard: The cuts are not going to have as negative an impact as the Pentagon and others in the Obama administration are saying.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he plans to make the case to other Republicans and the public that despite warnings from the Pentagon that the mandated cuts will be devastating, the overall amount of defense spending will actually still rise.
Cornyn conceded that until now he had been parroting what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta continuously warns — that automatic, government-wide cuts could jeopardize national security.
But the veteran senator said he looked into it and will now argue that even if the cuts go through on March 1, the Pentagon will still see its budget go up.
More at the link.
Your Editor absolutely supports the sequester. He would prefer that it was larger, and that the cuts enforce would be arranged differently, with the majority coming from domestic spending, but the fact, as Senator Cornyn noted, is that Defense spending will still increase, just not as much as antipated.
From another CNN article:
Officials at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Friday canceled their upcoming air shows, citing both budgetary pressures and the expected consequences of sequestration.
“I cannot in good conscience spend some of our limited resources to host an open house while the Defense Department considers potential civilian furloughs,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander at Luke. The open house and air show was scheduled for March 16 and 17.
I have been to air shows at Langley AFB and Oceana Naval Air Station, and they can be awesome, no doubt about that, but they are still luxuries. They were fun Saturday afternoons, but my family and I would still have survived just as well without them.1 The question isn’t why we have to cancel an air show, but why, at a time when we have been borrowing a trillion dollars a year, they were scheduled in the first place.
A statement from the base said officials were taking other money-saving steps, such as deferring non-mission-critical repairs and supply purchases and significantly reducing flying not directly related to pilot training.
“The Air Force has to consider the fiscal challenges affecting the Department of Defense and the nation,” said Col. Korvin Auch, 633rd Air Base Wing commander at Langley. “We’re taking prudent steps now in order to be good stewards of taxpayer resources while focusing on maintaining readiness.”
“Significantly reducing flying not directly related to pilot training” isn’t something that should have been forced by the sequester; prudent decisions on what flights were actually necessary should have been taken not now, but long ago.
Everybody wants to cut waste, fraud and abuse in government spending, but, unfortunately, waste, fraud and abuse don’t come as easily identifiable line items. What Colonel Auch and General Rothstein have done is to have their staffs go through their planed expenditures, to see what could be cut out without harming military readiness, and they found some things that could be cut; they identified waste!
Of course, the air shows can be justified expenditures, for reasons like recruiting and community outreach. But, let’s face facts: every government spending program can be justified by somebody, somewhere, someone who can give you a good reason why a particular program should be continued. And every government spending program has beneficiaries, from people employed by those programs, to vendors who make money off those programs, to people who enjoy those programs. But that a program or expenditure can be justified does not mean that it is a necessity, and the distinction that we have to take, now, is to distinguish between what programs are necessary, and which programs are nice, but are things without which we can still survive.
- There would doubtlessly be a few people hurt by this, primarily the commercial vendors who show up to sell food and souvenirs. That’s tough for them, but your Editor does not see how making sure a couple of hot dog vendors make money some particular weekend justifies spending a few million dollars on an air show. ↩