Oh. My. God. This Friday, it's the end. For those of us hiding under rocks during the past several weeks, March 1 is the Day of Doom, when the Dreaded Sequester will rise, destroying everything in its path. At least that's what the president says...
According to our Fearmonger-in-Chief, the intransigence of those nasty Republicans will cause airplanes to fall from the sky; or at least they will be unable to fly. Thousands more Americans will die from poisoned food, if they don't perish from air pollution first. Schools will be shuttered, condemning students to a lifetime of ignorance. Millions of toddlers will be thrown into the streets. Food will be taken out of the mouths of starving, pregnant women. The terminally ill will be booted out of hospitals across our fair land. The borders of our country will be unprotected, so that anyone may enter to pursue their designs, be they good or ill.
Oh, sorry - that last is the president's immigration plan, which he will doubtless elaborate later. My bad.
It's a vivid image, and a lie. In attempting to foist off the latest crisis-of-the-month on the American people, the Democrat party and the president have clearly revealed their contempt for us all: apparently the White House regards anyone within the sound of Barack Obama's voice as being so illiterate and innumerate as to be incapable of understanding facts. So much for those "higher-level thinking skills" our schools were supposed to impart.
For weeks, the president and his cheerleaders in the press have been yammering about "drastic reductions" or "draconian cuts" to the federal budget. But according to figures released last week by the Congressional Budget Office, spending in Fiscal Year 2014 will actually exceed that of FY 2013 by at least $15 billion. FY 2015 will exceed 2014. 2016 will exceed 2015. Welcome to Washington, D.C., that through-the-looking-glass world where a reduction in the galloping rate of budgetary growth is a "severe cut." I'd actually welcome such a cut, if it allowed me to continue to spend $3.7 trillion a year of other people's money to buy the electorate's support.
As to the president's threatened dangers - or at least, inconveniences - to the traveling public: aren't TSA functions paid for out of fees included in the costs of airline tickets? Did the administration forget its 2011 implementation of new fuel taxes and $100-per-flight fees for any aircraft operating in controlled airspace? This argument is as disingenuous as the president's complaint that the Republicans "only want to protect the rich" from taxes - after they agreed to tax increases of approximately $600 billion in the "fiscal cliff" deal just last month. The president either has a memory problem, or he has decided not to let facts interfere with his divisive political argument. Either way, his cynical misrepresentations do not augur well for a solution to our national addiction to deficit spending.
Then there's the mendacity about who's behind this mess. The president has harped incessantly on Republican culpability, criticizing them for protecting the "evil rich" while watching the nation burn. But the Dreaded Sequester has Barack Obama's fingerprints all over it. In his latest work, "The Price of Politics" Washington insider Bob Woodward (no conservative hack, he...) traces sequestration's origin to a July 27, 2011, meeting among Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Obama Chief of Staff Jack Lew and political adviser Rob Nabors. The three proposed it as a threat to push congress into action on budget "reform." The president approved, so his current attempts to deny responsibility say more about the man than the truth of the matter.
What is the point of the president's campaign du jour? He evidently thinks he can once again whip the unthinking into a populist frenzy for political gain - and he may be right. The evidence of the past four years shows that the mob likes a good story, the simpler the better and with villains and victims enough for a 19th-century melodrama.
Such storytelling might divert attention from the president's wrecking and division, but it will do nothing to address the underlying problem: we refuse to live within our means. "Tax the rich" may be effective in spurring class envy but the truth is, the "top 1 percent" pays 37 percent of all federal personal income tax. The top 5 percent pay almost 70 percent of it. They are now told they must pay more, which exposes this president's appetite for other people's money, and his desire to punish the successful. "Fairness" is just an empty slogan, and that some Americans still buy this hogwash speaks volumes about their credulity, at the very least.
Perhaps all unannounced, we have already had a sequester on reason.
Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.