Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let’s call Obama’s Bluff over Cuts

Obama has warned that the sequester — in which $1.2 trillion automatic cuts to government spending begin March 1 — could have wide-ranging, devastating effects to the nation, leading to furloughs for some government employees that could mean, among other effects, fewer meat inspections.

Anyone who really believes that the Federal Government will simply stop functioning if the automatic spending cuts kick in – is simply naïve. To be quite honest – I think the President is full of bluster.

Small history lesson - United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996

The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget (sound familiar). The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. The federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services from November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days. The major players were President Clinton and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

Clinton opposed Republicans and said their amendments to a then federal spending plan would strip the U.S. Treasury of its ability to “dip into federal trust funds” to avoid a borrowing crisis.

Does this sound familiar? Spending limits and borrowing crisis’ – some things have not changed.

Take the time to look up what the definition of Trust Funds is. By law and by definition they are not allowed to be touched. For an example of these Trust Funds that Conservative Republicans have been continually trying to protect from the spend-a-holics; please see my last post - A History Lesson on Social Security.

The shutdown of 1995 and 1996 (as with any temporary shutdown) – only furloughed non-essential employees. Essential services still continued; such as – Social Security Checks will still funded, printed and mailed – the Military around the world and here continued to function and be paid. Obama’s claim is bluster at the least and most likely fear-mongering. Grandma and Grandpa are still going to receive their Social Security Checks.

If the government shuts down for any period of time – it will force the opposing sides of this argument to find a compromise. If the President was at least one of the parties who are currently willing to compromise – he would not be saying that the spending cuts will have – “devastating effects to the nation, leading to furloughs for some government employees”.

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