While I was gone, the sequester went into effect. It was supposed to be the end of the world. Somehow, I don’t think we’re quite at the end yet, and when we do get there, it won’t be because we cut back our planned increased spending by a little over 2%. There’s nothing drastic about this, yet you wouldn’t know it from all the dire warnings emanating from the White House. But it seems to me we’ve heard this rhetoric before. For those with short memories, here’s a reminder:
Screaming “crisis” over something that is not a crisis has become standard operating procedure for this administration. There was even a proposed bill that would have given President Obama the discretion to cut back on things that were not going to affect the public directly. He didn’t support it. Why not?
The plain truth is that he wants these cuts to hurt. He wants to target those things that will annoy the public and make
his subjects American citizens demand restoration of the funds. I experienced this directly when we were disembarking from our cruise ship. An announcement came over the loudspeaker saying they were just informed that the government had cut back on the number of customs agents in the terminal, so we would have to wait longer to get off the ship. A minor inconvenience, to be sure, but just enough of an annoyance to make people upset. The administration hopes they will blame the Republicans.
The most visible signal of this policy was the cancellation of White House tours. Even though the salary of the man who takes care of the president’s dog is greater than the cost of those tours, our leader chose to cut the tours instead. Sending a message and seeking political advantage seem to be behind most of his decisions. Cartoonists have picked up on the ludicrousness of this tactic:
So no school tours, but, as I noted before my cruise vacation, anyone who ponies up $500,000 can be put on a presidential advisory board. Given a choice between allowing school children to see the “People’s House” or rolling out the red carpet for donors, the president clearly has his priorities:
The cynicism of it all is rather nauseating:
Bill Clinton using the White House as a bed and breakfast for donors was tacky enough. This raises tackiness to new heights.