Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

March 7, 2013

Messer: Control spending sensibly

— This column was submitted by  Luke Messer.

When it comes to the sequester, President Obama is putting politics first.  The President claims that sequester cuts would be “draconian,” creating major disruptions in everything from air travel to public safety to food inspections.  The truth is that, even with the sequester cuts, federal spending will be slightly higher this year than last.

The sequester calls for $85 billion in spending cuts, and that is a lot of money.  However, when compared to a $3.6 trillion budget, the reductions are actually relatively modest. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts actual spending this year will be reduced by $44 billion, with the remainder spread out over future years.  Again, that sounds like a lot of money.   But spending on the programs subject to these automatic cuts has increased by almost 15 percent since the President took office.   

Listening to the President, one would think there is nothing in government upon which we could spend just a little less.  How about $2.2 billion on free cell phones provided by the government?   How about the $4 million taxpayers spend annually for a television studio at the IRS?  How about the $1 million NASA spends each year to come up with a menu for when we live on Mars? How about the $325,000 spent developing a robotic squirrel? These are just a few examples of the many frivolous things the government spends billions on that we simply don’t need or can’t afford.

If the President were serious, he would stop the political posturing and work with Congress to replace the indiscriminate manner of the cuts made under sequestration with a more targeted approach. The House has twice passed bills to do just that.  The President rejected both.  Instead he wants to raise taxes for the second time in eight weeks. That’s not smart or fair.

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