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Never before have the sentiments of this 'politics over prosperity' President been more clear than in the aftermath of the sequestration debate. Since the reality of the $85 billion cuts across government departments, agencies and programs has set in, the President has set a clear and convincing course in trying to punish Americans in a very public manner, for the concept of reigning in government spending, and has continued to reward those outside our country.
Of course, there are the very words which back up the assertion that the Obama administration is trying to make the budget cuts as painful as possible for his own political gain.
In an internal e-mail to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS), an administration official pressured the division not to contradict "what we said the impact would be". That impact, according to the official, would effect the ability to manage "wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry". It was an assertion that caused Congressman Tim Griffin to accuse the White House of trying "to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the sequester cuts for political gain".
Words are not nearly as powerful as actions, though. Dr. Ben Carson recently lamented that "It seems like what the president is doing is trying to cut in the places that hurts the most in order to prove a point". And indeed, the President has made his efforts to cut the most visible and popular government services quite public, while quietly continuing aid to foreign causes.
Only after comparing the actions does it become clear who is being hurt by these intentional cuts, and who is being spared the pain.
The People's Cuts
White House Tours
The White House responded to $85 billion in budget cuts a few weeks ago by shutting down White House tours and saving the government a meager $18,000 per week. That amounts to roughly $936,000 in a full year, or just over .001% of the sequestration amount. Middle school students from Iowa, who had their visit to the White House canceled, responded by posting a video which had the students shouting, "The White House is our house. Please let us visit." In the end, the students learned that the White House is no longer the people's house, but rather just another pawn in the game of politics.
Tuition Assistance for Military
The Army, Air Force, and Marines all announced they would suspend tuition assistance programs for college students, citing budget issues. The move resulted in a White House petition which garnered over 100,000 signatures. In addition to the tuition assistance, a program that helps homeless veterans get back on their feet was cut.
Air Traffic Safety
A few days ago, the administration announced that it would close 149 air traffic control towers, forcing pilots at smaller airports to "coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves ... with no help from ground controllers". The move, cited as being necessary because of the sequester, led to Senator Jerry Moran declaring that the message being delivered by the administration is that "spending cannot be cut without severe consequences, before the safety and well-being of Americans."
No Pain, All Gain
While no one is debating the need for tightening belt straps in a country completely saddled in trillions of dollars in new Obama debt, the comparison between what is being cut and what is not being cut is puzzling. While school children, military members, veterans, college students, and pilots are all seeing the wrath of the President's political messages, you'd be surprised at who is still receiving money from the administration despite a sequestration that the President has assured us would result in a doomsday scenario.
No matter what vantage point you look at regarding the administration's handling of the sequestration, actions taken since it came into effect show that Americans are being punished in a political game, while those with outside interests reap the rewards.
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