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Sky’s the limit

Nothing is too far for sequester scare tactics

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 4:59 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 2)

(MCT) — The sky is falling, the sky is falling. That’s the message shrieked by President Barack Obama about those mandated federal spending cuts called “sequestration.”

And not only is the sky falling, but it’s not his fault. He’s like the kid standing in front of the broken window, the bat and ball and glove in his hand. He had nothing to do with it.

These are, of course, big-fat whoppers, like the kind other Chicago politicians tell, only the whoppers from the Obama White House are sized 17 trillion extra large and made in China.

Sequestration was his deal. He wanted to increase the federal debt limit by another trillion or so that we didn’t have. Sequestration, or mandated cuts, was the price. And the sky isn’t falling.

In real cuts, we’re only talking about $85 billion out of $1.2 trillion.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the affected federal agencies are expected to cut only $44 billion this year, with the remainder in future years. Compared to the $1.2 trillion spent, it’s a pile of crumbs.

What Obama wants is to spend more and more. And so the whoppers come out of his mouth, or his mouthpieces prattle their talking points, that sequestration isn’t his baby, that even small federal cuts spell disaster.

The whoppers pass his teeth as if he were one of those old Pez candy dispensers when we were kids, except instead of candy they’re iced butter. Obama gives us perfect little squares of fat and salt, so that we might spread them on our rough peasant bread.

Or perhaps he would rather we just eat cake?

Even though he says the sky is about to crush us, Big O still found time to golf with Tiger Woods. And Michelle was simply diva-tastic in her televised drop-in at the Oscars, in that spangled gown, flashing those gorgeous arms.

Question: How can they play the King and Queen of France and tell us that the sky is falling, while pursuing the very same policies that have led swaths of Europe to the edge of civil, economic and social chaos?

Answer: Because they can.

Even in Washington, an exotic land where journalists and bureaucrats chatter in a language we can almost understand — they can even say “sequestration” without blushing — some inadvertent truths are released.

Like the one in this passage from the Washington Post the other day:

“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts.

“The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”

I’m not so sure about those Republicans. Obama’s predecessor was a Republican, a “big-government conservative.” He spent and spent on guns and butter just like the Democrats of old, and the Republicans in Congress gorged on it.

So I don’t hold much hope for them. Republicans feed on defense contracts the way Democrats feed on poverty programs. So I expect someone will remind the Republicans that their spines disappeared in the early 2000s, and just like that they’ll remember and collapse in a pile of boneless goo.

That’s what Obama is hoping for, too.

Meanwhile, Obama’s mouthpieces are in full-throated cry. The sequester, they say, will destroy the economy, cost us jobs, ruin the lives of children and families. I’m waiting for the part about Iran and North Korea subjugating us to their will.

But there’s a problem. America is out of money. And sooner or later, we’ve got to realize that every dollar in debt isn’t just some political nuisance.

It is a tax on the young, a tax on the very same millennial generation that elected Obama, a tax on children not yet born, and on their children.

And they will carry it from cradle to grave like placid beasts of government burden.

Yet according to the White House, if these small budget cuts go through, the planes will run late, the children won’t be fed, the teachers will stop teaching, the cops copping and on. And America waits, shuddering to think what will happen to all the Obamaphones.

Just don’t get the president started on how the chickens will kill us with disease since there won’t be enough poultry inspectors. And the potholes won’t be fixed. And the bridges will fall.

The latest scare tactic is the timed release of disasters waiting to befall each state. And for Illinois, the White House tells us that having to cut $357,000 means that 5,230 Illinois children won’t get vaccinations against deadly disease.

If Obama’s bureaucrats can’t find a spare $357,000 in the huge budget increases he’s ushered in, they’re not doing their jobs. And maybe they should be furloughed and we can pay for the vaccines that way.

These scare tactics are cheap tricks, yes, as cynical as an alderman’s eyelids, but I expected more from Obama.

He had time to make cuts but he chose not to make them. This isn’t about cutting. It’s about blaming.

And that falling sky?

He wants to push it up there, to keep it from crashing down.

Unfortunately, our benevolent federal authority can’t do it alone. It needs your help and your children’s help and their children’s.

All they have to do is get down on all fours, meekly, so the federal leviathan can step on their backs, and reach skyward.

Yes, we can.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Readers may send him email at jskass@tribune.com.

©2013 Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services

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