Over the past few days all of our schedules here at BTC have been disrupted by a series of high intensity meetings and brain storming sessions all having to do with how we might be able to adjust to the state of things post sequestration with the serious cuts being made in all government programs, especially those which will affect the most numbers of Americans not part of the higher echelons of government, you know, Congrescriters, their staffers, the President, members of his family, and all attached to the Administration. There had been numerous warning, actually more like threats, of how the sequestration cuts would be the end of life as we know it with the government forced to make draconian cuts to so many vital programs and this was the concern we addressed in our meetings. We went over our budget numerous times, it took so little time we thought we should do it repeatedly until it seemed larger than life, we never attained such levels. Then we reviewed the funding we receive from the government and that caused us great distress. Hard as it may believe, but our government subsidy was less of our budget than anyone could imagine. We checked and rechecked and even double-rechecked and to our complete surprise we were unable to track down one red cent we receive from the government at any level. We even contacted others we know who might be facing difficulties resulting from the sequestration budget cuts and all our fellow private enterprises also were having little problems with these cuts as they, surprise, surprise, also do not receive any funding from government sources. Empowered with this information we decided to review some of the warnings, or threats, your choice, as to which services would likely be curtailed or cut back due to sequestration. The results were nothing short of amazing.
Some of the services we found that were to be cut were absolutely astonishing. The TSA might not have sufficient numbers of screeners and security personnel on all shifts to facilitate safe travel conditions. The concierge services at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport who provide services for Congressional and Presidential staffers and high government officials would remain at full staffing, after all, only the best for our best, or something like that. Another small inconvenience for travelers by air would be a possible deficiency in the number of Air Traffic Controllers to handle the full load of flights. There were some reports that as some locations receive Federal funding for some of their Police, Fire and Rescue personnel that in such areas there may be a reduction in force in order to meet the cuts. Don’t get too worried, security personnel and the Federal and Capital police will remain at their fully funded levels providing nothing but the best for our elected officials and their staff members.
Fortunately we did some further research and things will be far less dire than the predictions from the let’s shock the life out of the public newscasters and press personnel releasing these reports to the newswires in order to paint a picture of apocalyptic events being just on the horizon if the sequestration was allowed to befall the United States. Most of the cuts would amount to a small percentage of the Federal workforce having to take one day a week or even every two weeks furlough. This means they may use their personal leave and still be paid or they may simply forgo that one day of pay in the immediate future until a budget is finally formed. After a budget is approved, if these furloughs are treated as every previous furlough, these employees who were forced to take time off will receive back pay to cover every hour they missed of work. Yes, that’s right, at the end the furloughed employees will receive pay for the time they stayed home and did absolutely no work and may have even received pay as they took leave. So, if a furloughed Federal employee chooses to use leave time to receive pay for the furlough days, once the budget is passed they will be paid for those days a second time and still not have worked those hours. So, at a minimum, any Federal worker who does not receive any furlough days has to work those extra days while their coworkers stay home and in the end the ones who got to stay home will get as much if not more pay for the same period. The ones who take leave to cover furloughed days will be paid both leave and regular pay for taking a day off. Who wouldn’t want that deal? But there is a small catch.
That might be a problem as there has never been a budget passed since President Obama was first sworn in January of 2009. That year they finished out on the final budget approved and signed by President Bush but since then President Obama has never signed a single budget. Even during his first two years he did not sign an annual budget by only signing continuing resolutions and partial budgets for certain departments or programs. The theory behind this ploy was the President was able to push through numerous budgetary increases by using numerous continuing resolutions and including increases with each and every one leading to an annual increase larger than had one yearly budget been passed. The end result was by the end of eighteen months, a year and a half; President Obama had increased the baseline budget for numerous of his favored entitlement programs allotting significant new funds in order to greatly expand their benefit roles. One of the more notorious of these was the Food Stamp Program which has seen the most massive increase in enrollees in its history. Should the sequestration force spending cuts, it still will not force President Obama to actually sign a real budget. Of course when the President or his spokespeople are questioned as to why he has not signed any budget for a full year, they all answer with he has not received a budget from the Congress for him to sign.
Needless to point out, but the usual reason is he has never received a budget from the Republican Congress. This little bit of information is almost universally reported verbatim as if it were the gospel truth. The honest truth is that the Democrat controlled Senate, half of the Congress but who’s counting, has refused to even schedule the numerous House of Representatives passed budgets for committee hearings or a floor vote or debate. Senate Majority Leader Reid has announced from day one after the 2010 elections that no budget the House of Representatives would send to the Senate deserved even a minute of debate and were dead on arrival. This refusal to even debate and to never, ever, ever allow a vote on a full budget is actually a service provided by the Democrat Party to their Democrat President to relieve him of ever being held responsible for the budget and to have a ready-made excuse to beat like a drum whenever he is questioned by the press or anyone else. With Senate Majority Leader Reid following the President’s actual words given in countless speeches where he has said what amounted to the denial that President Obama was standing ready to sign any bipartisan and proper budget that the Congress could agree upon and send to his desk, oh, and he is waiting anxiously. Then comes the whispers from the White House into Senator Reid’s ear, no budget must ever pass the Senate without White House giving prior approval. Then the only budgets approved and sent to the President are kick the can down the road continuing resolutions. But why let such a trifling matter spoil a good thing. Eventually a budget or possibly one of the myriad of continuing resolutions that gets passed will include the back-pay for the furloughed workers and it will be excused as necessary as the unfortunate Federal workers who were furloughed cannot be made to suffer because the Republican Congress would not do their job and send a responsible budget to the President in time to avoid the sequestration. Also, you do realize that the whole idea for sequestration was a Republican one and the President had nothing to do with the idea, well, other than proposing it, defining it, demanding it, and then complaining how the Republicans forced it on the country. Oh to have an echo chamber anywhere as faithful and loyal as the fifth estate is to their leader, President Obama.
Beyond the Cusp