Beyond the Cusp

March 1, 2013

Our Sequestration Outage

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

 

February 26, 2013

As Budget Sequestration Doth Approach

How is it that no matter how divergent the most crucial topics and interests of the day may be and despite their being completely independent of each other with disparate source all traveling their own paths that somehow they all appear to be closing in on a critical moment all of them almost in unison. The topics include but not be limited to such things as the budgetary sequestration, the Iranian nuclear situation with the related P5+1 talks, the continued strife from Mali to Afghanistan to Yemen and then some, and the fiscal crisis throughout much of the world with emphasis on the European Union and the United States. Where most of these subjects are covered with some lesser amounts of slant and bias, there is one from amongst them which has been the subject of pure and bold propaganda meant to obscure, mislead and demonize far more than any intent to truly inform, and that is the looming budget sequestration. The truth of this story is so much less and yet so completely different than most have been sold.

With March 1st fast approaching, the United States Media is playing up a deadline called the sequestration. My dictionary defines sequestration as 1) removal or separation, banishment or exile; 2) a withdrawal into seclusion, retirement; and lastly 3) the legal sequestering of property, confiscation or seizure. As usual the federal government is masking a simple action by labeling the simple forced reduction of the budget through an across the board uniform application of spending cuts with a seldom used word outside of legal or government discourse, namely sequestration. The imposition of the sequestration uniform spending cuts across all government spending is how this is being spun often leaving out completely or ignoring the facts that significantly higher cuts resulting from sequestration will be applied to military and Pentagon budgets. The really interesting item about the coming sequestration is the lies and propaganda being spread in order to magnify what should be only minor concerns into dreaded consequences which could conceivably destroy the fabric of our society. What is not being told is that the cuts will actually be less than four percent of total government spending over the next ten years. That simply means that the sequestration cuts are, as is almost always the case when our elected representatives in Washington speak of budget cuts, merely decreases in the amount that spending will be increased. Instead of telling us that even after the dread sequestration is applied the government will still spend more in 2013 than was spent in 2012 which was more than in 2011 and so on, they will just continue with he lies that the sequestration cuts are draconian. The only difference is the percentage of increase between 2013 spending from 2012 spending will be around five percent less than the percentage of increase between 2012 spending from 2011 spending. So, if they are spending more in 2013 than was spent in 2012, how is it that the claims are there will not be sufficient air traffic controllers, meals on wheels for homebound seniors, fewer teachers in the schools, reductions in the size of police and fire departments throughout the country and other high profile consequences of which most will never occur or be of any actual danger to safety or denial of assistance to those who rely on federal programs to provide care for them.

There is another disinformation about the sequestration which is being confirmed by most of the mainstream press and that is about who is to blame. The news coverage and press commentary and releases from the White House place the entirety of the blame on Congress. The next point of clarifications from these same sources is that they do not so much mean Congress as they mean the House of Representatives and not all of the members of the House of Representatives but the Republicans in the House of Representatives because they control the House of Representatives who are to blame. The truth is that the House of Representatives is partly to blame, both parties; and so is the Senate to blame in part, both parties; and lastly President Obama gave his blessings to the sequestration solution to the budget crisis and when it was enacted it was claimed to be the most brilliant and innovative budgetary solution ever conceived by the government in all of history. There will be those who will claim that the President cannot be to blame as he has not received a budget or any form of legislation addressing the budget needs which is what is going to force the implementation of the sequestration. Why, even the Senate has not had anything scheduled for discussions about budgetary plans or offers which would address the problems and avoid the implementation of the sequestration. Those comments while valid on face value do not reveal the truth of the matter. The House of Representatives has sent at the least three separate budget plans that would have avoided sequestration to the Senate. Once these bills were sent to the Senate they were never referred to committee nor were they scheduled for any discussions or votes on the floor of the Senate. The truth is they were simply shelved by Harry Reid and ignored completely. By avoiding even the idea of considering anything sent to the Senate by the House of Representatives and instead simply demanding the House of Representatives send the Senate a bill which they would find palatable, Senator Reid has absolved the President from needing to refuse anything proposed by the House of Representatives allowing President Obama to simply decry the lack of action by the Congress in addressing and avoiding the sequestration. After President Obama has complained about the lack of legislation coming out of Congress, then Senator Reid lays the blame on the Republican House of Representatives absolving the Democrat controlled Senate of any responsibility. Then the majority of the mainstream press, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, et al echoes these comments while never following up with any comments which might be forthcoming from the Speaker of the House in defense of their efforts. The major news services and programs simply repeat the Democrat line that the Republicans are out to destroy the country. The saddest part of the lies told to the people is that even should the presumably undesirable sequestration be applied on this coming Friday, March 1, 2013, it will not bring on the catastrophic destruction of America as we know her, it might actually be a decent first step to curtailing the prolific spending habits of the federal government. This would be especially true when after the sequestration, if we should be so fortunate as to have such befall us, the country does not spiral out of control from too little government spending but actually we find that things improve. Who knows, maybe we will start to demand more sequestration style cuts as the new method of writing future budgets. Wouldn’t that be a concept, a new form of federal budgeting which cuts the rate of increase every year and even reaches the point where it actually shrinks spending and the size of government until it actually will fit within the limitations presumably dictated by the Constitution. I’m beginning to like this sequestration idea.

Beyond the Cusp

February 23, 2013

Republicans and the Empty Promise Syndrome

Filed under: 2012 Elections,24/7 News Reporting,Ability Raise Taxes,Absolutism,Administration,Amalekites,Amnesty,Anti-Capitalists,Anti-Colonialist,Austerity Measures,Balanced Budget,Baseline Budget,Border,Budget,Cabinet,Cabinet,Checks and Balances,Civilization,Class Warfare,Congress,Consequences,Constitutional Government,Cost of Living,Debt,Debt Ceiling,Debt Clock,Democrat,Economic Fascism,Economic Growth,Economy,Elections,Employment,Enforcement,Enlightenment,Equal Opportunity,Equal Outcome,Euro,Euro Zone,Europe,European Union,Executive Order,Fascism,Fascism,Federal Government,Federal Reserve,Financial Crisis,Fiscal Cliff,Funding,Government,Government Waste,Guard Border,Higher Prices,History,Hyper-Inflation,Illegal Immigration,Immigration,Income,Increased Spending,Inflated Spending,Inflation,Investment in the Future,Jobs,Media,Military,Military Base,Military Option,Minimum Wage,Myth,National Debt,Neglection of Duty,Nuclear Weapons,Obama,Panic Policies,Pentagon,Politics,Poverty,President,President Obama,Quantitative Easing,Regulations,Repatriation,Republican,SEAL Teams,Senate,Senate Majority Leader,Sequestration,Speaker of the House,Special Forces,Spending Cuts,Taxes,Under Employment,Unemployment,United States,United States Constitution,US Army,US Marines,US Navy,Wealth — qwertster @ 1:34 AM
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First off we need to define the Empty Promise Syndrome, sometimes called the Wimpy argument quoting the Popeye cartoon character who was always offering to “Pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Those cartoons must have had many Republican politicians earning money on the side as extras on the set as Wimpy never seemed to have any shortage of hamburgers to gulp down. To trace the beginning of the Empty Promise Syndrome infecting Republican politicians we need to go all the way back to 1986 of the Reagan Presidency and the Immigration Reform Bill which legalized at a minimum the three-million illegal aliens residing throughout the United States while promising to address and provide for a system of border enforcement which would make the borders of the United States virtually impenetrable. Currently there exist an estimated eleven- million to possibly over eighteen-million illegal aliens, the euphemistically denoted undocumented workers, citizens without papers, undocumented aliens, and any other of a half dozen terms which dance around but would never use such a harsh and loaded term as illegal. Somehow the agreement to grant citizenship today and impose enforcement tomorrow never quite delivered when tomorrow rolled around, a lot like Wimpy who can never be found on Tuesdays. But there are so many other examples that we had best stick to the two latest in the series.

 

If we were to remember back to just before Thanksgiving and on close to Christmas and then New Years the news reports were all buzzing about some looming doomsday threat called the Fiscal Cliff. The Republicans demanded spending cuts which would be at least equal to any tax increases. They would have preferred, or so they claimed, to have far more of the deficit cut by spending cuts than relying on tax increases. President Obama was insistent that the deficit reduction be levied completely by increased taxes on the rich as they had to be made to pay their fair share. With what were defined in perfect threats from on high was this sequester which would cut spending severely without any concerns for what was necessity and what was less vital and would destroy uncountable programs for the poor, the elderly, the children, the ecology, the Earth, the whatever you cared about and especially the military while ending the great recovery we have been experiencing (though many myself included are loathe to see any solid signs of this recovery unless that is what higher grocery prices are now called). In the end, President Wimpy offered spending cuts by March 1 for taxes on the rich today and the Republicans gave Obama everything he requested and set a new sequester date to force spending cuts as promised.

 

Well, here we are fast approaching March 1 and President Obama is demanding changes in the code resulting in more tax revenue and attempting to reduce spending cuts in any programs or departments with possible exceptions of certain areas the President finds unnecessary such as the Military. It is likely that President Obama would gladly put off any spending cuts forever and simply rearrange the tax codes and eliminate deductable items or at least reduce them or cap them all in order to cut the deficit without cutting spending. Actually, the President has even proposed that his adjustments to tax deductions and the tax codes will produce so much deficit reduction that he will even be able to propose additional spending with the extra funds his accounting has predicted. If the Republicans allow the President to fiddle with the tax code and tax deductions in lieu of the spending cuts promised at the end of last year’s Fiscal Cliff negotiations, they will have forfeited the collateral supposedly granted them of tax increases on the wealthy then for spending cuts and only spending cuts now. This simply means that if the President insists on increasing tax revenues instead of more spending cuts the Republicans should stand loudly upon the promise by the President that this would be the time for spending cuts and only spending cuts. Force the argument to be either the President reaches an agreement on spending cuts or President Obama will be responsible for the sequestration cuts when they occur. Force the choice on President Obama and the Democrats by passing a spending cuts bill which delivers what was promised and announce that the House of Representatives has met their responsibility and produced legislation for rational and safe spending cuts to reduce the deficit and that it is now left to the Democrat controlled Senate and the President to meet their obligations and keep their promises. After all, it is not like the across the board cuts required by the sequestration alternative would actually be anywhere near as debilitating as has been expressed by the fear mongering going on in some of the media and the White House.

 

Then there is another repeat performance being played out in Congress and that is once again immigration reform. This is forming up to be a complete and exact repeat of what occurred during the second half of President Reagan’s time in the White House and many of the exact same players are simply dusting off their old scripts and adjusting a few numbers and going through the same motions using the same terms and offering the same old lies as promises. As the old adage says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” There is absolutely no reason for the Republicans, and any Democrats who actually care about the rule of law and the safety of the United States, allowing any form of amnesty or forgiveness and allowances to remain inside the borders, let alone working, for the approximately eleven million illegal aliens until there exist in place solid and uncompromising enforcement procedures that include security controls, observation abilities, formidable border barrier systems, and every possible technique applied and utilized to prevent any further illegal infiltrations. There can be no allowance of we will secure the border next Tuesday for total amnesty, or whatever sly and misleading name it be given, today. That was the basic promise which was never intended to be kept in 1986 and will likely be the offer given once again with every single amount of deceit included today.

 

There is one large and very unfortunate problem with the above. The truth be told there are many Republican who desire the lie of enforcement later for allowance and a path to citizenship today as that way they can unfurl the banner of supporting a closed border while not actually getting a closed border. Both sides, the Democrats in order to gather more voters for their candidates and the Republicans to provide less expensive labor for certain industries and businesses, honestly work together to guarantee that those they allowed into the United States are rewarded every so many years with citizenship and at the same time keep the border porous letting in the next wave of voters and workers enter the United States illegally to the benefit of both sides coffers and votes for reelection. One should not be too surprised then when once again we will witness a deceitful front played by those for whom taking a strong stand against illegal immigration and its effects upon the United States once again feign disgust when their votes allowing for immediate forgiveness in any form for the illegal immigrants currently in the country allowing them to remain, keep their jobs, and eventually gain an easy path to full citizenship while enforcement of our laws and control of the border are put aside to be addressed later. Of course later never comes as it is always now and later is, well, later. Do not expect this round to result in anything which falls far from the indecency pulled over on the American people in 1986 when Reagan allowed amnesty on the promise of future enforcement. We are still waiting for that later enforcement and who knows which later will arrive first; the last one or the one we can expect in the near future when the grand immigration compromise is announced with great fanfare and applause all around. My bet is neither enforcement will materialize before the Congress and some future President assure us that these thirty-some-million undocumented citizens will be the last and by allowing them legalization and documentation it will facilitate their soon enforcing our laws and border, and then there will be three soon to come promises.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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