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Steve Lunetta: Obama's folly

Posted: March 4, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The irony is astounding. The sequestration plan that appears to be a machination by President Obama’s White House is now coming back to haunt him big time.

On the surface, it looks like the $85 billion in spending cuts was a political ploy by the White House to force House Republicans to conform to the president’s designs in a number of budget areas.

The only problem is, those pesky GOPers didn’t play along.

For those liberals who are screaming about Republican lies, the Washington Times states that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney even admitted last week that "the sequester was one of the ideas put forward, yes, by the president’s team."

Sequestration is simply this — if the government can’t put together an agreeable budget by March 1, automatic cuts totaling $85 billion will happen.

This amounts to a little over 2 percent of the total budget. By my calendar, we are after that date.

Seems like everyone is complaining about this. Republicans, Democrats, independents, socialists, conservatives, Bull Moosers, you name it.

Sure, this was the president’s plan. But aren’t these the same folks who voted it in?

How can they complain about something they approved? Rather confusing if you ask me.

In listening to the news, we hear threats of furloughs, closures, and reduced services. A friend of mine works for the FBI and he said they got a notice that they will be off two days without pay every month.

By my calculations, that is a 10 percent pay cut. But, isn’t that more than the 2.5 percent-ish cut they are talking about?

We’ve also heard about the Washington Monument gambit. The President claims that the needed cuts will close the Washington Monument.

Yep, no more visits. In fact, they may need to start selling pieces to cover the cost of mowing the lawn around it.

The other trick is something called the "Golden Watch." This is a ploy used by the Pentagon to protect their budget and includes not buying fuel for aircraft carriers and not deploying ships to support combat troops on the ground.

Of course, they ignore the ludicrous spending programs that could easily be cut — and will be, once the politicking is over.

The same thing happens in all government departments to prove how important they are. But, when push comes to shove, the fat does get trimmed and government becomes leaner and more efficient.

Same thing happened with Prop 13 in the late 1970s. Prop 13 put a limit on how much the state of California could raise or tax real estate. It put a severe crimp in the spending habits of Sacramento.

Opponents (mainly public employee unions) claimed that the world would end if Prop 13 was approved. I was in high school at the time and was forced to fill out an "alternate" four-period schedule that would cut two hours of instruction per day. Anyone else remember that?

Further, all extra-curricular activities including sports would be cut. No more school newspaper, no more hot lunches, and we’d all be sharing textbooks.

There were some benefits, though. Detention would be 15 minutes and not an hour.

Then Prop 13 passed and nothing happened. Funny, but I do not recall a single dropped program or change to my educational schedule. The waste was eliminated, school administrators tightened their belts, and the prop had the intended effect.

Heaven knows what this state would look like if we did not have Prop 13. Things have run amok badly enough even with property tax control.

Why is it such a crisis that the federal budget must contract 2.5 percent? I have heard that the amount to be saved is only about the same as the AIG bailout.

Hasn’t private industry contracted? Haven’t corporate budgets shrunk by far more than 2.5 percent?

The government is not immune to the effects of the economy and the pain needs to be shared. If tax revenues contract, spending must do the same.

Unfortunately, this is a lesson that the state of California has not learned. Everyone enjoying that new 3.5 cents a gallon for gas tax increase?

At 70 cents, California is the most expensive state in the union for fuel taxation. No wonder Texas Gov. Rick Perry came here to woo California business.

The results of sequestration are only beginning to play out. I take solace in the knowledge that this event in American history will soon be called "Obama’s Folly."

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and really likes the idea of a sequel-station. Empire Strikes back, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Ironman 2. He can be reached at


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