If you’re reading this, it means you survived the sequester. Of course, as President Obama reminded us last Friday, “this is not going to be an apocalypse as some people have said.”
Just ten days earlier, the President said, “And that’s why it’s so troubling that just 10 days from now, Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite. It won't help the economy, won't create jobs, will visit hardship on a whole lot of people.”
He went on to warn that “if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place,” it would “eviscerate job-creating investments” and cut “vital service[s] that Americans depend on every single day.”
The President’s backtrack – also known as a flip-flop – began after major media outlets began asking whether he was overplaying his hand. If Americans woke up Friday morning and failed to see any impact of the dreaded sequester, they may no longer dread the miniscule reductions, which amount to just 2.4% of the total federal budget.
Take Obama’s warning that “Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.” It was a line repeated ad nauseum by outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. But despite the daily fear mongering, Heritage Action’s Katherine Rosario reveals, “The [Federal Aviation Administration] FAA is getting more than they need – more than they asked for – even after sequester cuts.”
It gets worse.
Of the 112 airports around the country that are subsidized by the Essential Air Service program, only 19 made it on Ray LaHood’s list of towers that “could be closed.” Instead of closing, or threatening to close, low-traffic airports, the Obama administration released a list of 233 airports designed to inflict maximum panic.
To be sure, implementing the sequester is cumbersome and the indiscriminate cuts to the military will only serve to lock in years of neglect under Obama. However, it took the sequester to make agencies realize they shouldn’t be holding glitzy conferences. Similarly, lawmakers realized there are more budget friendly ways to travel than commandeering a military.
Of course, Obama was taking a calculated risk touting the detrimental impacts of the sequester. When and if the economy turns negative, he wants the blame to fall squarely on the sequester, not his other policies. Heritage Foundation president-elect Jim DeMint explained: