WASHINGTON - President Obama was back on the campaign trail Tuesday, preaching doom and gloom over the approaching budget cuts that will likely take place next month.
If you tuned in late to this daily soap opera, the federal government will begin indiscriminately cutting $85 billion in across- the-board spending reductions on March 1. That's $85 billion out of a monster budget that is fast approaching $4 trillion a year.
Sure, $4 trillion is still a lot of money and one does not have to have a degree in advanced math to understand that $85 billion is a relatively tiny share of that sum.
It isn't at all hard to find $85 billion in budgetary savings in a government the size of ours. We waste much more than that each year through inefficiency, duplication, fraud, theft and mismanagement.
Let's start with $150,000 for Oklahoma's Lake Murray State Park Airport that may have one landing and takeoff a week and often none at all.
Congress could put together a budget tomorrow, using just the budget-savings identified by its auditing arm -- the Government Accountability Office -- that far exceeds this amount.
The president could have called in the leaders of the Congress the day after his inauguration and given them a list of programs that cry out for cuts and ask that they put together their own bill totaling $85 billion in real spending reductions.
That's what Congress has done for more than two and a quarter centuries -- enacting budgets that for most of our history presidents have signed into law.
But this president isn't interested in finding solutions. He is interested in playing the politics of blame and exploiting issues to his own and, ultimately, his party's benefit.
So there was Obama yesterday, jetting off to another costly campaign road show, pounding the Republicans for being the kind of cold, cruel and heartless people who will slash programs needed to defend our country and care for the old, the sick and the poor.
Lifting the art of fear-mongering to a whole new level in presidential demagoguery, he raises the specter of laid off meat inspectors, fewer police officers, untended airport security and delayed cancer research to scare us into submission.
Political combat and playing to our fears instead of our hopes is what Obama does. That's all he knows and that's what he seems to enjoy doing. In his brief residency in the Senate, he wasn't known for reaching across the aisle to get anything done. Quite the contrary, he was out on the political hustling’s, attacking Republicans with relish.
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