The screeching you hear in Washington is the sound of politicians slamming their mouths into reverse as they back away from their previous positions on the misnamed "budget sequester." For weeks now, we have been told that an $85 billion reduction in the rate of increase in federal spending -- a 2.4 percent cut -- will have devastating consequences for our nation.
According to administration spokesmen and supporters, the sequestration means reduced agricultural inspections and the prospect of tainted food, cuts in childhood immunizations and more ill kids, long delays at airport security checkpoints, air traffic disruptions and dangerous vulnerabilities on our frontiers and ports of entry as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are furloughed. And of course, fewer police, firemen and park rangers on duty means that lawbreakers are going to run rampant in our communities and that forest fires will threaten us all.
Supposedly, we also will have to live with dirtier air and water and the prospect of an environmental catastrophe. Even our weather forecasts -- and warnings about hazardous storms in the midst of an era of "climate change" -- will be adversely affected. In short, just about everything we count on the federal government to do for us is coming to a screeching halt.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued an alert that "the nation will be less safe." Attorney General Eric Holder warned us that the "cuts" will mean fewer FBI agents to apprehend criminals and that "prosecutors will have to let criminals go." Secretary of Education Arne Duncan even took time off from his celebrity basketball duties to tell a Sunday talk show that teachers in West Virginia "are getting pink slips."
But none of that is true -- unless the administration wants it to be so. FBI and Border Patrol agents won't be laid off -- but the rate of hiring new ones may be slowed. Prosecutors aren't going to let criminals go free. And even the pro-Obama editors at The Washington Post couldn't find a single West Virginia teacher put out of work by the sequestration.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.