Tad DeHaven

The Aerospace Industries Association has spent nearly $2 million over the past 18 months trying to get the word out to stop the spending cuts, including holding media events around the country and commissioning studies on state and local impacts that are known to pique the interest of reporters and editors. 

According to officials at the defense contracting industry’s leading trade group, more than 8,000 print, online and broadcast local news stories last year—many in markets with the most to lose from the cuts, including California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Alabama and around the Washington Beltway—either quoted the group or referenced its data. 

Francis Sheller, AIA’s vice president for communications, said his office also receives between 15 and 30 unsolicited requests every day from local reporters often seeking details of how sequestration cuts could impact their specific communities. “If we didn’t appeal to the local journalists’ interests,” he said, “then we wouldn’t be noticed.”

People occasionally email me and ask “why is it so hard for the politicians in Washington to cut spending?” The Politico article shows why. Members of Congress who would otherwise like to cut spending know that they’re going to take a beating from the media and special interests. Few politicians are willing to take that heat. Fewer still can even articulate why spending cuts and smaller government are good. 

Indeed, Republicans have by and large acted as if the sequestration cuts are a plague to be avoided. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaigned against them. And now the GOP is actually trying to pin the blame for sequestration on President Obama. 

From The Hill: 

On Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pointedly referred to “the president’s sequester” while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill. “And the president laid out no plan to eliminate the sequester and the harmful cuts that will come of it,” Boehner said. 

Thank you for trying to cut spending, Mr. President!


Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).