By Greg Campbell
President Obama came out swinging yesterday with a wide range of accusations against the GOP and threatened that government would be severely hindered if the scheduled spending cuts were allowed to occur.
The sequester cuts are spending cuts that were agreed upon in August 2011 when Congress passed the Budget Control Act. With an annual budget deficit of over $1 trillion occurring each year and a national debt at $16.5 trillion, government is far-and-away spending more than it takes in and the sequester cuts were a compromise to which Republicans begrudgingly agreed in exchange for another $2.4 trillion in borrowing- which was used up by December 31st, 2012.
The spending cuts were supposed to take place on January 1st, 2013, but Congress and the president agreed to the “fiscal cliff” deal, which increased federal taxes, but postponed the automatic cuts in anticipated spending until March 1, and reduced them from about $109 billion for this year to $85 billion.
Obama spoke at a press conference on Tuesday and outlined his objections to the sequester cuts that were his and his Democratic colleagues’ idea. Calling it a “really bad idea,” Obama threatened doom and gloom for our nation if the spending cuts occur, saying,
“If Congress allows this meat cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness,” Obama said. “Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their jobs because you want to protect some special interest loophole?” Obama continued, “Are you willing to see teachers laid off or kids lose access to Head Start?”
The president blamed Republicans for the budgetary mess, saying,
“Republicans have asked nothing of the wealthiest Americans … so the burden is all on seniors or middle-class families.” He continued, “They doubled down on harsh cuts. … They’d rather have these cuts go into effect [rather] than close a single tax loophole for the wealthiest Americans.”
However, shortly after Republicans had acquiesced to the compromise proposed by Democrats in 2011, Obama stated at a press conference,
“Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending.” “There will be no easy off ramps on this one,” he added.
The president also touted his reduction of the national debt by $5.9 trillion, though Terrence Jeffrey noted,
“When Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal government’s debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. As of the close of business on Feb. 14, 2013, the federal government’s debt was $16,540,800,290,147.46. Thus, since Obama has been president, the federal debt has increased $5,913,923,241,234.38. That is more than all the debt accumulated by all the presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton.
The federal debt was last below $5.913 trillion on Feb. 1, 2002, when George W. Bush was president.”
The president will likely have a hard time explaining why the compromise was a good idea in 2011, but now that America is $2.4 trillion more in debt, the spending cuts aren’t needed- even though such cuts were already agreed upon as a compromise to obtain the power to borrow more.
With the cuts scheduled for March 1st, Obama is going on tour to try and drum up support for his calls to renege on the deal and to put pressure on Republicans to acquiesce to Democratic demands.