President Barack Obama has mastered a new kind of politics: Do nothing about a problem, refuse to meet with Congress, and then launch campaign rallies across the country to complain about nothing getting done. The latest example is his campaign against what he describes as the devastating cuts of sequestration. What he is forgetting to tell the American people is that it was his idea in the first place. He also forgets to mention that these “massive” cuts amount to less than 3 cents on the dollar over 10 years.
A little back story: Sequestration was created in the Budget Control Act of 2011. In exchange for another increase in the debt ceiling, the Obama administration proposed using automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion to force action on a larger deficit reduction package. It was the classic Washington move in which dessert is served up first, and broccoli is left for later.
To make matters worse, the sequestration proposal exempted 107 programs and largely ignored the drivers of our debt. Half the cuts would be directed toward defense, and 35 percent, toward non-defense discretionary spending. Less than 15 percent would come from mandatory spending on entitlement programs, which account for 62 percent of our budget.
That’s why I joined other conservatives in voting “no.” Not only were we against raising the debt ceiling yet again, but the spending reductions specifically protected the main problem — entitlements and welfare.
It was another boneheaded approach from a president and Congress afraid to take a tough stand. Despite dire warnings, sequestration is only a drop in the bucket in the context of our larger budget woes. The uproar over finding 3 cents on the dollar to cut belies the fact that our government has doubled in size over the last decade.
Our country is broke. Our future is at risk. We are not Greece yet, but that’s where we are headed. It’s not even just about our children’s future. This disaster is affecting us now, and inflation is already being felt at the grocery store and gas pump. Our jobless rate is way too high, and families are hurting.
Washington has a spending problem, and the only way to solve it is through spending cuts. Sequestration’s uneven hand may not be the best approach, but with a White House and Senate that refuse to act, it is our best chance to reduce spending today.
The House has acted twice to replace the cuts with targeted reductions and spending reforms. We have passed two budgets that tackle entitlements and put us on the path to sustainability. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget since the iPad was invented and gas was $1.87 a gallon. The president’s budgets cannot garner a single vote in the House or Senate.
When Washington shows leadership and deals with problems facing our country, the economy will soar. I know. I was there when we cut taxes, reformed welfare, reduced burdensome regulations, and balanced the budget. We can do this right with some dedicated hard work and honest talk. We don’t need any more excuses or gimmicks. We need courage and action.
Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, represents Georgia's 1st District, which includes Liberty and Long counties. To contact the him, go to http://kingston.house.gov/contact.