Roger Hedgecock: Budget cut pain - San Diego, California Talk Radio Station - 760 KFMB AM - 760kfmb

Roger Hedgecock: Budget cut pain

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By U-T San Diego 5 p.m.March 11, 2013

Federal budget cuts caused by the now infamous "sequester" have reached deep into San Diego communities.

Private companies that contract to do defense-related work for the feds have been targeted and layoffs and furloughs have followed.

Private nonprofit organizations expecting federal grants for everything from medical research to dance troupes have been notified that the grants are on hold. Jobs are at stake. Families are threatened.

Within the federal workforce, Border Patrol agents in the Department of Homeland Security face furloughs and overtime restrictions that could reduce their take-home pay by 40 percent and leave stretches of the border unprotected.

"Immigrants without proper documentation," including those who have committed crimes who are held in detention pending deportation, have been released into our neighborhoods.

Also within the DHS, TSA agents also face furloughs, threatening air travelers with even longer lines at the airport security checks.

Navy ship deployments have been canceled.

You'd think the federal budget had actually been cut.

It hasn't.

The feds will spend around $3.8 trillion this year or three thousand eight hundred billion dollars.

The sequester cut this year is $85 billion, or just over 2.2 percent. But the budget is almost 5 percent more this year than last.

In other words, even with the sequester cut ("deep and draconian"), the feds will spend more this year than last year and this year's deficit will still be just shy of $1 trillion, or about nine hundred seventy-five billion dollars for the year.

When you look at the $42.5 billion in sequester cuts to the defense budget this year, it's only 6 percent of the $741 billion DOD budget.

How did a 6 percent cut result in a drastic cancellation of ship deployments, grounding entire air wings, a furlough of the DOD civilian workforce, and the interruption of so many ship repair and shipbuilding contracts?

The other $42.5 billion "cut" comes out of the civilian side.

Why did the DHS furlough Border Patrol agents and release criminal immigrants scheduled for deportation? Why did the DHS furlough TSA agents?

The Office of Management and Budget of the Obama administration has pointed out that the DHS has $8 billion of "unallocated" money in this year's $68 billion budget.

Maybe a look at what wasn't cut provides the answer.

Not only does DHS have $8 billion to cushion the blow of a mandated $3.4 billion "cut," but DHS bought new uniforms for the 50,000 TSA agents at a cost of $50 million (That's right, $1,000 per agent for uniforms) just before announcing the furlough of those same agents.

And anyone who has worked anywhere near the military or the companies that service the military knows that waste is part of the time-honored process.

Making the tip of the spear take the hit while the very long supply tail gets longer, sloppier and more scandalously wasteful, is deliberate and shameful policy that endangers national security.

The cherry on top of this cake is the White House "cut."

The White House has announced cancellation of White House tours because of the sequester.

The White House Visitor Office is run by Ellie Schafer, who makes $100,000 a year. She will stay at her job. The tours are conducted by volunteers, who will go home. The 37 Secret Service agents who are placed along the tour routes will be reassigned to other duties.

In other words, the White House will not save a dime by closing the public tours.

The total cost of the Obama White House has been estimated at $1.4 billion, or 23 times the cost to British taxpayers of the British monarchy.

The White House budget includes such exotica as a chief calligrapher and two assistant calligraphers, each of whom make just under $100,000.

So the owners of the White House are barred from touring it by the current tenants, but the calligraphers remain.

The spending by the Obamas on the most lavish lifestyle of anyone in the country is scandalous.

In fact, if Mitt Romney had attempted to fund the Obama lifestyle with all his wealth starting last Jan. 1, he would have been bankrupt by the third week in February.

The Obama plan is clearly to make this 2.2 percent sequester "cut" as painful as possible while preserving his own lavish lifestyle, hoping no one will notice that he is causing the pain and that the pain he is causing is unnecessary.

What would happen if the federal government actually had to balance its budget and pay off the mountain of debt accumulating on the public credit card?

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