The sequester in a nutshell

To the editor:

Some definitions before I begin:

1. Baseline Budget: If Congress does nothing to change its current year budget amount, the following year it will automatically have a fixed percentage more dollars added to the total. Currently about 7 percent.

2. Sequester: An automatic spending reduction proposed by President Obama in 2012 for implementation in 2013 of about 2-1/2 percent from the total budgeted spending by the federal government.

3. Liar: Someone, who, if they tell you the sun is shining, you have to look outdoors for yourself before you will take their word for it.

Let’s assume that we each had a job in 2012 that provided an income of $100,000 but we are told by our employer that in 2013 he can only pay us $97,500. Although we might not like the pay cut, does anyone honestly think they could not live as comfortably with the $97,500 salary?

Now, pretend the federal government in 2012 had a spending budget that amounted to $100,000. Remember all those services you enjoyed last year? Your research at Michigan Technological University was funded, Isle Royale National Park was fully staffed, the roads at Yellowstone National Park were plowed, there were no illegal alien releases due to budget shortages at Homeland Security, the White House Tours were ongoing. Life was good. Then, because Congress cannot agree on spending, the sequester takes affect. Everyone feeding off a government teat begins squealing as the mother’s milk dwindles.

But hold on. Let’s not forget the magic of baseline budgeting. Follow me with some easy government math:

2012 Budget: $100,000. 2013 Budget: $104,325 ($100,000 plus 7 percent baseline increase less 2-1/2 percent sequester).

So why do we have to put up with any cuts in services from the federal government in 2013 when they have more real dollars to spend than in 2012? The answer is, of course, that between 2012 and 2013 they have already spent those additional dollars, and more, on new pork, and this just points out one other fact: We have a spending problem in Washington, not a tax problem. Most of Washington is choosing to make taxpayers suffer in order to make us a little easier to convince that if the federal government only had a little more of our money it could….

“Liars!” Sums them up fairly accurately, don’t you think?

Patrick Thornton