So what’s a president supposed to do when it looks like his credibility is going down the drain because he made up scary stories about how sequester was going to end life as we know it? Come up with Plan B, what else.
First, a few words about Plan A. Remember when the president and his posse told us about how meat inspectors would get furloughed and meat wouldn’t get inspected? And how long lines at the airport would get even longer? And how kids wouldn’t get educated because teachers would lose their jobs? And how the sun wouldn’t come up in the morning? (Okay, I made that one up). All because of sequester?
And remember how he didn’t bother to tell us that even after sequester the federal government would still spend billions more this year than last year? Which means – despite what he did tell us – there would be absolutely no cuts in spending … just cuts in the increase in spending … and really small cuts at that, a few pennies on the dollar.
Then the really bad news kicked in, for the president anyway. The sun came up and no one died because they ate tainted meat and kids didn’t get kicked out of school and teachers didn’t get laid off and blah blah blah blah blah.
So here’s where Plan B comes in. The president had to show us that he really was right about the hardship he predicted, so he flexed his political muscles and did what any great leader of the American people would do: He shut down tours to the White House, just as spring break for little kids was approaching.
Would you expect less from the most powerful man on the planet?
Except just as he looked foolish predicting gloom and doom in the first place, he looked even more foolish when inconvenient facts started emerging – facts about how much money his administration is flushing down the toilet; money that could have been used to keep those White House tours going – for about a billion years!
Thanks to Tom Coburn, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, we learn that taxpayers are funding a government program that studies how cocaine affects the reproductive habits of quail – and not even American quail. We’re shelling out $181,000 to figure out how blow affects Japanese quail. This is no joke, and I’m guessing whatever government chucklehead came up with this brilliant idea was high on cocaine himself at the time.
Senator Coburn lays out a number of other incredible examples of government waste in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, a column in which he tells us that “Instead of forcing Americans to spend more time in airport screening lines, [Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano] can find savings in the wasteful grant program that gave America an underwater robot for Columbus, Ohio and a BearCat armored-personnel carrier to guard a pumpkin festival in Keene, N.H. (population 23,000). Trimming this $830 million grant program by just one third could avoid Transportation Security Administration furloughs entirely.”
And Kimberly Strassel, in another Journal column, has put together another list detailing how this government wastes billions of our tax dollars. Did you know that the White House employs three calligraphers? Did you know they make a total of $277,000 a year? How about this: The Environmental Protection agency gave away $141,000 – fasten your seat belt! — to fund a Chinese study on swine manure. And the National Science Foundation shelled out $325,000 to build – wait for it — a robotic squirrel.
Ms. Strassel writes that, “The government gave a $3700 grant to build a miniature street in West Virginia – out of Legos. It shelled out $500,000 to support specialty shampoo products for cats and dogs.”
We may not have enough money to let little kids from around the country tour the White House, but we have $27 million to fund – ready for this? – pottery classes … in Morocco!
There’s more. A lot more. But I’m getting sick just typing up all this stuff. You should be too, unless you’re part of the roughly 50% of Americans who don’t pay any federal income tax – so why should you care, right?
One more thing, about the sequester catastrophe that hasn’t happened. It still might. Barack Obama can make it happen anytime he wants. All he has to do is order his people to shut something else down besides those White House tours. He has the power to make things worse. And he’s just the kind of politician that will do it — and then blame Republicans, calculating that the American people are too dumb to see what he’s doing.
I never thought I’d so much as think this, let alone write it for others to see … but I miss Jimmy Carter.
Copyright © 2013 BernardGoldberg.com