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Jon Stewart vs. Sequester Hysteria

Jon Stewart vs. Sequester Hysteria

Jon Stewart mocks the sequester hysteria.

Yes, he targets Republicans towards the end. But it’s still pretty funny.(h/t my wife)

I’m not a Jon Stewart fan, but he wouldn’t be popular if he wasn’t tuned in. Does his cavalier approach to the sequester reflect a popular skepticism to the sequester hysteria?

Scott Rasmussen writes in Sequester puts Elected Washington on Trial:

The expectation was that voters would rise up and protest the automatic spending cuts with such vehemence that it would force Republicans and Democrats to work together. But it hasn’t happened. In fact, just 36 percent of voters want Congress and the president to stop the automatic cuts.

As a result, the White House and many media organizations have been trying to raise the alarm. President Obama himself used his State of the Union address to say, “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.” To make sure voters understood his concern, he added, “They’d devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Still, the voters haven’t come around. The president proposed replacing the across-the-board spending cuts with a combination of tax hikes and specific spending cuts. Only 39 percent favor that proposal. Forty-two percent oppose it and prefer the automatic spending cuts, instead.

Charles Krauthammer exposes the cynicism behind those hyping the hysteria:

Think of the cynicism of that. The worst case scenario is that the government makes a small, minuscule cut in spending on the way to beginning of a journey of recovery in to fiscal health, and that it doesn’t hurt us, we actually come out of it alive. And, that to them, is the worst case. It means, think of how they are weighing the national interest, which needs a cut in spending and these parochial special interests.

Jon Stewart might be on to something. Maybe the public has become inured to the Firehouse Syndrome.

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Comments

AFter seeing that Jon Stewart segment, I’m sure there is PANDA-monium in Washington D.C. as the Sequesterpocalypse looms ever closer. OMG! Somebody call FEMA! Wait, their budget is being cut? OH NOES!!!!!

Obama has already demonstrated that he is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the sequester harms Americans. He recently released thousands of illegal alien criminals back into American communities, to resume preying upon Americans without any fear of being inconvenienced by ICE. These illegal aliens in detention were not the so-called “law abiding” types who come here looking for jobs mowing lawns or making beds. (ICE won’t even momentarily detain those types of illegal aliens anymore). These were illegal aliens who had been caught committing serious crimes in the U.S. (often multiple offenses) — crimes like burglary and drug dealing — and who are now being released back into U.S. communities to continue their life of crime.

Obama and Napolitano blamed the release of these criminals on the sequester — despite the fact that the sequester has not even gone into effect yet. This is nothing but a cheap and dangerous politcal ploy to ensure that the sequester (which was Obama’s idea) will do maximum damage to Americans.

    nordic_prince in reply to Observer. | February 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I know you prefaced your comment with “so-called” and also used quotation marks around the phrase “law abiding,” so my remarks are not directed towards you personally. But seeing the words “law-abiding illegal __________ ) just sets my teeth on edge. Such a phrase speaks volumes about a society that tolerates the abuse of English like that. Big Brother rejoices over our acceptance of doublespeak.

Remember the “I Love Lucy” episode when Ricky thought he was going bald? And Lucy decided to help (“help”)? She went to a shop that specialized in cures for baldness, and the shop owner began describing an extensive selection of treatments. Lucy then told him to just pick the remedies that “smell the worst and hurt the most.”

Lucy Ricardo is in charge these days, folks.

By the way, the correct name for the Firehouse Syndrome is the Washington Monument strategy, which dates from 1968. Anti-planner described the origins of the term in the following post:
http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=346
“Hartzog invented another strategy to maintain park budgets. In 1968, President Johnson did not want to be the first president to propose a federal budget of more than $100 billion, so he ordered most federal agencies to cut their budget requests by 10 percent. Rather than cut the budgets of the least-used parks, Hartzog decided to “spread the paid” and ordered the closure of many popular camp sites and other recreation areas.
Most importantly, he closed the elevators in the Washington Monument. When tourists complained, park personnel on the Washington mall told them to direct their complaints to their members of Congress a mile or so away. Johnson fumed, but Congress quickly restored the Park Service’s budget. Since then, any government agency that cuts a popular program in an effort to get more funding is said to be using the “Washington Monument strategy.” ”

You can watch the “I Love Lucy” episode at Amazon (free for Prime members) at the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007NDH13Q

J Motes, thank you for the reference to the Washington Monument Strategy. I had not heard the term before.

    You’re welcome. I was a little concerned that you might be offended at being corrected in public, but then I decided that we on the right value facts more than emotion and that you would likely not be offended. And I was right!

    Your two posts on the Firehouse Syndrome are on target. Thanks for joining Legal Insurrection.

Adjusting to reality became more painful once we decided to run trillion dollar account deficits, which was undoubtedly presented as for the “good of the children”.

As for the sequester, it’s less than 100 billion over how many years? It was a solution suggested by Obama in order to avoid confrontation with reality. Similar to minimum wage laws which serve as positive feedback to increase the minimum wage.

Just one more step, and another, and you are assured to discover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and everyone will live happily ever after on their beachfront property in Hawaii, and no woman, or man, will ever be burdened with responsibility for raising another human life.

Unicorns and cell phones for everyone!

These sequester antics are publicity stunts by public officials. The tactic has been a staple of California budget negotiations for years.

Every year, the teachers get pink slips. Every. Damn. Year.

It happens because there is one party in charge for decades, and it is not going to cut its contracts on behalf of its donors (mostly, unions). The voters care about the schools. So, the schools are endangered, every year.

We went through furloughs at LAPD for a couple of years. The doomsday scenarios our union painted never materialized.

My wife and I just adjusted. Oh, who am I kidding? I adjusted, she continued to spend like crazy.

The Pentagon will discover it has a few layers of fat.

The politic elite will cut everything and create pain for the little people, but will never ever cut their paychecks, perks and pork.

Alas, Republicans are in this instance again making weak arguments in terms if their ability to counter Obama’s banging away at all the supposed terrible cuts in services that a 2% reduction in budgeting will trigger. They say, 2% is not much; we need to rein in out-of-control spending, deficits and debt; Obama already got his tax hike; the sequester was his idea, etc. All of this is true — but none of it tells the average mostly uninformed citizen why and how 2% can easily be cut with little or no noticable change.

Anyone who has ever worked in a government agency at any level — federal, state or municipal — as I have, knows that you can cut 2% of any budget without a bead of sweat. In fact, in many agencies, budgets handily have 2% hidden in all manner of obscure budget lines or accounts — hidden for just such a contingency as an across-the-board cut — that central budget managers can only guess at. Second, before touching personnel, most agencies have loads of fluff they can do without or cut back — excess travel, conferences, internal “training” that can be deferred, outside consulting contracts that can be postponed or renegotiated, etc. Third, what about the across the board 1% pay rise for federal employees that Obama announced recently? Maybe employees deserve it, although most federal employees are well paid by any standard, but since 80% of most agency costs in the discretionary budget are for personnel and since times are tough, not granting that 1% would amount to a big chunk of the sequester requirements. Finally, government employees generally — not all — work so inefficently that if pressed to do so, managers can readily come up with ways to live very nicely, thank you, with far deeper cuts in headcounts than this sequester will require. The trick is to actually press them by requiring them to come up with real cuts.

The Congressional GOP and various conservative groups have the detailed budget knowledge and expertise to counter Obama’s claims about what any particular agency will need to do by citing chapter and verse of exactly what it could do instead. Simply dismissing his claims is not enough. Besides, most Americans do understand that government is wasteful, inefficient and over-staffed.

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