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8 Mar 2013 - The Games Government Play, at Our Expense

Oh, the games we play! And nowhere are they better at it than in Washington, D.C. Whether its Congress or the President, they are experts in game playing. As a matter of fact, if I were grading them I would give them an A+ in their ability to play games; I would give them a D- in accomplishing something meaningful.

We have seen many examples over the past 4 to 5 months dealing with the ‘fiscal cliff’ and ‘sequestration’, where there was game playing on both sides of the aisle, and in the White House.

The most recent example is the March 1st sequestration deadline. Orders came from the White House to government agencies to furlough workers in areas that would negatively impact the most people so they would react by telling their members of Congress that sequestration was a bad idea, even though President Obama approved the idea 18 months ago.

So we heard the dire predictions from the White House. Because of sequestration, TSA workers at airports would be furloughed, so get to the airport early because security lines will be slow and long. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said there could be “spotty shortages” of meat because USDA meat inspectors would be furloughed and that would mean processing plants would be forced to suspend operations since they cannot operate without a Federal meat inspector on the premises. In other words, inconvenience as many people as possible to make the point that sequestration is bad for the country.

Confirmation of the game playing at the Department of Agriculture was revealed when someone leaked an e-mail to the media. It was written by a USDA regional wildlife services manager to his supervisors asking if he had any latitude in determining schedules to avoid furloughing where possible. The response from up above was....”Make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Finally, keep in mind the amount of government spending (our money) that would be cut by sequestration...$86-billion. Yes, that is a lot of money, but it is minimal when you put it up against our debt of $17-trillion.

To me, the bigger question is...why doesn’t the President and Congress read and act on a 428-page report issued by the GAO, General Accounting Office, in 2012? It found 1,362 programs that duplicate and overlap, and if they were cut, the government would save $360-billion EVERY SINGLE YEAR and we wouldn’t have to inconvenience anyone with furloughs! But Congress chooses to ignore its own agency report, and with the President, continues its game-playing. It’s time to quit playing and go to work!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.