2013-03-09 / Editorials & Letters

The Sequester hits home

The sequester is now alive and running amuck throughout the land. Among its first victims are students planning to visit Washington, DC, this spring which includes some lake-area students. Starting this weekend, White House tours have been cancelled. That’s how the White House has decided to trim about $600,000 from its budget.

Spring school trips are often a once-in-a-lifetime experience so they were an obvious choice to cut when the objective is to make the tiny budget cut as painful as possible. The Weekly Standard reports this week that the White House employs three calligraphers at a yearly total of $277,050. That’s almost half of the White House’s total cut. Fancy calligraphy invitations, place cards etc. are safe for the powerful and mighty invited to White House receptions and dinners. But the door is slammed shut for ordinary students from places like Baltimore, Ohio.

The White House’s entire cut could have been easily absorbed if the Obamas had taken their Presidents Day vacation in the same place. But the president wanted to golf at a tony resort in Florida, while the first lady and the kids wanted to ski in Colorado. That selfish decision required two massive security teams instead of one plus extra flights and accommodations. Meanwhile back in the real world where most of us are lucky to get one vacation a year, parents and students who worked hard to raise money for a Washington trip get slapped in the face.

Expect more slaps in the coming weeks as the Obama administration continues its efforts to make us pay dearly for a little over two percent budget cut. It will take a little more time to tweak schedules to produce the promised long lines for travelers at airport security checkpoints. But somehow, the TSA came up with $50 million for new uniforms with the no-bid contract signed hours before the sequester went into effect. The uniforms will be partially made in Mexico.

Apparently, Obama and his fellow Democrats think spending our hard earned money and constantly demanding more is a big game with the joke on us.

Grants to local fire departments are apparently on the list of cuts according to two fire chiefs at a Walnut Township Trustees’ meeting Tuesday night. Instead of panicking and giving in, we need to push for more cuts. Rather than sending more money to Washington and then begging to get a bit of it back as grants, let’s keep more of our money right here. Uncle Sam is a very inefficient middleman with very sticky fingers. We don’t need Washington to tell us how to spend our own money. We can make those decisions ourselves and take care of our own needs.

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