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Project 21 Members Speak Sequester

As the government hovers on the edge of sequestration budget restrictions, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are speaking out about the failure of liberal policymaking that has led us to this point.

Hughey P. Newsome:

While the Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress continue to spar over the pending sequester cuts to federal spending, there is an inevitability that nobody can escape but few seem willing to admit.

The key figures to remember are $85 billion and $845 billion.  First, $85 billion is the projected amount of cuts that the sequester will actually bring this year.  All of the doom and gloom that we are hearing will likely only result in only $85 billion in spending cuts during 2013.  Compare that to the approximately $845 billion projected federal deficit for fiscal year 2013.

Basically, the cuts translate to only a ten percent drop in just the deficit — not the accumulated debt, but the deficit.  In other words, all of this agonizing revolves around us getting tough to only ten percent of our overspending for just this year.

President Obama and other liberal politicians are acting as if such cuts are immoral and can be avoided by making the rich “pay their fair share.”  There is no evidence that a reasonable tax hike on the rich will fix our fiscal problems.  If the government takes 100 percent of what “the rich” earn each year, it will help pay down the deficit but not guarantee no further loss of tax income going forward.  This is especially true considering that “the rich” — or anyone else, for that matter — will not work just to pay taxes.

We also have to face a larger truth.  The bill passed to avoid the fiscal cliff — the same bill that allowed the middle class to avoid a tax hike — kept spending the same for two months and hiked taxes on the rich — and added to the deficit, per the scoring of the Congressional Budget Office.  We have to admit that we cannot, as a society, have as big of a government as liberals seem to want to promise without finding the will to pay for it.

We will ALL have to pay for it in the end.  “The rich” will only be able to provide so much.  Eventually, the house of cards will collapse.

The sad part is that if that house does collapse, the liberals who continually overpromised, under-delivered and exacerbated the problem will already have roads, schools and bridges named after them.

And it will then be up to the rest of us as well as our children and grandchildren to solve the problem.

Shelby Emmett:

Sequestration is a horrible idea.

What we need are actual reforms of our entire budget process — including entitlements.  More importantly, and to get this done, policymakers need to take their jobs seriously.

Politicians are supposed to be sworn to uphold the Constitution.  This, by the Constitution, means only funding programs and passing laws that are actually under the purview of the federal government.

At the end of the day, Congress should pass budgets, control war and help conduct foreign relations.  It needs to stop sticking its nose in the business — and responsibilities — of the states and the people, respectively.

The states are to blame as well.  On one side of their mouths, governors and state legislatuors demand independence and autonomy.  But they often also claim the world is going to end if there are any cuts in their federal revenue streams.

Federal spending is like a drug.  The states, the people and the politicians are addicted to it.  It is time we had an intervention.

It is time the world saw that— if the federal government was significantly reduced — our schools would still be open, police would still get paid and the sun would still come out tomorrow.

Stacy Washington:

The idea that President Obama is now claiming to be against impending sequester cuts on future spending would be laughable if the premise wasn’t so insulting to the millions of Americans who live by a budget.

Although the President may have forgotten that the sequester was his idea, Americans have not.  In fact, the President believed in the mechanism so much that, in January of 2011, he threatened to veto any legislation that restored government spending.  
Now, Americans are forced to watch as the same President Obama implies that firefighters and other first responders — those employed by state and local governments and not the feds — may lose their jobs.

It’s as if Obama doesn’t understand the most salient point of fact pertaining to the sequester: the cuts aren’t really cuts but merely reductions in spending increases.  That’s right, the cuts amount to a measly 2.4 percent of future spending.  All the agonizing is about $85 billion less being spent for this year.  It’s not enough!  That much could be cut by simply not hiring replacements for government employees after they retire.  Attrition, by the way, is a well-used technique to trim budgets in the private sector.
It should be remembered that any time a governmental entity is forced to make cuts in lieu of increasing spending through higher taxation, that entity will cut programs with a face.

Programs that people love such as parks or services that the public naturally associates with government are cut first in what’s called the “Washington Monument Strategy.”  Instead of cutting travel, meals, perks, employee bonuses, fraud, waste or small cuts across the board to level off the impact, cynical government planners will eliminate all services in one area to punish unwilling taxpayers.

When the public feels the pain and begs for a return of the status quo, so goes the strategy, the money is restored and all is right with the world.  And government is spending more again.
The real reason that Obama has flip-flopped from creating and supporting the sequester to using it to bludgeon Congress is quite simple: he wants to raise more taxes.

Even though the fiscal cliff deal won Obama a tax hike, he now wants more.  He wants to close so-called loopholes, such as ones pertaining to charitable giving and other things with names such as the “Facebook break,” “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich” and “carried interest.”

So, it turns out that the big, scary sequester is really just another ploy to avoid cutting future spending while hiking taxes.  Were folks actually fooled into thinking this was about jobs or leadership?  Open up your wallets, folks, the President is looking for another dip.

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