The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 5, 2013

‘Across-the-board’ cuts not truly across the board


Enid News & Eagle

— A critical point is missed in many discussions about sequestration. Although a certain sense of fairness is found in “across-the-board” cuts in federal spending, those cuts are not truly across the board.

More than half of all federal spending is exempt from sequestration, or faces special rules that reduce the impact of sequestration.

While some exemptions are appropriate, the expansive nature of the exemptions seems out of line with the overall goal of reducing federal spending by “everybody shares” in the cuts.

Exempt programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income, all programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, federal interest payments, federal aid for highways, grants for airports and public transportation, unemployment compensation, Indian health services, Child Support Enforcement, many farm programs and much, much more.

Even more troubling, some federal administrators are proposing to apply the spending cuts required by sequestration in ways that cause the most disruption, inflict the most damage or cause the most public outrage.

An example would be the USDA proposing to furlough federal food safety inspectors in ways that would force food-processing plants to shut down. That’s not smart management. That’s not leadership; that’s rebellion. That’s the kind of do-it-my-way-or-else attitude you might expect to find in a kindergarten classroom, not in our nation’s capital.