If the public is to understand the full awfulness of the sequester, it seems that it must first suffer. So, as Eric Katz reports at Government Executive, the FBI will be furloughing agents and cutting costs in a way that, according to its departing director will:
… impact the FBI’s ability to prevent crime and terrorism, which will in turn impact the safety and security of our nation.”
At a recent press conference, his successor said that he intends to:
... publicize the impacts of sequestration as much as possible [saying] “I can’t imagine that if we have charged people with protecting their fellow citizens, that it makes sense to send them home and tell them you can’t work [and won’t be paid] for two weeks.”
One problem with the sequester is the method. It relieves Washington of the obligation to set priorities. Not enough money? Okay, then, everybody gets less to spend. Start cutting. Beginning with the aircraft carriers and FBI agents.
One wonders if, given the choice, Americans wouldn't prefer to spend something between much less than now and absolutely nothing on the Department of Education rather than reducing the hours that FBI agents can work at "preventing crime and terrorism."
The effects of the sequester would be dire. Or so we were told. The massive furloughing of bureaucrats across all agencies and departments would result in cutbacks, or even elimination, of essential services. The bonds on civilization would be strained.
Forget the sequester. If you're Chuck Schumer, there are ways around it. Consider the recent example of a U.S. Marine Corps band cancelling its scheduled performance at a St. Patrick's Day parade due to the "sequester"--and Chuck Schumer's successful "push" for the band to come anyway.
Buildings in the same complex as Vice President Joe Biden's official residence in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Naval Observatory, will be closing doors to tour groups due to the mandatory budget cuts of sequestration.
In a sharply written statement, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama blasts President Obama for campaigning and not governing. He calls Obama's response to the sequestration "the most cynical behavior I have seen during my time in Washington."
In a letter to congressional leaders organized by the Foreign Policy Initiative, national security leaders says, "stop sequestration now." The letter is signed by former senators Norm Coleman and Joe Lieberman, former defense secretary Bob Gates, Bill Kristol, and many others.
The U.S. military announced today that instead of keeping mulitple aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, only one would be kept there. The reason offered? Uncertainty surrounding budget cuts.
"The secretary of defense has delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), which were scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va., later this week for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility," says the Pentagon in a press release announcing the big move.
President Obama likes to say that a strong America abroad rests on a strong America at home. What he and his administration continue to ignore, however, is that a prosperous America at home has in no small way rested for decades on America’s global military preeminence.