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Debt Wish: Firemen First?

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Debt Wish: Firemen First?

Obama Fear Monger

According to reports, if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the Treasury Department will have to prioritize spending for its’ most crucial obligations.  Yet with all the wasteful spending going on in Washington, President Obama is saying Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and pay for “specialists who track down loose nuclear materials” will be the first to go.  Sounds like another chapter in the time-honored Washington tradition of creating “hyperventilated worst-case scenarios” to avoid making real spending cuts.

WASHINGTON WILL SEEK TO EXERT THE “MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF POLITICAL PRESSURE TO BREAK THE IMPASSE”

Brookings Institute’s Philip Wallach: “I happen to think the triage would be chosen to create the maximum amount of political pressure to break the impasse right away, which would be withholding Social Security checks” (Jim Kuhnhenn, “Hitting the Debt Limit: What Bills Would Be Paid?” Associated Press, 1/13/13)

PRESIDENT OBAMA LISTS SOCIAL SECURITY, VETERANS BENEFITS AND OTHERS AT RISK IF DEBT CEILING ISN’T RAISED

President Obama: Benefits To Veterans, Social Security Recipients Could Be Delayed. “Obama said Congress’ failure to raise the government’s borrowing limit would delay payments of benefits to veterans and Social Security recipients.” (Jim Kuhnhenn, “Obama: Debt ceiling fight threatens SS checks,” Associated Press, 1/13/13)

Troops, Small Business Owners, Food Inspectors, Air Traffic Controllers And Specialists Who Track Down Loose Nuclear Materials Were Also Listed:

President Obama: “If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks, and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialist who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn’t get their paychecks.”  (“White House News Conference,” Washington Post, 1/13/13)

BUT REPORTS SHOW THERE’S PLENTY OF WASTEFUL SPENDING TO CUT BEFORE SOCIAL SECURITY AND OTHER “CHERISHED” BENEFITS

Social Security Checks Don’t Have To Be In Danger, The Administration Has Choices:

AP: Social Security Checks Don’t Have To Be In Danger. “No one doubts dire things will happen, and fast, if the government runs out of borrowing authority in coming weeks. But late Social Security checks need not be among them.” (Calvin Woodward, Spin Meter: Obama and his Social Security Warning,” Associated Press, 1/14/13)

“The Administration Has Choices …” “It’s possible, but not preordained, that Social Security recipients, veterans and beneficiaries of other cherished programs would take a hit. The administration has choices …” (Calvin Woodward, Spin Meter: Obama and his Social Security Warning,” Associated Press, 1/14/13)

There’s Plenty Of Wasteful Spending In Washington That Needs To Be Cut:

“Tax Cheats Get $1.4 Billion In Stimulus Loans.” “Tax cheats were given $1.4 billion in government-backed mortgage loans under President Obama’s economic stimulus, and the government doled out at least an additional $27 million in tax credits to delinquents who took the first-time-homebuyer tax break, according to a government audit released Wednesday.” (Stephen Dinan, “Tax Cheats Get $1.4 Billion In Stimulus Loans,” The Washington Times, 6/27/12)

GSA Bonus Pool Tops $44 Million. “The U.S. Government won’t explain, but a 9 News Now investigation has found $30 million in unreported bonuses for fiscal year 2011 – making the already troubled General Services Administration’s total bonus pool nearly $44 million.” (Russ Ptacek, “$30 Million In Unreported GSA Bonuses Uncovered By WUSA9 Investigation, Rep John Mica Plans Congressional Investigation,” WUSA 9, 7/31/12)

Nearly $1 Million For Fruit Fly Testing. “[A] $939,771 experiment funded by the National Institutes of Health in Michigan and Texas that tested fruit flies to discover that male fruit flies are more attracted to younger female fruit flies than older ones.” (Sean Williams, “The 10 Dumbest Ways The Government Wasted Taxpayer Money This Year,” The Daily Finance, 10/17/12)

More Than $16 Billion On Government PR. “The government has spent more than $16 billion over the last decade on outside advertising, marketing and public relations contractors … an investigation by the Washington Guardian and Northwestern University’s Medill News Service has found.” (Phillip Swarts, John Solomon and The Medill News Service, “Federal agencies spent more than $16 billion on advertising, marketing, PR contractors in last decade,” Washington Guardian, 11/30/12)

OSHA Spends Taxpayer Money On “Heat Safety Tool” Mobile App. “A recent Freedom of Information Act request by the free-market oriented Americans for Limited Government revealed that the Labor Department contracts for the development of the ‘Heat Safety Tool’ and related Web 2.0 technologies cost the taxpayer $643,997.60. The contracts were awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus package.” (Josh Peterson, “OSHA spends taxpayer money to develop app that tells workers it’s hot outside,” The Daily Caller, 2/6/12)

“HYPERVENTILATED WORST-CASE SCENARIOS” A TIME-HONORED POLITICAL TACTIC IN WASHINGTON

AP: “Highlighting a threat to the most popular products of the government is a time-honored Washington tactic for turning up the heat on the other side to negotiate and settle.” (Calvin Woodward, Spin Meter: Obama and his Social Security Warning,” Associated Press, 1/14/13)

Firemen First: Washington Has A Long History Of Making Empty Threats To Avoid Spending Cuts. “The political predilection for hyperventilated worst-case scenarios was dubbed the Firemen First principle in 1989 by Charles Peters of The Washington Monthly, and is known in other quarters as the Washington Monument ploy. It’s the threat that a budget cut will force firemen and police to be laid off, or the iconic monument to be shut, when in fact there are other ways to save money.” (Calvin Woodward, Spin Meter: Obama and his Social Security Warning,” Associated Press, 1/14/13)