Saturday, April 06, 2013

Obama Inflicts Gratuitous Pain On Timber Communities

No one should be surprised by Obama’s demand that timber communities return millions of dollars already dispersed under the federal Secure Rural Schools Act. He has a vested interest in making sequestration as painful as possible, as we learned from a leaked Department of Agriculture e-mail: “However you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Obama promised that it would hurt, so make certain that it hurts.

Obama’s spokeschild Jay Carney was especially petulant at Tuesday’s White House press briefing. His problem was that the usually obedient news media were not doing his boss’s bidding. They were supposed to beat their way through the heartland, turning up stories of poor, middle class Americans whose lives have been devastated by the federal government sequester. And it wasn’t happening. In fact, since the world didn’t end on March 1st as promised, the press consensus seems to have coalesced around the narrative that the Obama Administration exaggerated the economic disruption that would result from sequestration.

“I know that there hasn’t been a lot of coverage of the impacts of real people, on the families who had to be engaged in lotteries to see whether their child, on a Friday, was still going to be in Head Start on Monday. You know, tell them it doesn’t matter,” Carney said.

Even as the spokeschild was whimpering, Fox News’ Ed Henry pointed out that Obama’s claim that the sequestration would weaken border security was not coming to pass as threatened. In fact, the only manifestation of poorer border security was when Immigration and Customs Enforcement gratuitously released thousands of jailed illegal aliens, some with criminal records, beginning well before March 1st. 


 “Feel free to convey to your readers and viewers that the sequester doesn’t matter,” Carney snapped.

In February, Obama had threatened to furlough Border Patrolman. Now that that we are a full month into the sequester, there have been no furloughs and none are scheduled.

Border security was just one of a number of disasters that the spokeschild, his boss and other surrogates predicted. All this was because federal spending was not increasing as much as Obama wished. Spending was not going down.

Education secretary Arne Duncan predicted that teachers would be laid off en masse: “It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs….There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall.”

Untrue.

The White House claimed that 800,000 civilian Defense Department employees would face layoffs. That was a bit of an exaggeration. In truth, they would be seeing 14 furlough days over the next year.

On the day that the sequester took effect, Barack Obama announced that White House janitors would see their hours slashed. There was not a word of truth in that claim. As the Fox News Department of Euphemisms phrased it: The president was, “struggling with accuracy.”

Among William Shakespeare’s more memorable bits of advice to future writers was that “brevity is the soul of wit.” Here’s how it works: Obama lied.

And he lied with intent. As one of his prominent allies, Emily Holubowich, a Democratic lobbyist, phrased it, “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”

Actually, she was wrong. The worst case scenario is that Obama’s fawning press corps would start saying the same thing: “See, that wasn’t so bad.”

So he needs to make it worse. And who better to punish than rural communities whose residents cling bitterly to their guns and religion? They don’t vote for Democrats anyway.

The whole point of the Secure Rural Schools act is to partially remediate economic damage inflicted on those communities by federal environment laws and regulations. If an environmentalist wacko discovers a rare fly, mouse or insect in a forest, timber harvest, mining and all other resource based economic activity is shut down. The Endangered Species Act protects the Northern Spotted owls, not loggers.

But what is really endangered now is Obama’s credibility. He lied when he claimed sequestration was a Republican idea. He grossly exaggerated sequestration’s effect on the functioning of government. And since sequestration, economic forecasts have improved.

He was exposed. Someone needs to pay. 

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