Last week, Congress and the White House wasted no time in helping the airline industry by stopping air traffic controller furloughs. This week, Congress is ineffective and silent about cuts to Meals on Wheels, FDA food safety inspections, unemployment checks, services at national parks, important weather forecasting and other essential services. It is clear that many in Congress want to end what they believe are “wasteful” programs, but they remain evasive or silent about their readiness to pamper major industries. On April 29, ABC News questioned whether Congress is attempting to”second-guess” choices that should be made by executive branch officials.
According to an April 30 Huffington Post report, President Obama said, “You seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave,” On Saturday, he said, “Because of these reckless cuts, there are parents whose kids just got kicked out of Head Start programs scrambling for a solution. There are seniors who depend on programs like Meals on Wheels to live independently looking for help. There are military communities — families that have already sacrificed enough — coping under new strains. All because of these cuts.”
According to an April 29 White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described the sequester as something that never should have become law or been implemented. Carney says the sequester was deliberately designed to be terrible policy, and it has the impact of a terrible policy.
Budget cutting works best when federal agencies can redirect the money in their agency accounts. This way, experts can make the best decisions about shifting funds to essential programs. The problem is that many of the ineffective and nonessential programs help to pay back major political contributors like the Airline Industry. Many in Congress have their positions at stake and will fight to keep their contributors happy. In this sense, the “terrible policy” gives executive branch decision making to a “pay-to-play” Congress.
The only rational news is that some federal programs are exempt from the spending cuts. Medicaid, Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, military salaries and some programs for the poor are examples. That does nothing for Medicaid recipients who also need Meals on Wheels. Cutting unemployment checks helps to force people into jobs that do not pay a living wage. Without a coherent national budget, both the White House and Congress will be forced into crisis management, but with political motivations.