Last Updated:September 19 @ 12:09 pm

Harsanyi: Thank You, Mr. President

By David Harsanyi

America is fed up with GOP obstructionism. So undoubtedly, everyone is hopeful that Republicans will allow President Barack Obama's sequestration plans to proceed unhindered. It's only right.

The GOP, in fact, should quit while it's ahead. Rather than penning editorials and appearing on Sunday morning talk shows to try to pin the blame on others, leadership would be far better off simply saying: "Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for dreaming up a plan that implements some minimal spending cuts. Thanks for signing it into law. It's not much, but we sure appreciate it."

It's been a while since the GOP held the upper hand in any skirmish, and this situation holds the special distinction of asking nothing of Republicans -- a tactic that meshes well with their present skill set. No arguing over "revenue." No threat of a government shutdown. No default. No need for a protracted surrender.

How will it play out? "Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job? ... Are you willing to have teachers laid off or kids not have access to Head Start?" asks the president. Don't forget firemen, TSA agents and mental health workers -- a chilling proposition if any of it were true. We're about a week away from a White House press release warning that sequestration would mean your kid's disabled preschool teacher would have her wheelchair repossessed.

This scaremongering shows not only that Obama isn't serious about deficit spending or reform but that he believes his skill and perpetual campaign machine is enough to persuade the public -- and consequently the House -- to see it his way. This time, he may be wrong.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, we're actually looking at a $44 billion spending reduction in 2013 -- or reducing what the federal government planned to budget this year by 1.5 percent. So it's a cut that would total 0.5 percent of gross domestic product. Does the average American believe that living without a week's worth of government spending would crush civilization? Does anyone? Notwithstanding Obama's contention, not a single penny has been cut by his administration. So when Obama claims that the sequester cuts would take a "meat cleaver" to government, he's arguing that even a modest reduction in future spending could devastate the economy. Does that fly?

Republicans can mess this up, of course, by creating confusion about their own position. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, House Speaker John Boehner makes a confused argument that cutting is "ugly and dangerous." Does any fiscal conservative really believe that carving out $44 billion of a $3.8 trillion budget is dangerous? And Sen. John McCain argues that sequester would be a "devastating" blow to America's security. As a political matter, a willingness to slightly reduce spending across the board could only add credibility to the GOP's argument on spending. If cutting $500 billion from the Pentagon budget over a decade means ruin, hey, we're already ruined.

No, the ham-fisted sequester cuts would not be the optimal way to trim spending, but it's the best available plan -- the only plan, really. If there are ways to prioritize these reductions that make more sense, Republicans should join that conversation. If Democrats would rather reform entitlement programs, that's an even more productive discussion. But it's unlikely. Sequestration is likely the best opportunity to slow spending growth that conservatives are going to see over the next four years.

So just thank the president for his superb work, and move on.

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David Harsanyi is a columnist and senior reporter at Human Events. He is the author of "Obama's Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama's Reelection." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi. To find out more about David Harsanyi and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

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7 Comments

  1. Ollie_FanComment by Ollie_Fan
    February 22, 2013 @ 9:17 am

    What should be cried far and wide: “This is on you entirely. You BHO, and every Democrat in Congress.”

    To hear all of the right in unison sticking to the message I’ll bet Obama would start squirming. He knows very well his policies in 09-11 were complete and utter failures and going down the same path will deal the same hand.

    Get on the national Sunday talk shows and repeat the mantra over and over so it sinks into the thick skulls of the clowns who voted the head clown in again.

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    • my04301933Comment by my04301933
      February 22, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

      Ollie-Fan, I agree with you…”sequestration plans to proceed unhindered. It’s only right.” as you referred to should be allowed…

      I really don’t know what Boehner is negotiating for…if he thinks he is expected to beg, borrow, cry, and wet his pants to Obama so that the “low information voters” out here don’t get mad at him, then he is drastically underestimating those who are actually DEMANDING less spending…

      Obama has never once LED America…he has campaigned us to death day after day, and has relied on the brain-dead class to support him…

      …the sequestration would place him in a position where he would either have to lead, follow, …or get the hell out of the way!

      But I don’t know who I distrust the most…Boehner or Obama…a toss up.

      America has become completely disillusioned of the Republican Party…Boehner to us is a loser and perhaps the cause of the party’s poor image.

      The Republican is going under…and Americans who give a damn about their country are selecting and creating a party and new platform to replace it.

      Ryan is OK, but I urge him to urge other Congress members to back off and let Obama sink…

      …Look, there is nothing else the G.O.P. can do that would regain respect…except allowing the sequestration, and dumping Boehner…a LOSER, a real loser!

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  2. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    February 22, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    All they have to offer is fear itself. This government ran just fine under a government a trillion dollars a year less expensive. The Democrat party did NOT. Starve the beast. The more money you give them, the more of YOUR money they can skim into their campaign coffers to defeat you. Left to their own devices and ability to create and live off their own money they would wilt on the political vine. We of the Self-governing, self determinating DNA on the other hand, who were born and bred for a land of Self-government CAN live quite well without government who in actuality just gets in our way.

    Let Obama now reap what he was sown, let him eat the dirt of an empty field already stripped naked by his political parasites. Sequester the infesters and long live the investers.

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  3. rrg51Comment by rrg51
    February 22, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    I don’t know that anyone except Cantor and possibly Ryan have put forward any ideas, and no news is interested in giving them press.

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  4. clarkentComment by clarkent
    February 22, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

    As the sequester was originally laid out by Obama, it is time for him to accept them. It’s time for the Gov’t to cut spending. The more they can get ,the more they will spend. Republican Lawmakers: Do not back down on this, PLEASE! More than half of what Obama is saying in his rhetoric speeches is not new. Most of the cuts he is now claiming will happen definitely, WILL NOT HAPPEN!

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  5. rzraickComment by rzraick
    February 22, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    This was a promise made by the DEMs and Obama. This was what they agreed to do in return for raising their credit limit.

    Now that it is time to keep the promise, they want to break it and are doing everything they can to do so. They are using drama and fear to gain poltical support for them to break their promise.

    These guys never keep their promises. Stop believing them. They are professional liars.

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  6. newrepublicanComment by newrepublican
    February 25, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    Obama directed his administration to ignore sequestration becaue “it will never happen”. Well, sequestration is the LAW OF THE LAND and if he instructed his administration to not make a responsible implementation plan then Obama is guilty of derelict of duty and mis-use of his official office, surely an impeachable offense … what does “high crimes or misdemeaners” entail if this is not a misdemeaner at a minimum??

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