Governors across the country have line-item-veto powers to help keep state spending in check. Presidents – Republicans and Democrats – have sought similar authority from Congress, to no avail.
Not so this year.
As the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration loomed, Congress offered the president the authority to decide how the required spending cuts should be achieved.
The president said no. Instead, he chose the meat cleaver approach found in the failed budget deal of 2011.
We know how government operates: When money is tight, politicians threaten cuts to things people care about. It’s a ploy to get what they want, which is typically more of our hard-earned money. There’s little or no effort to cut spending on programs that are less popular or downright wasteful.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma refers to his “Waste Book 2012″ as a starting point for prudent spending cuts. His list includes:
Closer to home, researchers at San Diego State University and UC Davis spent part of a $325,000 National Science Foundation grant to build a robotic squirrel, to see if a fake squirrel could scare off rattlesnakes as effectively as their flesh-and-blood counterparts.
Is that truly necessary spending, given that civilian workers at Travis Air Force Base may soon lose 20 percent of their income?
So as the Obama administration pushes furloughs of civilian Department of Defense workers, releases criminals set for deportation – by the thousands, and pulls air traffic controllers out of airport towers to save money – including those who work in the tower at Napa County Regional Airport, others are looking at spending cuts through the lens of waste, fraud and abuse.
That’s where cuts should be made.
The president could make those cuts, but doesn’t want the responsibility. As a result, the country sits, waiting for the next ax to fall while federal dollars continue to pay for such things as a game app that allows people to relive the experience of high school prom week.