"Deep concern." That's what President Obama said on Monday about his feelings towards the automatic federal spending cuts, which began to take place yesterday.
"We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families," Obama told reporters during a meeting with his Cabinet.
The President's opposition to the $85 billion in spending cuts is well known, and according to the Congressional Budget Office it's really only $44 billion. At turns, he's called it "draconian" and "drastic."
It’s not as bad as it seems. For example, layoffs may be in the offing, but right now the government is advertising for workers.
The U.S. Forest Service is looking for “recreation aides" this summer. At the same time, the IRS advertised for an office secretary in Maryland, the U.S. Mint wanted 24 people to help press coins, and the Agriculture Department said it needs three "insect production workers" to help grow bollworms in Phoenix.
On Monday alone, as these shocking cuts were supposed to take place, the government advertised 400 new jobs by 6 p.m. Things can’t be all that bad if Uncle Sam still wants to hire 24 people to press coins.
In February, during the to-ing and fro-ing over sequestration, our federal debt rose by $253.5 billion. Our government was borrowing at a rate 44 times the puny cuts we were arguing about.
Don't worry about the government going hungry. The federal government is on pace to collect a record $2.7 billion in tax receipts this year, 11% higher than last year.
It’s not just the hiring and the tax collections that continue. It's the waste too. The USDA is planning two conferences in Oregon and California in the upcoming weeks that will feature guest chefs and wine for department employees.
Then there are the duplicated programs and the reams of poverty programs.
The federal government runs 33 different housing programs: 21 programs to provide food, 8 health-care programs, and 27 cash or general assistance programs.
It's hard to find a government department that doesn't run an anti-poverty program and that’s just scratching the surface.
According to Senator Tom Coburn, there are nearly 1,400 programs that duplicate others for a total of $364.5 billion in wasteful spending.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time we stopped spending so much. Maybe it’s time the government stopped producing cooking shows and studying how fish view Democracy. Maybe it’s time we get the shrimp off the treadmill that we spent $500 million on.
The Presidents says he’s worried about cuts hitting regular Americans, but I think he just wants to keep government growing and growing.
The Willis Report with Gerri Willis investigates the top business stories, outs corporate scams and polices D.C. policy.