- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Remember when President Obama was flying around the country warning everyone that the budget-cutting sequestration would destroy life as we know it America?

The president was hyperbolic about it, preaching doom and gloom across the land if we didn’t turn away from the disastrous path Congress put us on. Mr. Obama did, too, by signing the bill that would send us over the sequestration cliff if a new budget wasn’t approved.

The Pentagon wouldn’t be able to pay its bills, he said. Federal food assistance would be denied to 600,000 low-income women and children. Teachers would be laid off.

The cuts came, but the sky didn’t fall. The sun came up the next day, the government didn’t shut down, the stock market soared, and the deficit even declined.

The Washington Post acknowledged what happened in a front-page story last week under the headline that read: “Budget cuts, but no chaos,” followed by a secondary headline that declared, “Sequester milder than forecast.”

We know now that Mr. Obama was peddling fear, a game he’s good at and that he successfully parlayed in his 2012 re-election campaign. He thought it would work again this year, but fear-mongering isn’t a policy, and the American people know a shell game when they see one.

The Post’s story about Mr. Obama’s false and — let’s face it — downright dishonest scare tactics, didn’t mince words.

After checking into the president’s gloomiest predictions, the paper found that “none of these things happened.”

“Sequestration did hit, on March 1. And since then, the $85 billion budget cut has caused real reductions in many federal programs that people depend on. But it has not produced what the Obama administration predicted: widespread breakdowns in crucial government services.”

There are good reasons why Mr. Obama’s preposterous claims were not going to happen. Federal spending under Mr. Obama is approaching nearly $4 trillion a year, and $85 billion in cuts — a tiny fraction of that — spread across the vast expanse of the government wasn’t going to seriously reduce what the feds spend each year.

Before sequestration took effect, Congress passed and Mr. Obama signed a bill that gave departments more wiggle room to shift funds from low-priority programs to higher-priority ones.

Let’s not ignore the government’s insatiable ability to increase its revenue through higher taxation. There was the 2 percentage point increase in the payroll tax and the president’s new 40 percent tax rate on wealthy Americans and on capital-gains income that Mr. Obama demanded as part of the deal.

Then there’s the growth of the economy, as weak as that is, which increased the government’s income. I don’t think Mr. Obama’s impotent economic policies added much to any revenue growth, but corporate incomes have risen as businesses have cut costs and boosted their net earnings, which has resulted in higher tax revenues.

The result, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, is that this year’s federal budget deficit will fall below $650 billion, after four years of deficits of well over $1 trillion ($1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011, and $1.2 trillion in 2012.)

The Congressional Budget Office’s lower deficit forecast struck budget-watchers as wildly exaggerated at the time, and this week the Obama administration said it expects the 2013 deficit to be around $759 billion — still about three-quarters of $1 trillion that will be added to a $16 trillion debt.

Story Continues →