- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
SIMMONS: Sequester cuts could present opportunities
In Hammond, Ind., a city of about 81,000 people near violence-plagued Chicago, police are concerned they may lose federal money to purchase laptop computers and radar guns.
In Iowa, milk and meat producers don’t anticipate an immediate impact on their farming income, but they are nervous about threats to health and jobs if food inspectors lose their jobs, which the Obama administration said are on the line because the White House and Congress failed to reach a deal to avoid the sequesters.
Since these and other fears have us all wedged between a man-made rock and an uncomfortable hard place, perhaps now is the time to focus on the real problem. It’s the spending, stupid.
Automatically taking effect March 1 because of Washington’s inaction, the across-the-board spending cuts present an opportunity to begin rethinking the role of our ever-expanding federal government in general, as well as public schooling and public safety.
According to federal estimates, Virginia, a state whose northern and middle regions heavily depend on Defense Department spending, stands to lose an estimated $14 million from the federal government for primary and secondary schooling and nearly $13.9 million for educating children with disabilities.
Those “lost” federal revenues would be on top of cuts to programs that give youngsters a so-called head start.
Considering that federal education spending has grown by leaps and bounds since the Carter administration in the 1970s while math, science and reading scores have remained virtually stagnant since then, fewer federal dollars could be a blessing in disguise.
True, it’s certainly challenging that Virginia might have to adjust its state budget — and localities reconsider theirs, too — to keep nearly 350 teachers inside classrooms. Those teaching posts never should have been tethered to federal purse strings anyway — purse strings that are manipulated not by local parents or state leaders answerable to voters but in the tight grasp of inside-the-Beltway bureaucrats.
The same is true regarding critical public-safety policies.
But instead of officials in city hall optimizing that money, they are putting on a poor imitation of Smokey Bear, who ultimately needs firefighters to keep him safe, too.
Suffice it to say, the Metropolitan Police Department is undermanned and underpaid because officers and city officials remain at an impasse over a contract. The officers have been working without a contract since 2007 — when Mr. Bush was in office.
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About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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