- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2013

During the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama promised to protect the middle class from the Republicans. He said he was the candidate of the “99 percent” while that evil Mitt Romney was the candidate of the 1 percent at the expense of everyone else. Unfortunately for us Americans, in the past few weeks, Mr. Obama has totally undermined this pledge, crushing the middle class to further his political standing.

Mr. Obama has grandstanded the sequestration, showing no flexibility in making smart cuts — and employees, noticeably those at the Federal Aviation Administration, were expected to pay the price. Under sequestration, the FAA’s budget was cut 5 percent. One would think, then, that employees such as air-traffic controllers would see their pay cut by 5 percent. In reality, Mr. Obama cut their pay by 10 percent by furloughing them every 10th day. Though the FAA furloughs were ended after a week, Republicans offered the president flexibility to avoid them in the first place — and some lawyers have said the continuing resolution provided Mr. Obama with enough flexibility to avoid instituting them (“FAA respite from sequester fuels budget fighting,” Web, April 28).

Instead, Mr. Obama decided to make middle-class Americans bear a disproportionate burden of otherwise-mild spending cuts. A 10 percent pay cut can make saving impossible and keeping up with the mortgage and other monthly payments challenging. Families struggling to get by, thanks to the already sluggish Obama economy, are made even worse off. Why would the president so blatantly attack typical Americans? He promised to defend us, after all.

The answer is cold-hearted politicking. By forcing more air-traffic controllers out of their airport towers, Mr. Obama knew delays would grow, annoying every American who travels. He wanted to channel this anger against Republicans, whom he likes to say forced the sequestration.


I had thought our president was simply incompetent; it is now clear he is a hypocrite who will ignore his campaign pledges to further himself, even at the expense of the Americans he promised to protect. We need to ensure all Americans see through this callous charade.

SCOTT RUESTERHOLZ

Washington, D.C.