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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Sequester Cuts Threaten Immigration Reform, Gun Control Plans.

Reuters |  Sunday,  03/03/2013   9:40 am EST

Obama Sequester

Brings us the following first-at-hand evaluation of the Washington Sequester upheaval – we rather think it is not all bad.
* Polls show Obama gets some of the blame in budget crisis

* Immigration, gun control could be overshadowed

* Romney emerges to attack Obama after months of silence

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By Jeff Mason and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) – Just hours after across-the-board spending cuts officially took effect, President Barack Obama pressed Congress on Saturday to work with him on a compromise to halt a fiscal crisis that threatens the economy and his broader domestic policy agenda.

The failure by Obama and Republicans to agree to halt the $85 billion “sequester” cuts virtually guaranteed that fiscal issues would remain center stage in Washington for weeks, crowding out Obama’s proposals to reform immigration, tighten gun laws and raise the minimum wage.

{But please, that is what the Republicans wanted all along – why does it come as a surprise and why does Reuters accepts that Obama has any part in what Reuters accepts blindly to be a National disaster? — This is our comment – SustainabiliTank editor}

The economic effects of the spending cuts may take time to kick in, but political blowback has already begun and is hitting Obama as well as congressional Republicans.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday showed neither Republicans nor Obama and his fellow Democrats escaping blame.

Obama’s approval rating dropped to 47 percent in a Gallup poll on Friday, down from 51 percent in the previous three-day period measured.

{Obama’s ratings drop not because of the Sequester but because he insists to chase after the Republicans begging them to come back en-bloc. Would it not be better strategy to address them individually and start showing them what each particular constituency will lose in the Sequester? That takes time and there is no hurry on the Republican side}.

While most polls show voters blame Republicans primarily for the fiscal mess, Obama could see himself associated with the worst effects of sequestration like the looming furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. He signed an order on Friday night that started putting the cuts into effect.

In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama appealed for Republicans to work with Democrats on a deal, saying Americans were weary of seeing Washington “careen from one manufactured crisis to another.”

But he offered no new ideas to resolve the recurring fiscal fights, and there was no immediate sign of any negotiations.

“There’s a caucus of common sense (in Congress),” Obama said in his address. “And I’m going to keep reaching out to them to fix this for good.”

At the heart of Washington’s persistent fiscal showdowns is disagreement over how to slash the budget deficit and the $16 trillion national debt, bloated over the years by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and government stimulus for the ailing economy.

The president wants to close the fiscal gap with spending cuts and tax hikes, what he calls a “balanced approach.” But Republicans do not want to concede again on taxes after doing so in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” at the end of last year.

The president offered a litany of hardships in his radio address he said would flow from the forced spending cuts.

“Beginning this week, businesses that work with the military will have to lay folks off. Communities near military bases will take a serious blow. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their country – Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, civilians who work for the Defense Department – will see their wages cut and their hours reduced,” he said.

{THAT SOUNDS FINE BUT NOT REALLY TRUE – THE SIMPLE FACTS ARE THAT SOME EXCESSES BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM IN THE LONG BUSH YEARS CAN BE UNDONE NOW IF TARGETED FIRST FOR DECAPITATION BY SEQUESTER! SO – WHY NOT PROPOSING IT DIRECTLY BY SAYING THAT EXCESS FAT HAS TO BE CUT FIRST AND BLAMELESS UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE WILL BE HURT – SO THE ADMINISTRATION WILL ADDRESS THEIR PROBLEMS BUT USE THE OCCASION NEVERTHELESS TO CUT THE EXCESS FAT THAT WAS PUT THERE MAINLY BECAUSE IT WAS WHAT THE 1% WANTED.}

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The Reuters article continues:

‘IT’S CALLED LEADERSHIP’

At Yellowstone National Park, a massive and costly annual operation to clear the roads of snow that was scheduled to start on Monday will be postponed due to the cuts,

Park managers have to trim $1.75 million from Yellowstone’s $35 million annual budget, which will delay the opening of most entrances to America’s first national park by two weeks.

It could mean millions of dollars in lost tourism and tax revenues for small, rural towns in Montana and Wyoming.

“I think it’s counter-productive, and I expect a lot of people to be raising hell,” said Mike Darby, whose family owns the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming, at the east gate of the park.

Critics said Obama should have held meaningful talks with congressional leaders long before Friday’s last-minute meeting at the White House, which failed to prevent the automatic cuts written into law during a previous budget crisis in 2011.

“The president should call the senior representatives of the parties together to Camp David – or any place with a table, chairs and no TV cameras – for serious negotiations on replacing the sequester with firm, enforceable beginnings of a comprehensive long-term debt stabilization agreement,” former Republican Senator Pete Domenici and fiscal expert Alice Rivlin said in a statement released on Friday.

The budget veterans, who lead the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, called on Obama and congressional Republican leaders to “be willing to tell those on the polar extremes of their parties that a central majority consensus will govern. It’s called leadership.”

After months of silence on political issues, Obama’s Republican opponent in last November’s election resurfaced to take a swipe at the Democrat’s handling of the sequestration mess. “No one can think that that’s been a success for the president,” Mitt Romney said in an interview to air on “Fox News Sunday.”

The former Massachusetts governor accused Obama of “flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing,” instead of striking a budget deal.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans blame Republicans for the lack of a deal to halt sequestration, while 22 percent hold either Obama or the Democrats in Congress responsible, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Thirty-seven percent blame them all.

The budget standstill has overshadowed Obama’s aggressive set of policy goals ranging from boosting pre-school education to fighting climate change and reforming America’s immigration system. But Obama vowed on Friday the fiscal troubles would not prevent him from advocating for those proposals.

“I think there are other areas where we can make progress even with the sequester unresolved. I will continue to push for those initiatives,” he told a news conference.

{AND THAT IS JUST SO – THE BEST OBAMA CAN DO NOW IS TO STICK TO HIS PROGRAM AS INTENDED AND TO LET THE ADMINISTRATION PICK THE AREAS WHERE IT MAKES SENSE TO APPLY EXPENDITURE-CUTS FIRST. IF IT CALLS FOR CLOSING SOME PARKS TO SPRING TOURISM – SO BE IT.
A RETHINKING OF THE PUBLIC USE OF NATIONAL PARKS MAY BE OVERDUE ANYWAY. LET HIM START BY CLOSING THEM TO HUNTERS AND CUTTING THE STAFF THAT WAS SERVICING THIS SO CALLED SPORT}.

ALSO, AS NOT YET ANALYZED, BUT SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY MAY COME BACK FROM HIS MULTI-STOP TRIP WITH RECOMMENDATIONS HOW TO DROP EXPENDITURES CONNECTED TO UNTHANKFUL  ALLIES – DOLLING OUT MONEY IN ORDER TO BUY INTERNATIONAL LOVE MAYBE SOMETHING OF THE US PAST. JUDGING FROM TRANSCRIPTS OF THE PRESS Q&A ON HIS STOPS AND ON HIS PLANE, WE CAN SEE SUCH SAVINGS EMERGE UNDER AN OBAMA SECOND TERM INTERNATIONAL POLICY REDRESS. REALLY – NOT EVERYTHING FROM THE PAST – THAT HAS NO PROMISE FOR THE FUTURE – OUGHT TO BE CONTINUED.}

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