Edward Harmon: America’s great enablers

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 at 1:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 at 1:26 p.m.

The recent sound and fury about the immediate and savage results of the sequestration do provide a serious teachable moment about America’s great enablers.

Until the era of Obama, public and material lies by our leaders had serious consequences. It is now plausible to assume that President Obama, based on his record and statements, is not to blame for his consistent lying.

Psychologists define “pathological lying” as “falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view ... and may manifest over a period of years.” The individual may be aware that he or she is lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are living in a fantasy.

Obama said during the recent campaign, that sequestration would not take place; that a bill would be public for five days before it was voted on; that raising the debt limit was unpatriotic; that the stimulus would be temporary;that he would cut the budget deficit in half in his first term; that he would have a transparent government — and then crafted Obamacare in secret even from the Democrats in the House, who did not have a chance to read the bill before voting for it.

He either knowingly lied to the American public or he was not aware he was lying. I don’t know what to believe. The sequestration, which Obama proposed and then denied having done so, is yet the latest example of someone with a problem telling the truth.

Let’s look at the facts that you will not see in the media. In fiscal year 2013, according to the Office of Management and Budget, Obama has raised taxes by $149.7 billion. Sequestration reduces projected spending by $85.3 billion. Obama seems to have forgotten that the GOP agreed to those tax increases, at considerable political cost.

Sequestration reduces the projected rate of increase, not actual, government spending, by 2.4 percent. Even after sequestration, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year and 30 percent more than it did in 2007. Government spending on non- defense discretionary programs will be 19.2 percent higher and spending on defense will be 13.8 percent higher than in 2007.

Obama’s reaction to the sequestration was un-presidential, at best. Instead of cutting obviously wasteful programs such as $200 million for a realty TV show in India, a grant to fund a Chinese study on swine manure, a grant to create a “RoboSquirrel” to see how a snake would react to it, spending of $72 million on sightseeing trains in Alaska and $22 million on trolleys in Missouri and providing free cell phones to low-income individuals where 41 percent of the recipients don’t qualify, he launched a fear/smear political campaign that lacked only in truth and originality.

Obama turned down a GOP offer to give him more flexibility in allocating the reduced spending, so it could be done judiciously and, instead embarked on a program to have the cuts inflict as much pain on the American people as possible; as long as he can blame someone else for the consequences.

Obama uses fear instead of truth and refuses to have the political courage to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs. He immediately has arranged for the release of illegal immigrants and threatens Americans that firefighters, first responders, police, food safety, security at airports and health-care research are all in jeopardy. It is only a matter of time until we see stories about people starving and being tossed out into the cold, all based on projected spending cuts over 10 years

I get it. Americans and the media have become the great enablers of this level of deceit and incompetence. Like every parent knows, unless there are consequences to bad behavior it will continue and get worse and worse.

I have kept waiting for Obama to exhibit one scintilla of leadership and political courage in these difficult times. He could start by fulfilling his pledges or by reducing entitlement spending or the tax gifts he has given to his campaign funders, like Hollywood, the government employee unions, the environmental lobby and the like.

That will not happen unless his continued and willful deceit begins to have real consequences. So far, that has not been the case.

Edward B. Harmon lives in Alachua.

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