It is not a fiscal cliff; it is the Sequester!
President Barack Obama along with Members of Congress continue to negotiate the fiscal budget. The dialogue in the public media seems to be much like Chicken Little crying ‘The Sky is Falling’ when in reality it is a 2.4% cut in the budget. Sure, $85 billion dollars seems and is a significant amount of funds, yet when put into a percentage it is minimal to expect for a cut in a trillion dollar plus budget.
Arguably, a 2.4% budget cut in the home of millions of Americans relying upon assistance for basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter is significant. Yet there are many time the resourcefulness of the American people find a manner to stretch the dollars available in a family unit. There is no reason a close examination of the US budget cannot be looked at with a jaundice eye for at least 2.4% in cuts. What must occur is the honesty and practice of open government, not scare tactics saturating the mass media during the last 10 days. Reports of teachers getting ‘pink slips’, closure of federal cases and release of prisoners, subsidized programs such as meals on wheels and head start reductions. The rhetoric of what could happen needs to yield to what should happen.
Our responsible publicpreneurals are experts at doing more with less. Exactly where are we now in the budget process. According to the US Budget Office, the last balanced budget was in 1969 so realistically calling or expecting a balanced budget now is likely out of the equation. During prior administrations, the need for a balanced budget was widely discussed yet little action was taken. In 2003-2004, there was rejection by both houses in an attempt to address wasteful spending to reduce the budget as noted by www.governmentspending.com . The 2003-2004 recommendations included 24.5 billion dollars of unreconciled transactions; 100 million dollars of unused flight tickets; 5.8 million dollars of unauthorized credit card use; Medicare overspending; and 21.8 billion dollars of student loans in default. Examination of the budget shows the continued existence of extensive wasteful spending.
The examination needs to look at the now, what can be done, and take action. As example, the below graph from www.usgovernmentspending.com shows current spending of the federal budget main categories.
The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org ) reports 606 new federal job posting for librarians, painters, and public affairs. The delay at airports may be necessary and a small sacrifice for substantial savings; as well the tours at the White House could be eliminated. There is currently massive spending in defense, health care and pensions, reductions may need to occur in the larger spending programs, along with deeper cuts in looking at discretion programs or services. In 2012, according to the House Committee on Oversight and the US Budget office, the Inspector General (IG) made over 17,000 recommendation totaling $67 billion dollars of budget cuts or 77% of the current 2.4% sequester. The time is here and the time is now – not for fear tactics or political posturing. It is time to examine the budget, the many entities making recommendations, and eliminate the sacred cows to reform spending in a very meaningful and lasting manner. The elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse of public funds cannot continue and is the response to survival of various programs for society.
Dr. Wayne Brock is a consultant, researcher, author, speaker, and presenter of collaboration and collaborative leadership. He is the founder of The Interdisciplinary Collaborative Leadership Institute and VP of 21st Century Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.