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Poison Pill

February 25, 2013

The term “Poison Pill” is usually used in the investing world. It refers to defensive schemes that make hostile takeover by a corporate-raider prohibitively expensive or unattractive. In the context of Obama’s idea that ended with him signing the Sequestration bill, he thought he could force Republicans into giving him tax increases and increasing the debt limit, by threatening a terrible alternative: Massive cuts in defense spending.

The Sequestration bill, which outlined automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, was signed by Obama almost two years ago. The bill involved the appointment of six Democrats and six republicans (half from the Senate and half from the House) to what Obama called a “Super Committee.” In addition to being an absurd and irrational act, it also was unconstitutional (since it authorized 12 men and women to act for the entire U.S. Congress).

At the time I wrote, “This is insanity. There is no way that an evenly divided committee will come up with anything useful. Perhaps if there were an Independent on the Super Committee to break ties and move things along, it might have a chance. But where would you find a true Independent in Congress? This thing is dead before it even gets started.” Two months later I was proved right.

This is a timeline of events related to this inane political stunt…

July 27, 2011
According to documents obtained by Bob Woodward and published in his new book, “The Price of Politics,” Obama White House Budget Director Jack Lew (later Chief of Staff, who will soon be Secretary of the Treasury) and White House Legislative Affairs Director Ross Nabors met at 2:30 PM with Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Reid’s Chief of Staff, David Krone. Lew said, “We have an idea for a trigger.” “What’s this idea?” Reid asked skeptically. “Sequestration,” replied Lew. “The beauty of Sequestration is that it is so ridiculous that no one will ever want it to happen.”

An important note, in light of Obama’s later denial of any involvement: Nabors has stated that he and Lew got approval of the scheme from Obama before going to see Reid.

July 30, 2011
Four days later Harry Reid, speaking for the Democrats in a press conference, admits: “We’ve been willing to say that there could be a Sequestration, as long as it included some revenue.”

August 1, 2011
Speaker of the House John Boehner says the Republicans are on board with Sequestration, claiming, “I got 98% of what I wanted. So I’m happy.” I wonder how happy he is about Sequestration today?

August 2, 2011
On national television Obama proclaims, “Leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement. It established a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November tough spending cuts that both parties would find objectionable, which would automatically go into effect if we don’t act.” At the time he smugly took ownership of the Sequestration charade because he believed it would force the Republicans into increasing the National Debt Limit. Later, he would claim that he had no part in designing Sequestration, and would blame Republicans for the idea!

October 22, 2012
During the presidential debate, Mitt Romney challenges Obama on the Sequestration. Obama lies, “The Sequestration is not something I proposed. It’s something Congress proposed. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN,” he sternly proclaimed. This helped him get re-elected, since Sequestration had already become quite unpopular. What if he had told the truth instead (something he does on rare occasions)? Or what if the liberal media had held his feet to the fire and revealed what they knew to be the truth? It is quite possible that he would not have been re-elected.

October 24, 2012
Jack Lew, the White House operator who first proposed Sequestration to Harry Reid on July 26, 2011, perpetuated Obama’s lie at a Florida campaign stop: “There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said.

November, 2011
With Sequestration deadlines looming, Obama exhibits his usual lack of leadership by flying with his family to Hawaii for yet another taxpayer-funded vacation (which cost over $4 Million!). As has been the case with many other national crises, Obama was AWOL. (The most recent example of his dereliction of duty was the Benghazi fiasco in which four Americans died during a 12-hour period during which the Obama administration did nothing to help them.)

November 13, 2011
The Super Committee officially falls apart. Speaking for the Democrats, Super Committee member Senator James Clyburn states, “The fact of the matter is that Democrats have not coalesced around a plan.”

February, 2012
Republican Senators propose alternative budget cuts to prevent Sequestration from slashing the defense budget. Democrats flatly refuse to even consider the alternatives.

February 13, 2012
In Senate confirmation hearings regarding Jack Lew’s nomination to be Secretary of the Treasury, Lew admits that he took Obama’s idea for Sequestration to Harry Reid, but claims that “It was complicated.”

February 14, 2013
John Boehner states, “The Sequestration was the president’s idea. His party needs to follow through.”

February 15, 2013
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the Democrat’s second-in-command in the Senate, says, “Sequestration is a Republican policy. And it is a bad policy.” At least he had one thing right – it was a bad, bad, stupid idea – but it came directly from his boss, Obama.

February 17, 2013
Chris Wallace asks Bob Woodward point-blank: “Let’s end all this back and forth. Whose idea was the Sequestration?” Without hesitation, Woodward, the person who has researched this fiasco more than anyone else, states, “It was the White House’s.”

February 19, 2013
Obama appears at the White House with a backdrop of police officers and firefighters to denounce the Sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize investments in education and energy and would “cost jobs.” 

February 19, 2013
Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, admits that the idea for Sequestration came from the Obama White House! Contradicting his own earlier statements and Obama’s lies, Carney said, “As has been reported, the Sequestration was an idea that the White House put forward. But let’s be clear,” he continues. “The Republicans embraced it.”

February 20, 2013
Obama, in a CBS interview, in his customary less-than-eloquent manner rants: “I don't know why it is in this town, folks leave stuff until the last minute. There's no other profession, no other industry where people wait until the 11th hour to solve these big problems.”

February 23, 2013
Dennis Kucinich, former Democrat Congressman, made it clear: “This idea started with the White House. They took it to the Democrat leadership. The president signed the bill into law. They never expected that the Sequestration would actually happen. They looked at it as a negotiating strategy.” If so, it sure backfired on Obama. In a recent poll, 83% of Americans said they believe Obama is spending us into disaster.

In the same interview, Kucinich commented on the president trying to distance himself from his Sequestration scheme during the election: “He decided he needed to move away from the Sequestration. It was an election issue.” 

February 23, 2013
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, says, “The president owns the Sequestration. It was his idea; but he thought it would never happen. Well guess what? It’s his own poison pill that he’s being forced to swallow.”

I felt I needed to take the time to research and explain this issue. However, Obama’s histrionics to the contrary, if the Sequestration goes into effect on March 1, it will not mean the end of civilization as we know it.

First, the Sequestration will cut $85 Billion from a bloated budget of $3.8 Trillion – a grand total of 2.2%. And only $44 Billion of that will occur (in small, phased budget decreases) due to the way the federal fiscal year falls.

Half the cuts would come from defense and half from domestic spending. That would appear to be a cut of just over 1% of our outrageously high domestic spending. But wait – they’re using political math! They count “cuts” as money taken from the projected budget for next year (which is always increased every year) – not from the real budget from last year. So even if the Sequestration “cuts” occur, the U.S. will still spend far more than it did last year.

What about Obama’s hysterical bleating that firefighters, cops and teachers will be laid off? (“The sky is falling!!”) All lies. He knows full well that 98% of all cops and firefighters in this country, and almost all teachers are paid by local governments, yet he continues to lie to the American people. If the national budget were cut by 50%, it would have little or no effect on these people that Obama loves to talk about.

“But Obama said that waiting time in airports would double if Congress doesn’t act to stop save the jobs of air traffic controllers.” More lies – classic Obama. He relishes his role as a fear monger, and he performs it well. He knows which buttons to push, doesn’t he? Cops and teachers fired, even longer airport delays – things he knows Americans fear. And his favorite phrase these days: “It’s going to hurt the middle class.” Since there are more middle class voters than any other group, he plays to them. But his vague lie doesn’t specify just how this will hurt the middle class more than anyone else.

The fact is that the domestic cuts (if they happen) will be small and will probably not even be noticed by most Americans. Laying off of air traffic controllers? Scare tactic—not going to happen. The Obama administration will decide exactly which government jobs (if any) will be cut. It’s unlikely that he will decide to cut ANY government jobs – after all, most government employees voted for him and his party. He will instead cut the allocation of toilet paper and cleaning supplies for government buildings (particularly if Republicans have offices in the buildings!). But laying off air traffic controllers would be political suicide for his party, and would cost him seats in both houses. I repeat: Not going to happen.

There is one area of concern with the Sequestration that has received little attention: The real cost to our military readiness caused by the defense half of the budget cuts. This is surprising to me because this was Obama’s main reason for proposing Sequestration. Unlike Democrats, the Republicans have long been known for preserving and protecting military readiness. By contrast, during his first campaign Obama promised to slash the military by 50%. He believed that the threat of defense cuts would force Republicans to give him everything he wanted.

The truth is that there is a different dynamic to the defense cuts as opposed to the cuts to domestic spending. Wisely, during the 2011 Sequester negotiations, the Republicans insisted that pay for our soldiers, sailors and Marines be left untouched. Since pay is the lion’s share of the defense budget, this means that the rest of the budget will be cut by 15 to 17%. As I mentioned above, these are phantom cuts to a proposed, increased budget. Unfortunately, the Pentagon has planned its future expenditures based on the increased budget, so the military will he harder hit by Sequestration than any other sector. But if this is the only way we can get Congress to go along with any spending cuts, then it is a price we must pay.

One final note. The final deal on Sequestration was negotiated between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) in 2011. In it the Democrats promised that there would be no tax increases in the Sequester in exchange for an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another debt ceiling negotiation while he was running for reelection. Just weeks ago, in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, Republicans caved in to Obama and allowed tax increases. Today Obama is insisting on even MORE tax increases during the last-minute Sequestration negotiations.

Unfortunately, the Sequestration is merely a symptom of a much graver problem. Jay Sekulow put it in a nutshell: “Why are we borrowing billions of dollars from the Chinese to give F-16 fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?”

Why indeed? Why borrow money from one country that hates us, to send twenty $110 million fighter jets to a country controlled by a group that has sworn to destroy America? The short answer: It is because we are a nation that has lost its way, and is being led by a blind man.

Obama and his Democrats really believe that government money can solve any problem, so they feel justified in stealing it from us. They believe they can pacify homicidal Muslims by giving them stuff – including advanced fighter jets and tanks that will probably be used against our troops and our only ally in the Middle East, Israel.

This is a wakeup call for all the patriots left in America. Don’t waste your time working for Obama’s impeachment, which is an impossible dream. As attractive as the idea sounds, the people pushing for impeachment are spinning their wheels. It’s not a matter of whether or not he guilty of impeachable offenses; the Senate must vote to convict him. With the Senate controlled by Democrats, that’s just not going to happen.

Instead, start working now – today – to elect constitutionalists in the mid-term elections. By maintaining control of the House and taking control of the Senate, we can do much to put a halt to Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional schemes.


Obama’s Sequester Deal-Changer

White House Chief of Staff Lies during Campaign Event

The Budget Control Act of 2011

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Copyright ©2013 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

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