The sequestration cuts may seem like old news in light of gun control legislation and escalating tensions with North Korea. However, an April 9th opinion article by Virginia Representative Bob Goodlatte reminded citizens that they should still be cognizant of the “disastrous” measure.
Leading up to the sequester deadline, President Obama ominously warned Americans of the impact of budget cuts on the economy. The effects, it was said, would include longer airports lines, a halt on USDA inspection of meatpacking plants, and the compromising of first responders. We wouldn’t be able to fly, eat, or get to the hospital.
And yet the cuts, to a large extent, have occurred with little to no public outcry. Somehow college kids still got to the Bahamas for Spring Break, Easter dinner included plenty of red meat, and sirens can still be heard throughout the night.
In fact, Goodlatte notes that one of the more dramatic claims, that cuts to the Department of Justice would “threaten the safety of all Americans”, was simply a political ploy.
The DOJ, he notes, has spent wastefully, lavishly, and duplicitously despite the sequester. An analysis of DOJ spending patterns reveals frivolous spending on state prison purchases, Hollywood publicity, extravagant conferences, and personal travel.
In fact, Connecticut made the list due to the Hartford Police Department’s use of a $10,000 grant for “a pizza party and plaques”. Rather than releasing prisoners into neighborhoods, the DOJ seems to be managing their share of the budgetary pie with ease, if not efficiency.
Unfortunately, it has taken a drastic event like the sequester to highlight the blatant inefficiencies in our federal and state governments. But do not be fooled: these misappropriations of funds occur at all levels of government all the time.
This is why a website like RaisingHale.com is so important. Politicians and bureaucrats certainly aren’t going to tell us about their extravagances, and waste is only revealed through the political process every so often (as in the case of the sequester).
In the interim, someone needs to hold the government’s feet to the fire. Where is our money going? Who is deciding how it is spent? And, most importantly, is that really the best use of our tax dollars?
Connecticut, like the national government, is far from efficient. Raising Hale has noted wasteful state spending during the Hurricane Sandy cleanup, the implementation of Governor Malloy’s Small business Express Program, and the support of solar energy companies, to name a few.
These incidents may seem isolated, but they are not. They are part of a much larger pattern of government waste and abuse.
So, while the sequester may not have been the fiscal Armageddon Obama predicted, maybe it will serve to “raise some hale” over state and national spending. If not, we can expect some actual economic discomfort in the coming years.