The Right Opinion

Moving Pictures

By Rich Galen · Feb. 22, 2013

The other day, the President railed against Congressional (read: Republican) inaction on averting the sequester by giving a speech while surrounded by uniformed policemen. The picture was designed to make the point that if the automatic cuts go into effect, people across the country will lose police protection.

Back when mules were the principal form of transportation, I was a member of the City Council of Marietta, Ohio 45750. One of my committee assignments was as chairman of the Police and Fire Committee.

It came to pass that the city firemen wanted a raise that would put them at more-or-less parity with the city policemen. I'm not certain how it works now, but at the time the firefighters worked 24 hours on and 48 hours off, meaning many of them had part time jobs that the cops – who worked regular 8-hour shifts – did not have the opportunity to hold.


I have mentioned to you on other occasions that Al Gore and I have something in common. If we've told a story often enough, for long enough, we believe it actually happened – whether or not we made it up in the first place.

This might be one of those, but the point is, nonetheless, valid.


The firemen came to the committee with a budget that showed if we did not increase the amount of money we allocated to fire and rescue activities they would have to cease providing ambulance services to the good people of Marietta.

I'm not that good at arithmetic, but I'm pretty good at reading a budget. As I remember it, there was a line-item to re-surface the pool tables in the fire stations, the firefighters having had to play pool on worn-out felt for who knows how many years.

I suggested that, rather than eliminating ambulance services as the first place to save money, perhaps we could eliminate the re-felting of the pool tables and see where that left us.

I'm not certain how it all came out, but I do know the citizenry did not have to walk to the hospital when sick or injured.

That's approximately the same negotiating tactic the President used the other day. And it's not far from what the Pentagon and other Departments and Agencies are claiming they will have to do.

After Wednesday's column, (See - Seekwes - Sequestration) I received a number of heartfelt and touching emails detailing how the sequester would do real harm to real people.

Civilian employees of the Department of Defense would be furloughed one day a week – meaning their income would be cut by 20 percent for the rest of the year.

I think we can all agree that cutting our pay by a fifth would result in real hardship in most of our households.

But, civilian employees of the DoD do not a poignant picture make. Uniformed personnel, now they tell a story.

As we discussed on Wednesday, the whole $85 billion in cuts don't have to be delivered next Friday. Assuming no agreement over the next seven months, they would be spread out through the rest of the fiscal year ending on September 30.

But, there will be an agreement. Probably not by next week even though the President has the Constitutional authority to call the Congress back to Washington from its well-deserved vacation.

Article II, section 3 of the Constitution provides that the President “may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them.”

I believe the last time that happened was in 1948 when Harry Truman brought them back to consider domestic legislation.

President Obama won't do that. National polls indicate the GOP will be blamed for any sequester so he is perfectly happy to engage in his permanent campaign and, to resurrect the infamous statement by Obama's first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Real people will suffer real harm, but they don't make for emotional photo ops – moving pictures, so to speak – so, March 1 will come and go without any leadership being employed by Barack Obama.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to a Senate re-cap of the number of times a President has called the Congress back into session. Also a Mullfoto from my office looking down on a demonstration earlier this week.

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rab in jo,mo said:

There are plenty of places where the federal budget can be trimmed without jeopardizing the defense of the country or really affecting daily lives of the people (except for those losing their cushy GS-whatever jobs).

How about all those new IRS auditors hired by the Obama regime? What about eliminating the Departments of Education and Energy? Bet that'll save a few billion! Stop the "foreign aid" payments to our enemies, there's a few more billion. Gee, this could be fun! Oh, the next time Moochelle and the girls want to go on vacation - they have to pay their own way (I know the savings will only be in the millions, but it's the thought that counts).

Yeah, the libs will trot out some schlep bureaucrat that lost his/her job, blah blah blah. Its what they always do. How does that resonate with the 8 million or so that have lost jobs since 2008?

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Joe in Texas said:

Congress only grants the funds. The executive branch, i.e. YOU MR PRESIDENT decides how it's allocated. The horrible drama displayed by you and your soap box is BS. Any hardship will be caused by YOU and how you choose to spend it.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM

BJ in St. Cloud, MN said:

Essential services in my mind would be all welfare recipients standing in line each week for cheese, flour, dry milk, peanut butter, and toilet paper. No cell phones, no cars, no microwaves, no anything that isn't needed for survival that those of us that work can afford-because we work. Weekly urine tests and until actual taxes are being paid-no right to vote for more freebies. I'm tired of the socialist slugs dragging America down while they try to take more, bitch about what I'm providing, and even try to take my gun. Screw em, they shouldn't even be eating cake if I pay for it. (Yes, I know the term "let them eat cake referred to the plaster that held the castle bricks together).


Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Most of the government workers are over-paid anyway when compared to the private sector. Those making over $100,000 are by far the biggest drain on the Defense budget and I suspect the other departments too. We need to go back to three Cabinet departments, Defense, State, and Treasury. Everything else should go back to the States where they belong. Each State legislature and Governor should be responsible for Energy, Agriculture, Education, Housing, Transportation, and all the other things the Federal government has screwed up.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 7:11 PM