Sequester: Time for president to lead rather than politic

President Obama suggested a sequester plan to cut military spending a year ago as a means to get over one of the many budget deficit crises of his administration.

The plan’s commitment date is March 1 Friday. The idea was that the specter of it would force all parties to negotiate alternative means of spending cuts to reduce the nation’s deficit that is approaching $17 trillion and threatens our future vitality and security.

Nice idea.

The problem is that in recent weeks President Obama, rather than owning his idea, has gone back on the campaign trail to blame Republicans for the sequester plan and, of course, call for more tax increases on the most fortunate in lieu of the sequester.

Unless you have a very short memory, you do remember that most of us were hit with a tax hike at the beginning of the year to deal with the previous crisis the fiscal cliff.

The better course would have been to sit down with leaders of the House and Senate from both parties and negotiate a more balanced approach to spending cuts.

But whether this president wants to solve problems or simply make Republicans look bad with an eye toward taking majority control of the House in two years is debatable.

To begin with, the sequester is not even a spending cut the way the rest of America thinks of a spending cut. It’s a reduction in projected growth in spending and actually calls for a 10-percent increase in defense spending over the next five years.

That’s a far cry from the armegeddon that has been outlined by Obama and his talking- points team in the past few weeks. Likewise, when the president talks about the trillions he has already “cut,” those are cuts from spending growth budget projections. It’s deliberate deception.

The House and the Senate, if it has any spine at all should allow the sequester to go through unless the president is willing to work with both chambers on a plan that would make more sense and not include any of the military layoffs he has been whining about for the past month.

Here’s what’s needed: Surgical cuts in military and defense spending, a detailed look at entitlements and special interest programs to lop off the waste and an honest, fair, pragmatic approach to Medicare and Social Security that will keep those programs from going out of fiscal control in the next decade.

The only thing unreasonable about this approach is that it’s been suggested by House Republicans several times.

And until we see evidence to the contrary, we can only surmise that this president, addicted to spending, is only interested in tax hikes for parts of our population, a class warfare, campaign-style approach to every problem, a hands-off approach to all entitlements and political victory over Republicans.

No matter which party occupies the White House, that’s not leadership.