POLITICS

Morning Examiner: Obama’s chicken little presidency

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

President Obama will visit Newport News, Va. today, where he will warn that jobs will be lost, security will be compromised, and the heavens will fall from the sky unless Republicans agree to tax hikes before this Friday. Obama’s appearance at the Virginia shipyard is just one small part of the White House’s much larger campaign to convince the American people that modern society as we know it will swiftly disintegrate into chaos if the federal government is forced to spend a mere $44 billion less this year than it originally planned. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Politico‘s David Nather has a good article out today debunking a slew of Obama’s sky is falling claims. That 70,000 Head Start students will be kicked out of the program number? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made it up. Those 1.2 million disadvantaged students who will lose special education funding? Those cuts wouldn’t kick in until next school year. FDA delays in drug approval? Longer TSA wait lines at airports? Compared to what? These federal agencies are already notoriously wasteful, inefficient, and slow.

The White House is setting itself up for an embarrassing Chicken Little moment this Friday. Wall Street is bored with Washington’s fiscal games. The chances of a huge market collapse on Friday are extremely low. Most federal employees won’t be furloughed for weeks. Most government services are still, thankfully, provided by state and local governments, and will continue as scheduled. The sky is not going to fall.

At that point Obama and Democrats will be forced to transition to the next crisis: the continuing resolution that authorizes federal government funding is set to expire March 27th. Republicans will pass a CR some time this month that makes the sequester cuts permanent but gives Obama more flexibility to make government more efficient. That’s when Obama’s Chicken Little act will come back to haunt him. He will either have to sign the Republican spending plan or threaten his own government shutdown.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Access to President Obama for sale
Conn Carroll: The California spending rush
Tim Carney: Barack Obama is very comfortable blending big money and big power
Byron York: GOP governors see Obama trap in spending cuts

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Italian Election Shakes World Markets: In a national election meant to push Italy further down a path of economic reform, voters delivered political gridlock that could once again rattle Europe’s financial stability. A majority of voters endorsed parties that had promised to tone down or even reverse the financial sacrifices Italy has promised its European partners, giving surprise lifts to both the center-right coalition of former premier Silvio Berlusconi and a party of protest led by a former comedian.
The New York Times, To Curb Suits, City Now Opts to Fight Them: The Bloomberg administration has embarked on an aggressive legal strategy intended to curtail the rising number of federal civil-rights lawsuits filed against New York. Instead of offering small settlements to avoid trial, the city started to identify weaker cases and has been contesting them in court, pushing many to trial.
The Washington Post, GOP blast road show: Republicans on Monday rejected President Obama’s high-pressure push to avert a series of budget cuts called the sequester, saying that Obama is engaged in scare tactics and political campaigning when he should be seeking a deal.
McClatchy Newspapers, In face of coming budget cuts, U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody: The federal government released groups of illegal immigrants from custody across the country Monday at the same time the White House was making its case that impending budget cuts would harm efforts to protect the border and enforce federal immigration laws.
CNN, Senate Judiciary Committee to consider assault weapons ban: The Senate Judiciary Committee could begin considering gun control bills as soon as Thursday, including a measure that would ban military-style assault weapons.

Lefty Playbook
Brian Beutler on Why Democrats Are So Confident Of A Sequestration Victory.
Jonathan Cohn says cutting federal spending by three percent is impossible.
Greg Sargent explains why the Senate talks on guns have hit a snag.

Righty Playbook
Joel Kotkin on America’s Red State Growth Corridors.
Nick Gillespie says If You Think the Sequester Cuts Will Tank the Economy, I’ve Got a Bridge In Brooklyn You Might Want to Buy.
Dan McLaughlin on Jane Mayer’s McCarthyist Attack on Ted Cruz.

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