Sequestration: A Teaching Moment

I got an (unsolicited) e-mail the other day from The national PTA (Parent Teacher Association) entitled "Congressional Inaction on Sequestration Harms Students and Families". The e-mail (here is the web version) says that the "National PTA disappointed with the lack of a bipartisan solution". The e-mail opens with this statement:

"The National PTA is disappointed with the U.S. Congress' apparent failure to reach a balanced, responsible deficit reduction plan to replace automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration." The e-mail concludes with this statement: "By not achieving bipartisan action to replace sequestration, Congress has failed our nation's children and their families."

The e-mail places the sequestration squarely upon the U.S. Congress. But nowhere in the entire e-mail is Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama, or his role, even mentioned. The PTA said was "disappointed with the lack of a bipartisan solution," but forgot (on purpose?) to mention that House Republicans offered several plans to alter the cuts, but Democrats would not consider them, preferring instead to raise taxes. I guess bipartisanship means, to the PTA, doing thing the Democrats' way, while ignoring Republicans.

One result of sequestration specifically mentioned in the PTA e-mail is Impact Aid. From the ed.gov web site, we get the mission statement of the Impact Aid program:

"The mission of the Impact Aid Program is to disburse Impact Aid payments to local educational agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities and to provide technical assistance and support services to staff and other interested parties." [emphasis mine]

How ironic. There has to be a financial aid program to support federal requirements. And the PTA is decrying a reduction in this program. But, then, the PTA could be correct. If federal requirements are not reduced, but aid to support them is, a problem could arise. I guess it's easier for the PTA to lament the reduction of Impact Aid than to tell the federal government to "butt out."

And just what, you ask since the PTA will not, is Obama's original and ongoing role with sequestration, particularly with respect to education?

First, its origin. As Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) wrote: "'Obama personally approved of the plan for [then White House chief of staff Jack] Lew and [White House congressional relations chief Rob] Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.' It's likely going to be lost on the public that the sequestration was dreamed up and approved by President Obama...[.]" And, as Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, "... sequestration was designed as a budget threat, not as a budget strategy. And, I think all of us understand that if it goes forward in less than three weeks it's going to have a dramatic negative impact on several agencies."
Now, on to the effects on education by sequestration.

On the February 24, 2013, edition of "Face The Nation," Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Arne Duncan said, "We don't have to be in this situation. This is not rocket science. We could solve this tomorrow if folks had the will to compromise, to come to the table and do the right thing for children and to try and keep growing the middle class." Compromise, indeed! Obama and the Democrats originated and pushed the idea of sequestration in an attempt to intimidate the Republicans, and to get their way.

Duncan is nothing more than a political hack who toes the talking points line. While on "Face The Nation" Duncan said, "It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs... There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall." The Washington Post gave that statement four Pinocchios, which means, according to their scale, Duncan told a whopper of a lie. So much for Duncan's veracity.

Duncan testified before the Senate, and said, "When the cuts hit, they will hurt the most vulnerable students worst." He continued:

"... sequestration would cut Title I by $725 million, affecting 1.2 million disadvantaged students, and risk the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides. Other cuts include $600 million in special education, requiring states and districts to cover the cost of approximately 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff. In Head Start, some 70,000 students could be kicked out."

Here is some of what, specifically, DOE is facing as a result of sequestration:

• $633 million cut from the Department of Education's Special Education programs
• $184 million cut from Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
• $71 million cut from administration at the Office of Federal Student Aid
• $116 million cut from Higher Education
• $86 million cut from Student Financial Assistance

And, these "cuts" are NOT a surprise. Back in early February Obama asked Congress to temporarily delay a series of sequestration cuts set to effect federal K-12 education spending. But (and there's always a "but" with this president), Obama has not been specific about how long he was seeking to postpone the cuts, or exactly how he would pay for the delay. Obama strikes again with glowing rhetoric, but no specifics or a plan. As a result, as Alyson Klein of Education Week wrote, "If you're a school district official hoping for clarity on your federal funding going forward, good luck!"

How did the country ever get into this sequestration mess? Obama has shown himself to be good at only one thing: the self-promotion of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama resorted to a fear campaign by making sequestration a weapon and by trying to blame Republicans for it. As Bruce Johnson so eloquently wrote, "He rides the Starship Air Force One, thrills adolescent crowds and frames himself with federal employees while orating vapid clichés dowsed in demagoguery... He speaks yet says nothing. He exists before the camera scripted to generalities and clichés." Even the MSM could not save him this time, although it is trying.

Obama and the Democrats were never serious about real spending cuts. All they ever wanted was higher taxes -- more, more, more. As Durbin said, sequestration was a threat. Now that sequestration is a reality, Obama will try to make the sequestration cuts as painful as possible on the American people, and will halt spending in areas that will do maximum harm and inconvenience to Americans, such as with education.

Bottom line: Sequestration is/was an Obama idea. One hundred percent of the blame rests with Obama because he is the one who refuses to compromise and come up with the necessary budget cuts that he agreed to do earlier. Now the Education Department and the PTA are complaining about it. All together, 1... 2... 3: Awwwwwwwwww...

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

I got an (unsolicited) e-mail the other day from The national PTA (Parent Teacher Association) entitled "Congressional Inaction on Sequestration Harms Students and Families". The e-mail (here is the web version) says that the "National PTA disappointed with the lack of a bipartisan solution". The e-mail opens with this statement:

"The National PTA is disappointed with the U.S. Congress' apparent failure to reach a balanced, responsible deficit reduction plan to replace automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration." The e-mail concludes with this statement: "By not achieving bipartisan action to replace sequestration, Congress has failed our nation's children and their families."

The e-mail places the sequestration squarely upon the U.S. Congress. But nowhere in the entire e-mail is Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama, or his role, even mentioned. The PTA said was "disappointed with the lack of a bipartisan solution," but forgot (on purpose?) to mention that House Republicans offered several plans to alter the cuts, but Democrats would not consider them, preferring instead to raise taxes. I guess bipartisanship means, to the PTA, doing thing the Democrats' way, while ignoring Republicans.

One result of sequestration specifically mentioned in the PTA e-mail is Impact Aid. From the ed.gov web site, we get the mission statement of the Impact Aid program:

"The mission of the Impact Aid Program is to disburse Impact Aid payments to local educational agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities and to provide technical assistance and support services to staff and other interested parties." [emphasis mine]

How ironic. There has to be a financial aid program to support federal requirements. And the PTA is decrying a reduction in this program. But, then, the PTA could be correct. If federal requirements are not reduced, but aid to support them is, a problem could arise. I guess it's easier for the PTA to lament the reduction of Impact Aid than to tell the federal government to "butt out."

And just what, you ask since the PTA will not, is Obama's original and ongoing role with sequestration, particularly with respect to education?

First, its origin. As Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) wrote: "'Obama personally approved of the plan for [then White House chief of staff Jack] Lew and [White House congressional relations chief Rob] Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.' It's likely going to be lost on the public that the sequestration was dreamed up and approved by President Obama...[.]" And, as Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, "... sequestration was designed as a budget threat, not as a budget strategy. And, I think all of us understand that if it goes forward in less than three weeks it's going to have a dramatic negative impact on several agencies."
Now, on to the effects on education by sequestration.

On the February 24, 2013, edition of "Face The Nation," Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Arne Duncan said, "We don't have to be in this situation. This is not rocket science. We could solve this tomorrow if folks had the will to compromise, to come to the table and do the right thing for children and to try and keep growing the middle class." Compromise, indeed! Obama and the Democrats originated and pushed the idea of sequestration in an attempt to intimidate the Republicans, and to get their way.

Duncan is nothing more than a political hack who toes the talking points line. While on "Face The Nation" Duncan said, "It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs... There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall." The Washington Post gave that statement four Pinocchios, which means, according to their scale, Duncan told a whopper of a lie. So much for Duncan's veracity.

Duncan testified before the Senate, and said, "When the cuts hit, they will hurt the most vulnerable students worst." He continued:

"... sequestration would cut Title I by $725 million, affecting 1.2 million disadvantaged students, and risk the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides. Other cuts include $600 million in special education, requiring states and districts to cover the cost of approximately 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff. In Head Start, some 70,000 students could be kicked out."

Here is some of what, specifically, DOE is facing as a result of sequestration:

• $633 million cut from the Department of Education's Special Education programs
• $184 million cut from Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
• $71 million cut from administration at the Office of Federal Student Aid
• $116 million cut from Higher Education
• $86 million cut from Student Financial Assistance

And, these "cuts" are NOT a surprise. Back in early February Obama asked Congress to temporarily delay a series of sequestration cuts set to effect federal K-12 education spending. But (and there's always a "but" with this president), Obama has not been specific about how long he was seeking to postpone the cuts, or exactly how he would pay for the delay. Obama strikes again with glowing rhetoric, but no specifics or a plan. As a result, as Alyson Klein of Education Week wrote, "If you're a school district official hoping for clarity on your federal funding going forward, good luck!"

How did the country ever get into this sequestration mess? Obama has shown himself to be good at only one thing: the self-promotion of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama resorted to a fear campaign by making sequestration a weapon and by trying to blame Republicans for it. As Bruce Johnson so eloquently wrote, "He rides the Starship Air Force One, thrills adolescent crowds and frames himself with federal employees while orating vapid clichés dowsed in demagoguery... He speaks yet says nothing. He exists before the camera scripted to generalities and clichés." Even the MSM could not save him this time, although it is trying.

Obama and the Democrats were never serious about real spending cuts. All they ever wanted was higher taxes -- more, more, more. As Durbin said, sequestration was a threat. Now that sequestration is a reality, Obama will try to make the sequestration cuts as painful as possible on the American people, and will halt spending in areas that will do maximum harm and inconvenience to Americans, such as with education.

Bottom line: Sequestration is/was an Obama idea. One hundred percent of the blame rests with Obama because he is the one who refuses to compromise and come up with the necessary budget cuts that he agreed to do earlier. Now the Education Department and the PTA are complaining about it. All together, 1... 2... 3: Awwwwwwwwww...

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

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