A leaked e-mail from the Agriculture Department has added substance to claims that President Obama’s political strategy is to make the sequestration as painful as possible in order to win public opinion against the Republicans.
The sequester, which came about as part of the 2011 debt-ceiling deal, was originally supposed to total $109 billion, but was delayed by lawmakers during fiscal cliff negotiations. The sequester — $85 billion in spending cuts — does not affect Social Security or most other big entitlements, with a small exception for Medicare, which faces just minor cuts. It went into effect on March 1 despite various warnings from lawmakers and President Obama.
During the president's State of the Union address, he said of the impending sequestration, “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
But as March 1 came and went, it seemed that the hysteria over the sequestration was wholly unfounded.
Critics contend, however, that it is the goal of the Obama administration to make the sequestration as painful as possible so as to win favor with the American people and defeat Republicans in the arena of public opinion.
For example, the White House has not accepted the GOP's offer to give the president greater authority in making the cuts to help reduce the alleged impact that they would have on certain programs and agencies.
Political analysts believe the president intends to make the cuts hurt so that Republicans seeking reelection will ultimately agree to tax increases.
A statement by Gene Sperling, White House economic advisor, seems to imply that. “Our hope is, as more Republicans start to see this pain in their own districts, they will choose bipartisan compromise over this absolutist position,” he commented.
The leaked e-mail from the Department of Agriculture now adds fuel to those suspicions.
Fox News reports,
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