Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guest Post: Leading By Crisis

Guest Post: Leading By Crisis
By Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)

Our latest crisis is upon us and the President is on the warpath against congress, especially the Republican led House. Sequestration was proposed by the president and resulted in The Budget Control Act of 2111. Trying to explain exactly what this bill does and how it will be executed is much like trying to explain ObamaCare. It is a moving target. The bottom line is that $85 billion in spending must be cut this fiscal year starting on 1 March. Half of this will be from defense and the other half from discretionary spending. That sounds like a lot of money, but consider that our government plans to spend about $3.6 trillion this year and over a trillion of that is going into our debt.

The bill outlined how $1.2 trillion would be cut from the deficit over the next ten years. Notice that it says the deficit, not the debt. This deficit reduction does nothing to cut real spending but rather it cuts the amount of increased spending planned for each year. We are talking about cutting $85 billion from a planned spending of $3.6 trillion and the administration tells Americans that the world will come to an end. Thousands of teachers and first responders will be terminated. The Department of Defense will be gutted, and etc, etc. How many times have we heard all of this?

Our Treasury Department is printing $80 billion a month in order to keep interest rates low. What do you think that is doing to the value of our dollar? Sadly, the government ties its own hands when trying to realistically deal with the budget. It establishes rules that make it nearly impossible to use common sense in dealing with different programs, or procedures. Mandatory spending is exempt and that includes social security, Medicare and Medicaid and programs for the poor. Until we truly look at reorganizing these programs spending will remain out of control.

We are definitely facing some challenging times, but until our leaders stop trying to lead by crisis and face reality we will continue to remain in a rut. President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi state that we do not have a spending problem. The first step in solving a problem is to determine that you have a problem. Alcoholics and drug abusers can go to countless rehab programs, but until they accept the fact that they have a problem they will never be clean. It is the same for our political leaders. They are addicted to spending and the power that results from that spending.

We have known about this latest crisis since 2011 and allowed it to occur. A typical American family that knows about a coming crisis plans to reduce its effects or eliminate it. When I was growing up, there was no medical insurance. When families were expecting another child, they started to save well in advance in order to pay for it. People will say that it was much cheaper in those days and that is true, but pay was also significantly less so it is a wash.

In the military, units practice what is called "Immediate Action Drills." These are actions to take in case of ambush or meeting engagements. This precludes the crisis and undue casualties. The military also has all sorts of contingency plans that can be implemented when the occasion arises. When President John Kennedy was assassinated, there was a plan for a state funeral that merely had to be adjusted according to the desires of Mrs. Kennedy. The main point is that planning generally reduces or eliminates crises and then actions must be taken to solve them without scaring those who are impacted by them.

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