Quote of the Day: What Do White House Tours and Furloughed Air Traffic Controllers Have in Common?

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From White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, explaining why only certain sequestration cuts seem to get the attention of Republican members of Congress:

What do [White House] tours and flight delays have in common? They affect members directly.

Well, that’s true enough. But I imagine that’s not really why they’ve highlighted these things. They’ve highlighted them because they affect middle-class constituents and therefore have a lot of political traction. Most of the other domestic sequestration cuts affect the poor and the working class, and Republicans just don’t care very much about them. The poor and the working class don’t vote much for Republicans, after all.

The most amusing part of all this, I think, are the endless laments that if Obama really wanted to, he could find something else to cut. Republicans can get away with saying this because the federal budget is pretty big, so it seems reasonable that there just has to be someplace to make cuts that wouldn’t cause any pain. Waste and fraud, right? Cut the fat, not the bone. And yet, every time someone actually dives into the numbers, it turns out there really isn’t much choice after all. All that money really is being spent on stuff that matters. “Consulting” sure sounds like something the FAA ought to be able to cut, but only until you find out that the consulting in question is for outsourced telecommunication and weather radar assistance. Can’t cut that!

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