LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The swamp strikes again

They did it again! Our representatives in Washington used, for the second time in as many months, the military as a pawn to fleece the American public.

Citing the enormous decline in our military’s readiness caused by sequestration, four individuals who helped implement sequestration in 2011, and under the guise of bipartisan cooperation, crafted a 2,000-page spending bill that we are told will cost $1.3 trillion. This adds a trillion to our already burgeoning debt.

Webster defines sequestration as: “The practice of imposing automatic government spending reductions by withholding appropriations by a fixed percentage that applies uniformly to all government programs except those exempted.” It’s those last three words, “except those exempted,” that we all need to look at closely. Sequestration was implemented by the Budget Control Act of 2011, something all politicians claimed they did not like. However, when they passed the 2011 act, congressional salaries were EXEMPTED from sequestration.

Why sequestration? As defined above, it’s a methodology used when Congress cannot (or will not) function as designed to automatically reduce government spending, and therefore the deficit. Politicians decry its use, but will implement the policy when it serves their agenda. Secondly, why did they hit the military so hard back then?

The main function of Congress and our federal government is the security of this nation. That security is promulgated by use of the strongest military in the world. Only a set of entrenched, self-serving politicians could figure out a way to almost destroy our nation’s military and then, when it suits their purpose, provide the funding necessary to rebuild it.

We have been told the budget bill signed by the president will cost approximately $1.3 trillion. Is that the true number? I do not recall seeing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the 2,000 pages to provide us with a “true” cost of what those four individuals crafted. And, lest we forget, the agreement in February, a paltry 600 pages, and the prelude to this 2,000 page bill, was estimated to cost about a trillion. So, how much has been truly added to our debt by these two bills?

The February bill was circulated at 4 a.m. for approval. This time, they dropped a 2,000-page document with less than 24 hours to review and approve.

Do you really think anyone outside of the “big four,” read and knew what was in that bill? The military, severely damaged in 2011 to meet the insatiable needs of the swamp was once again being used as a pawn.

Forget the details and the 2,000 pages, the military gets funded, making the sale of the package easy. Our politicians could now speak to their constituents with a straight face, saying, “we have ensured the continued safety and security of our nation by truly funding the needs of our great military.”

As a retired colonel I applaud the funding of our military. I saw first-hand the devastating effects of sequestration, not only on equipment and readiness, but more importantly on morale. Try being deployed to a war zone knowing your training has been shortened and you are short equipment and repair parts. It makes you wonder about the true commitment of the people who sent you.

Congress controls the flood gates to the swamp, and with this bill, flooded it with God knows how much more water, and more alligators than we need.

Remember that old adage, it’s difficult to drain the swamp when you are up to your ass in alligators.

Frank Daniels
Col. (Ret), USAR

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