From Washington Times:
The White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling tours of the president’s home for the foreseeable future as the sequester spending cuts begin to bite and the administration makes good on its warnings of painful decisions.
Announcement of the decision — made in an email from the White House Visitors Office — came hours after The Washington Times reported on another administration email that seemed to show at least one agency has been instructed to make sure the cuts are as painful as President Obama promised they would be.
In the internal email, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown said he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact, and he said he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of.
While it’s a relatively small thing, it is an indicator of how the Obama administration has gone out of its way to try to make any attempts at fiscal austerity seem horrible.
In 1995, when there were government shutdown issues, the first things done were the most public – like closing down the Washington Monument and national parks. The attempt was to make all these cuts look severe.
The problem is that the sequestration cuts are done against parts of government that are “discretionary”, which is almost the exact opposite of what one would expect. “Mandatory” here means handouts that were carved into law by statute – even if they are parts of government that have no Constitutional basis. “Discretionary” spending is appling to sections of government that are generally constitutionally mandated, rather than “mandated” by statute law. This is how welfare handouts become sacred, but the Army and Navy could be completely disbanded.
From Article I, Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Among those duties, imposts, and general welfare something as APHIS might be of little import, but it’d also probably withstand at least a cursory examination for Constitutional scrutiny.
It’s worth noting that “general welfare” does not mean handouts.