Football, band, honors classes and hot lunches … here we go again.

When I was a kid, the local school board would biennially warn that football, the band, the honors program and hot lunches would be cut unless a levy was passed to boost real estate taxes.


I remember that – even as a kid – it sounded like a bunch of bull.

Sometimes the levies passed. Sometimes they didn’t.

Regardless of the vote, the stadium lights still glowed bright on Friday nights, the smart kids still got their honors courses, and the cafeteria kept serving up hot slop.

Today’s equivalent of football, band, honors and lunches is Obama’s dire warning that there will be dire consequences if sequestration happens.

Just for openers, the White House says it has no choice but to put the following on the chopping block:

  • “hundreds of thousands” of federal workers, including FBI agents, U.S. prosecutors, food safety inspectors and air traffic controllers will be laid off or furloughed
  • 70,000 young children will be kicked off Head Start
  • 10,000 teacher jobs will be put at risk
  • Up to 2,100 food safety inspections will be cancelled
  • Up to 373,000 “seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children” would go untreated
  • Up to 1,000 fewer National Science Foundation research grants and effecting some 12,000 scientists and students will be threatened
  • Small business loans denied, and workplace safety inspections curtailed
  • Federally assisted programs like “Meals on Wheels” will  be slashed
  • 125,000 low-income renters will risk losing government-subsidized housing
  • Approximately 424,000 fewer HIV tests will be conducted by state agencies
  • Some 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans, would be removed from their current housing and emergency shelter programs
  • 600,000 women and children will lose nutritional benefits

The President is left with no choice.

Nothing else can possibly be cut.

Nope, it’s gotta be football, band, honors and hot lunches.

But, wait a minute.

First, let’s put the numbers into perspective.

The “trillion dollars” is a ten-year number … not an annual slash.

And, that’s a big round up.

The annual number is $89 billion …. that’s about 2% of the annual Federal budget … and only slightly more than Congress just added for Hurricane Sandy relief.

More important, the $89 billion isn’t a reduction in spending … it’s simply a slowing the growth of spending.

And, the money’s gotta come from pre-school, nutrition programs, and aid to the sick & poor.

Yeah, right.

What about the $100 to $200 billion in wasteful spending that the GAO reported “found” March 2011:

WSJ, Billions in Bloat Uncovered in Beltway, March 1, 2011

A GAO report uncovered billions of dollars in wasteful spending by the U.S. government due to duplicate work done by dozens of overlapping agencies on redundant and ineffective federal programs

For example, the U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances.

The report took particular aim at government funding for surface transportation, including the building of roads and other projects, which the administration has made a major part of its push to update the country’s infrastructure. The report said five divisions within the Department of Transportation account for 100 different programs that fund things like highways, rail projects and safety programs.

The report chided the government over encouraging federal agencies to purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles while having policies that agencies reduce electricity consumption. It said government agencies have purchased numerous vehicles that run on alternative fuels only to find many gas stations don’t sell alternative fuels. This has led government agencies to turn around and request waivers so they didn’t have to use alternative fuels.

The GAO identified between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending.

GAO’s prior recommendations have generally been ignored or postponed by federal agencies and lawmakers, particularly when they could require difficult political votes.


Just not hearing a lot about that report these days …

Nope, it’s gotta be football, band, honors and hot lunches.

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Click to see the full report


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2 Responses to “Football, band, honors classes and hot lunches … here we go again.”

  1. Football, band, honors classes, hot lunches … and dead cows … say, what? « The Homa Files Says:

    […] We covered this topic earlier this week Football, band, honors classes and hot lunches … here we go again. […]

  2. OMG: Sequester puts the football season is at risk … | The Homa Files Says:

    […] First, we’ve flashbacked a few times to Football, band, honors classes and hot lunches … here we go again. […]

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