I rarely read or quote the Washington Examiner but I wanted to express my disagreement with Conn Carroll’s latest remarks there:
On Face the Nation last Sunday [ed. Education Secretary Arne] Duncan told CBS, “As many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs. … There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall.” But when pressed to identify which teachers are “literally” getting pink slips right now, Duncan could only name one country in West Virginia. And when The Washington Post followed up with the director of federal programs for that county, she said that while five to six teachers were being laid off, those layoffs had nothing to do with the sequester. In fact, they were caused by a previous White House decision to cut funding for ineffective Head Start programs.
Now newspapers across the country are all running stories directly refuting Obama’s “sky is falling” Chicken Little act.
I do not believe it is an act. I continue to believe that President Obama is poorly served by his subordinates (e.g. Arne Duncan) and, like most of the rest of us, is predisposed to confirmation bias, accepting uncritically things that support what he genuinely believes to be true.
For what it’s worth I also do not believe that the president’s reaction to the sequester that he proposed actually coming to pass is purely tactical or “taking a page out of FDR’s playbook”. I think he genuinely believe it will be bad for the country, it’s entirely the Republicans’ fault, and that, when the inevitable cyclical downturn takes place in the economy, that will be their fault, too.
I doubt it will occur to him that the fact that there is virtually no Congressional support for the budgets the White House has proposed (his budget proposal of last year was voted down 99-0 in the Senate; the previous year’s was defeated 97-0) means he should be doing something differently.