Sequestration: Which Hurts More? Penknives or Irresponsible Spending?

Written by Marilyn Assenheim on March 13, 2013

800px-Knife_sharpening_pen_checkThe media’s heated prattle today is all about the fact that the TSA is going to permit passengers to carry penknives on board aircraft, effective April 25. The knives can be no longer than 6 millimeters in length and ½” wide. In addition, wiffle-bats, golf clubs and hockey sticks will also be permitted. Box cutters and razor blades, however, out of delicacy for their association with 9/11 tools, are still out. It doesn’t matter that penknives are just as dangerous as these items; we are thankful for small … very small favors. Even if there is still no word on liquids.

Despite resistance from all quarters, spokespersons for the TSA state that changing the rules about such items “conform with international rules.” These changes will, coincidentally, also save TSA agents time, relieving them of having to search out and confiscate such items. It makes passengers no safer but it does eliminate a time-consuming chore for the TSA.

Despite this impending time saver, Big Sis maintains that, because of the sequester, there are already lengthening lines at airports. Never mind that, thus far, not a single TSA agent has been furloughed. She insisted that she isn’t trying to “scare,” she only wants to “inform.” Bravo.

What she failed to “inform” us about, however, was the fact that the TSA is spending $50,000,000 on new uniforms for TSA agents. The one-year contract was awarded on February 22 of this year. This would be the second such uniform purchase since 2010. The TSA went from a uniform with white shirts to a uniform with blue shirt. Perhaps, this time, the shirts will be brown.

The TSA provides complete uniforms for each agent. Although they do not purchase replacement items, each agent initially receives:

— 3 long sleeve shirts
— 3 short sleeve shirts,
— 2 pairs of trousers
— 2 ties
— one belt
— sweater
— socks
— a jacket.

There are 50,000 TSA agents. That breaks down to a government outlay of $1,000 per agent. The uniforms will be manufactured in the United States. Also Mexico. So, how crucial is this expenditure? Well, considering that this would be the second such allotment in a bit over 2 years, the logical answer seems to be “it isn’t.”

The administration has gone out of its way to create pain and suffering due to the sequester. The sequester has been universally acknowledged to be the creation of the Lyin’ King. With the exception of the White House and Jay Carney. The cuts being imposed are entirely the fault of the president. He has steadfastly refused to apply reductions in spending sensibly. Instead the president and a complicit mainstream media still insist that culpability for these measures rests with Republicans. No surprise there.

Americans are being subjected to actions which are not only painful but which truly are Draconian, plainly illegal. Such as the release of thousands of incarcerated illegal aliens, originally arrested for criminal activity. They were set free before the sequester was ever a reality. The White House, as with Benghazi, claims that they didn‘t know a thing about it. As always, some faceless bureaucrat was to blame. And, still, no one has paid a price for it. In fact, still more illegals are slated for release.

Money is still being recklessly hosed around by the administration. This past week our Secretary of State, in an act of unimaginable buffoonery, delivered $250,000,000 to Egypt. If economic “cuts” are so damaging to America, why are we still spending money abroad at all, much less giving money to regimes unfriendly to the United States? We have to cut our own military spending yet we support our enemies?

The reality is that sequestration means a cut to the increases that the federal government can expect this year. There will still be more money available this year than there was last year. Yet, in a fit of pique, the administration continues to do whatever it wants to do. The TSA is doing its bit to advance the farce. Pen knives or foolish spending, foreign and domestic? All of the ludicrous waste couldn’t be more painful if a sword was applied to Americans instead of a penknife.

Image: author: Simon A. Eugster; Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Marilyn Assenheim
Marilyn Assenheim was born and raised in New York City. She spent a career in healthcare management although she probably should have been a casting director. Or a cowboy. A serious devotee of history and politics, Marilyn currently lives in the NYC metropolitan area.