On Closing the White House
So the White House is closing its doors to the public today. Budget cuts related to the sequester are the blame.
The WH tours are closed after a decision by the Secret Service that it could not afford to maintain security. The savings for shuttering the WH comes to a measly $2m over the next seven months. I'm thinking this is a bullshit move by Obama; he's trying to get the public hostile toward Republicans. If the visitors to D.C. who are disappointed in not being able to visit the WH actually knew the facts, they would be mad at Obama, not the Republicans.
The Secret Service budget for 2013 is $1.67b. The $2m savings from closing the WH comes to 0.12% of the budget for the Secret Service, it's equal to 0.00005% of total spending. Closing the WH is a dumb way to save some money. Some other places where the $2m could have been absorbed:
Information Technology Portfolio - $200m
Transformation Initiative - $50m
Oregon and California Grant Lands - $113m
Payments to States in Lieu of Coal Fee Receipts - $128m
Lower Colorado River Basin Development Fund - $254m
Upper Colorado River Basin Fund - $92m
Surveys, Investigations, and Research - $1,075m
Operation of the National Park System - $3,000m
Mineral Leasing and Associated Payments - $2,144m
Salaries and Expenses, United States Attorneys - $1,972m
Capital and Debt Service Grants to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation - $958m
Grants for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits, Recovery Act - $3,671m
Foreign Military Financing Program - $6,344m
Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund - $850m
Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia - $631m
Commodity Futures Trading Commission - $206m
Corporation for Public Broadcasting - $445m
Tennessee Valley Authority Fund - $445m
If you don't find anything on that list (there are thousands of other line items to choose from) consider saving the money to keep the WH open from these big accounts:
Military Procurement - $100B (50,000 Xs the cost of keeping the WH open
Military R&D - $87B (43,500 Xs the cost of keeping the WH open
The problem with the sequester is that it is a meataxe approach to cutting. It's a dumb way to go about the process. The Secret Service is facing cut backs, it will be forced to pare back $84m of expenses. But to have those cuts centered around the public access to the White House is just for show.
All of D.C. is going to look dumb before this is over. Obama might get the award for deliberately mismanaging the process. Let's hope so.
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