Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ten myths about gay marriage

Same-sex marriage is once again in the news. This week the Supreme Court is hearing two cases on same sex marriage, either of which could conceivably make gay marriage the law of the land and strike down the definition of marriage laws in place in 37 states and the federal government.

There are many myths and much misinformation surrounding the same-sex marriage issue:

Myth #1: Defense of marriage laws are “gay marriage bans.”

While the media and homosexual activists often refer to these laws as “gay marriage bans,” in reality they do often do not ban anything. The laws simply create a definition of marriage according to the government. The heart of the federal DOMA simply states, “… the word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.''

Similarly, a North Carolina marriage amendment passed last year reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

In other words, most state laws do not prevent same-sex couples from entering into private contracts or holding private religious marriage ceremonies. Likewise, nothing prohibits private companies from offering benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. Definition of marriage laws only mean that the government will not recognize, sponsor or encourage the union of same-sex couples.

The marriage amendment to the Georgia Constitution is more ambiguous on the issue of private ceremonies. Article I Section IV Paragraph I (a) reads, “This state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state.” In reality, however, Georgia does not persecute same-sex couples. Georgia would not be likely to object to a private religious ceremony and does not penalize companies who choose to offer benefits to same-sex partners.

Myth #2: Marriage laws violate the Equal Protection Clause.

In reality, rights are held by individuals, not by couples. This means that people of homosexual orientation have exactly the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. No one, not even a heterosexual, has the right to marry anyone they choose or whoever (or whatever) they happen to love.

According to, all 50 states have laws against bigamy, marrying more than one person at a time. All 50 states also have laws establishing a minimum age of consent to marry. In Georgia, the minimum age is 18, but 16-year-olds can marry with the consent of their parents or a judge according to Some states recognize common law marriages. Georgia is among the states that do not. Some states don’t allow cousins to marry. Georgia is among the 26 that do.

Definition of marriage laws are simply one more example of states legislating how their citizens want marriage to be treated. The laws apply equally to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Myth #3: The Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriage under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Proponents of same-sex marriage argue that the Constitution requires traditional marriage states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in same-sex marriage states because the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution requires that states recognize “the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State….” In their view, this means that if a state like Massachusetts issues a marriage certificate to a same-sex couple, every other state is constitutionally required to recognize it. Section Two of the DOMA specifically states that federal law should not be interpreted this way.

In this case, the ruling by the First Circuit does not address Section Two. Subsequent lawsuits probably will. The Supreme Court could also choose to invalidate the entire DOMA when it hears this or other cases on the issue, but the question of the Full Faith and Credit Clause has not yet been addressed by the courts. In the future, Georgia might be forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states even though Georgia law prohibits such marriages.

It is evident that the original intent of the clause was not to engineer a back door way of forcing states to accept new laws. Instead, the clause was intended to allow the states to honor similar laws and proceedings in other states. To require a state to honor a marriage license between a same sex couple merely because one of a minority of states that permit those unions had issued the license is outside the bounds of the intent of the clause and would set a disturbing precedent that liberals would probably rather not follow through to other issues. For example, a majority of states have enacted “shall issue” laws for concealed gun carry permits. Perhaps blue states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, California and New York should be forced to allow these gun owners to exercise their right to carry when they travel.

Myth #4: The DOMA is inconsistent with state’s rights and federalism.

Proponents present the DOMA as a case of the federal government usurping the state power to define marriage. In reality, the DOMA defines marriage only for the federal government. Section Two of the DOMA protects state rights by stipulating that traditional marriage states cannot be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage from states that have chosen to recognize same-sex marriages. Lawsuits to mandate same-sex marriages and invalidate state definition of marriage laws usurp the will of the people and their elected representatives.

Myth #5: Only religious nuts oppose same-sex marriage.

Proponents of same-sex marriage portray supporters of traditional marriage as bigots and religious fanatics, while arguing that the U.S. is not a theocracy and that the separation of church and state prohibits the government from taking a religious view of marriage. In reality, much of the support for traditional marriage can be traced to secular arguments.

It is in the vital national interest of the state to ensure that children, the next generation of taxpayers, have a stable family unit. There is strong evidence that children need both a mother and a father. It seems that the absence of fathers is particularly damaging to children. In the book “Life Without Father,” David Popenoe noted that the absence of fathers was strongly linked to many societal ills. Sixty percent of rapists come from fatherless homes, as do 72 percent of young murderers and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates. When viewed in these terms, there is a compelling government interest to encourage marriage relationships between men and women as a stable unit for childrearing. The burden of proof should be on those who seek to overturn thousands of years of history, tradition, and law that point to both a mother and a father as the best unit for raising children.

A 2012 a study seemed to confirm what many people already suspected. The New Family Structures Study, published in Social Science Research in July 2012, has one of the largest sample sizes of any study on the subject as well as improved methodology over previous studies. From more than 15,000 people, the author of the study, Mark Regnerus, found 175 people with mothers and 73 people with fathers who were in gay relationships for at least part of their childhood.

One surprising finding from the study was that Georgia has more children living with same-sex couples than any other state. In general, gay families live in the same places heterosexual families do. Gay families are not concentrated in homosexual meccas like San Francisco.

Not so surprising is the fact that gay families tend to be less stable than traditional families. Only two of the 175 children of lesbians reported spending their whole childhood with a single set of parents. None of the children of gay men spent their entire childhood with the same two parents. According to the study, only 57 percent of the children spent more than four months with the same lesbian parents. Only 23 percent had the same parents for three years.

This instability in the family leads to problems for the children. Regnerus said in Slate, “Such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, and report… more sexual victimization.”

Even though not all heterosexual couples bear children, biologically the potential is always there. Even couples who cannot have or do not want to have children have the possibility of procreating, whether purposely or by accident. Additionally, the same need for a stable, nurturing family unit with parents of both genders applies to adopted children as well.

Further, there is the argument that recognizing same-sex marriages would be expensive for cash-strapped governments. The First Circuit ruling estimates that more than 100,000 couples are affected by the federal DOMA. Recognizing these marriages would generate untold billions of dollars of costs that were not planned for by government actuaries. Likewise, extending marriage tax credits to same-sex couples would mean millions or billions in lost tax revenues. With governments already paying out more in benefits than they take in, they simply cannot afford to pay out more in benefits.

Other rights that are specifically enumerated in the Constitution have limitations as well. The First Amendment does not permit a person to yell “fire” in a crowded theater or protect a slanderer. The Second Amendment does not mean that a person can manufacture pipe bombs in their home and permits states and cities to enact reasonable regulations on guns.

If marriage is merely a statement of love without a societal consequence, then why limit it to only two people? Why not allow polygamy as well? Why limit it to people at all? Recent news stories have detailed how different women have shown their love by marrying the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, a dog, and a dolphin, One woman even married herself.

Myth #6: Definition of marriage laws are similar to interracial marriage bans.

Same-sex marriage proponents point to older state laws against interracial marriage as a similarly unjust regulation. In reality, interracial marriage was very different from same-sex marriage. Where same-sex couples are biologically incompatible and infertile, interracial couples were of the male and female genders and created a fertile couple.

Bans on interracial marriage did violate the Equal Protection Clause because they treated people differently based on race. Under these laws, two men, one black and the other white, did not have an equal chance to marry a given woman. Definition of marriage laws are different in that they hold that the state will not recognize the marriage of any person to any other person of the same gender, treating everyone equally.

Myth #7: Homosexuality is genetic.

No one knows exactly why some people are homosexual. There is no conclusive proof that it is genetic. It may well be a combination of both “nature” and “nurture.” The increasing numbers of bisexuals seem to indicate that something other than genetics is at work.

The issue is not whether gay people can help being gay or whether they can be “cured” of homosexuality. The issue is whether a fundamental building block of society that rests on centuries of tradition should be reordered on a whim.

Myth #8: Same-sex couples need marriage so they can visit in the hospital.

The need to be able to visit partners in the hospital has long been a justification for same-sex marriage, but Nancy Polikoff, an American University law professor and gay rights activist, wrote as far back as 2008 that, “Hospital accreditation standards include those who play a significant role in a patient's life, even if not legally related, within the definition of family. Neither gay nor straight couples should have to marry to visit each other in the hospital.”

Myth #9: Same-sex marriage now has widespread acceptance.

A number of recent polls on Polling Report show that the nation is split over the issue. While most polls show advocates of same sex marriage with the advantage, polls often seem to overstate the popularity of redefining marriage. For example, polls in North Carolina seemed to indicate that the marriage amendment there might be defeated or that the vote would be close. In reality, the amendment passed by a margin of more than 20 percent. One theory is that people are not being honest with pollsters because of the heavy-handed rhetoric used by the media and the left on the issue.

It was only in 2012 that a majority of voters finally endorsed same-sex marriage. In most cases, when the issue went to the voters it wasn’t even close. In contrast, the votes that approved gay marriage in Maryland and Maine were very close. Georgia’s marriage amendment passed with 76 percent in favor according to CNN. To date, 31 states have constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and woman. Six more states define marriage by statute. Only nine states and the District of Columbia do and in most of those states the law changed by judges.

Myth #10: Conservatives are using same-sex marriage as a wedge issue and attempting to force their morality on others.

The reality is that no conservative wants to be talking about same-sex marriage. The most important issues that we face are the economy and the likelihood that Iran will soon have nuclear weapons. President Obama and the Democrats are using the issue to rally a base that is disillusioned by the president’s poor performance on economic issues.

When same-sex marriage is in the news, most often it is because the left has made it an issue. As the ruling itself notes, the federal DOMA was a response to a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit filed by homosexual activists. Hawaii’s legislature then defined marriage in 1994 and Congress passed the DOMA, introduced by Georgia congressman Bob Barr, with broad bipartisan support in 1996. President Bill Clinton signed the DOMA into law. When judges in Massachusetts ruled in 2003 that the state could not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, other states started enacting defense of marriage laws to prevent judicial activists from issuing edicts redefining their own marriage laws.

In reality, as Ryan Anderson wrote in National Review, the question is not whether same-sex couples will be allowed to express their love for each other; “the question is whether the rest of society will have the freedom to choose which type of relationship to honor as marriage” and whether a minority can force their view of morality on the nation at large.

Originally published on

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Studies on families should impact SCOTUS marriage decision

This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether same sex marriage is a protected right under the Constitution. Along with whether the ability to marry anyone you choose is indeed a constitutional right, one of the issues that the justices must consider in answering this question is the question of what is best for children.

As the small number of same-sex families increased, several studies were done on the issue. Proponents of same-sex marriage have claimed that such studies have shown that gay families fare as well or better than heterosexual parents. Breakpoint quotes an American Psychological Association statement that says, “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” According to the New Republic, the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision striking down California’s definition of marriage law says, “Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful, and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.” In truth, the evidence so far has been inconclusive, but two recent studies shed doubt on these claims.

Last year a study seemed to confirm what many people already suspected. The New Family Structures Study, published in Social Science Research in July 2012, has one of the largest sample sizes of any study on the subject as well as improved methodology over previous studies. From more than 15,000 people, the author of the study, Mark Regnerus, found 175 people with mothers and 73 people with fathers who were in gay relationships for at least part of their childhood.

One surprising finding from the study was that Georgia has more children living with same-sex couples than any other state. In general, gay families live in the same places heterosexual families do. Gay families are not concentrated in homosexual meccas like San Francisco.

Not so surprising is the fact that gay families tend to be less stable than traditional families. Only two of the 175 children of lesbians reported spending their whole childhood with a single set of parents. None of the children of gay men spent their entire childhood with the same two parents. According to the study, only 57 percent of the children spent more than four months with the same lesbian parents. Only 23 percent had the same parents for three years.

This instability in the family leads to problems for the children. Regnerus said in Slate, “Such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, and report… more sexual victimization.”

Unsurprisingly, the Regnerus study has sparked criticism. Writing in Slate, William Saletan points out that the study followed children of gay parents before same sex marriage was legal in any U.S. state. Saletan also argues that because they were not part of families with two gay parents who decided to have children, the people from the study “aren’t the products of same-sex households. They’re the products of broken homes.” Of course, it is biologically impossible for same sex couples to have children of their own without medical intervention.

Regnerus’ study is somewhat supported by a new study released earlier this month by Third Way, a self-proclaimed moderate think tank. The study, “Wayward Sons,” supports the idea that boys “seem to suffer” in single parent households without a male role model. While the study does not directly address same-sex marriage, it underscores the fact that there are differences between the genders and that children need positive role models of the same gender. Two mothers or two fathers do not seem to be equivalent to a mother and a father.

As Doug Mainwaring points out in the Public Discourse, “Genderless marriage is not marriage at all. It is something else entirely.” Mainwaring, a gay man who became a father in a heterosexual marriage, says that reason and experience rather than religion and tradition led him to two unexpected conclusions. First, he says, “Creating a family with another man is not completely equal to creating a family with a woman.” Second, he argues that “denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.”

At this point, the evidence of the impact of same sex marriage on children and society at large is inconclusive. If the Supreme Court leaves the matter in the hands of Congress and the states, there will be ample data for future studies on the impact of same sex marriage and parenting. Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia permit marriage between same sex couples, many of whom are undoubtedly raising children. If new data supports the findings of these recent studies that children, especially boys, really do need both a father and a mother, the societal implications of the Supreme Court’s decision could be earthshaking.

Originally published on

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seek medical care now–before Obamacare takes effect

Last year, my mother found out that she had colon cancer. A few weeks later, my wife was determined to have an early stage of cervical cancer. While it is never good to hear a diagnosis of cancer, they were fortunate to receive their diagnoses when and where they did.

My mom was diagnosed in October with stage three colon cancer. Within a week, she was undergoing lifesaving surgery in one of Atlanta’s top hospitals. She was fortunate have access to care in an American hospital. The colon cancer survival rate in the United States is among the highest in the world.

According to a study quoted on Web MD, the United States, Japan and France have the highest survival rates among 31 ranked countries for four types of cancer including cancer of the colon. In spite of the fact that Obamacare was yet to come, the United States ranked at the top for survivability of all four types of cancer.

This may be because of the ready availability of health care in the U.S. In 2002, a Commonwealth Fund study cited in Politifact that showed that only five percent of Americans reported waits of longer than four months for surgery compared to 23 to 38 percent in the other nations ranked, all of which had government health insurance programs. The wait time for my mom was only a matter of days. With the cancer already at stage three and in her lymph nodes, waiting longer might well have cost her life.

Scant weeks after my mom’s surgery, my wife was found to have precancerous cells in her cervix. A hysterectomy was scheduled for about four months away. When a subsequent biopsy revealed that the cells had progressed to stage one cancer, the surgery was moved up to early January, at the time less than a month away.

At the same time that my wife was waiting for her surgery, I read how Canadian women were dying while waiting for the same operation. Global Montreal reported that the wait times for Quebec women with similar cancers were three times as long as government benchmarks. Instead of less than a month, Quebec women often had to wait three months for their surgery. Thousands had to wait as long as six months. The long wait times led some patients to forego their free government health care to seek treatment at private clinics.

“This should not happen,” Lucy Gilbert, director of gynecological oncology at McGill University Health Centre, told Global Montreal. “No matter how good your surgery is, no matter how good your chemotherapy is, if you delay the surgery there could be a problem. The cancer grows. The cancer spreads.”

In my wife’s case, the hysterectomy removed the entire cancer, which had been caught at an early stage. With an aggressive cancer such as this, especially one that is detected late, as ovarian cancer often is, a delay of three to six months can be a death sentence for the patient.

My final recent brush with cancer was my own colonoscopy. After my mom’s experience with colon cancer, my doctor recommended that I be screened. The only delay to my colonoscopy was working around my busy schedule. I could have had my screening two days after my initial consultation if I could have worked it in.

The procedure was painless. When people tell you that the preparation is the worst part, believe it, but even this isn’t any worse than a case of bad diarrhea.

In my case, it was worth the hassle. When I woke up after the procedure, the doctor told me that they had removed two polyps from my colon. A phone call several days later informed me that one of the polyps was benign but that the other likely would have become cancerous. Thank you, Dr. Sanford and thank you, mom!

The lesson to be learned here is that important health tests and procedures should not be delayed. In the best of times, while you delay a procedure, the cancer inside of you could be growing and metastasizing. Cancer is best treated early before it has a chance to spread.

Now there is another reason not to delay taking charge of your health. The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” became law in 2010, but it has not been implemented fully. Many aspects of the law will become effective in 2014 according to In 2015, the site ominously promises that physician pay will be “based on value not volume.”

This column and many other conservative voices have warned that the centralized control of health care will inevitably lead to shortages, rationing, and long wait times. Nevertheless, President Obama’s reelection victory was the death knell for any chance to repeal or reform the law in a meaningful way before it is implemented.

Obamacare will soon be a reality for all Americans. The precise effects of the law are still largely uncertain and controversial, but early indications are that they will not be good. This week health insurance companies warned that premiums for individuals and small businesses could increase by more than double their current rate. The country already faces a shortage of doctors and this will likely be made worse by the influx of insured patients under Obamacare. This is typically the result of an artificial increase in demand for a product.

No one can know how Obamacare would have impacted my mom or my wife, but there is no doubt in my mind that if the law had been in full effect, there would have been a much greater chance that I would have lost both my mother and my wife to cancer in 2013. For me, that is reason enough to fight for the law’s reform and eventual repeal. Repealing Obamacare is vital to save lives that might otherwise be lost while patients sit waiting for vital surgeries or treatments.

Obamacare won’t crash the American health care system overnight, but it is likely that it will become increasingly difficult to see a doctor or get necessary medical care in a timely manner. The safest course of action is to take charge of your health and get any necessary medical tests or procedures done before the law can take effect.

Originally published on

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FAA announces list of sequester control tower closings

Today the Federal Aviation Administration announced the list of air traffic control towers to be closed as the agency implements its sequestration budget cuts. The March 22 press release notes that the FAA originally planned to close 189 towers, but reduced the number to 149 in the final plan.

The reduction in the number of towers to close was due in part to the decision that keeping some towers open was in the national interest. Twenty-four federal contract towers that are staffed by private contractors that were slated to close will remain open. Additionally, 16 contract towers that are part of a cost sharing program will remain open because Congress appropriates their operating funds directly. These towers will have their funds reduced by five percent, but this will not force their closure.

The list of tower closures (which can be viewed here) is made up primarily of general aviation reliever airports so airline travel will be minimally affected by the closures. There are several towers in secondary airline markets that slated to be closed, however. Among these are Columbia, S.C, Concord, N.H., Santa Fe, N.M., and Pocatello, Idaho.

Several towers at Georgia airports are among those on the closure list as well. Two Atlanta-area airports, Cobb County-McCollum Field and Gwinnett County – Briscoe Field, will lose their control towers. Additionally, three other towers around the state, Southwest Georgia Regional in Albany, Middle Georgia Regional in Macon, and Athens – Ben Epps will close. The tower at Fulton County – Brown Field in Atlanta was slated to close, but will remain open.

The fact that control towers are being closed does not mean that airline flights will cease or that the airport itself will close. Instead, it means that the airport will become a “nontowered” airport where pilots revert to “see-and-avoid” procedures and enter the flow of traffic themselves rather than having an air traffic controller regulate the flow of takeoffs and landings.

While pilots fly from nontowered airports, there might be slight delays to obtain a clearance to take off and enter the enroute system. Tower closures might result in radar gaps around these airports that require controllers to leave more space between aircraft. The absence of tower controllers might also mean that weather minimums for instrument approaches at some airports increase due to the lack of weather observers. This could mean delays or diversion of flights during periods of bad weather.

Many of the towers that will be closed were already operating on a part time basis. Control towers at smaller airports are often open only during the day or at peak hours.

In addition to the list of towers that will be closed, the FAA also published a list of contract towers that will remain open as well as list of contract cost share towers that will remain open.

Originally published on

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The story of the sequester

On Friday, the deadline for the federal spending sequester passed without an agreement between Democrats and Republicans on what portions of the federal budget to cut. Many may wonder exactly what the sequester is and how the nation reached the point where $85 billion will be cut from federal spending with no one in Washington taking responsibility.

The sequester has its origins in the debt limit debate of the summer of 2011. As the nation’s credit rating was downgraded and the federal government neared the end of its ability to borrow, President Obama pressed Congress to raise the debt limit. In exchange for doing so, House Republicans insisted on spending cuts. By 2011, President Obama was spending nearly a trillion dollars per year more than 2008, President Bush’s most expensive year, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Nevertheless, President Obama and the Democrats fiercely resisted any attempts to rein in spending. For their part, Republicans were equally tenacious in their opposition to tax increases.

The stalemate was broken by the sequester. According to investigative journalist Bob Woodward, whose book, “the Price of Politics,” details the negotiations from the summer of 2011, the stalemate was broken by an agreement to delay the decision on taxes and spending cuts. Part of the agreement was a “doomsday” plan in which taxes and cuts would automatically take place if Congress failed to take action by January 1, 2013. The combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts came to be known as the “fiscal cliff.” The compromise was signed into law as the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The 2012 election threw a wrench into the plans of both Congress and President Obama for dealing with the cliff. Both parties expected to win a convincing victory. Neither party expected that the election would end in a stalemate, a continuation of the status quo in which the Democrats controlled the presidency and the Senate and Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives, but that is exactly what happened. The election results meant that the stalemate of 2011 was doomed to be repeated.

The tax section of the fiscal cliff was settled on New Year’s Day with a compromise that raised taxes on upper income Americans and let the payroll tax holiday expire for everyone else in what the Wall St. Journal called the “largest tax increase in two decades.” Part of the tax cliff compromise included extending the deadline to deal with the spending cuts, the sequester, until March 1.

As the deadline for the sequester approached, President Obama and the Democrats reneged on the agreement that tax increases would be balanced with spending cuts. In December 2012, the Republicans offered a tax reform package that would have raised $800 billion in revenues without raising tax rates. The plan would have closed loopholes and eliminated some deductions for the wealthy. Now President Obama, according to Factcheck, wants the revenue package previously offered by Speaker Boehner along with the tax increases that he has already received.

After the fiscal cliff deal, Republicans warned President Obama that they would accept no more tax increases. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in an op-ed on Yahoo, “That debate is over. Now the conversation turns to cutting spending on the government programs that are the real source of the nation’s fiscal imbalance.”

Because the tax increases in January were automatic, the Republicans had no leverage. If they had not compromised with the Democrats, tax rates would have gone up even more and impacted virtually every American. In the sequester, the opposite is true: Spending will be cut automatically if Congress does not act.

President Obama and the Democrats desperately want to avoid any sort of cuts to federal spending. Nevertheless, by tying sensible cuts to tax hikes that the Republicans find unpalatable they have guaranteed that the sequester will happen. There are three possible reasons for this strategy.

First, having agreed to the spending cuts only to get an increase in the debt ceiling in 2011, the Democrats now want to make the cuts as haphazard and painful to American voters as possible. If they can cause pain to the voters and make them believe that the Republicans are responsible, it may give them a victory at the polls in 2014 that will guarantee future tax hikes and avoid any possibility of reining in spending.

Second, Obama undoubtedly expects that if he can force the Republicans to cave into his demands once again that it will further splinter the party. With the Republicans fragmented, demoralized and pointing fingers at each other, it will be easy for Obama to gain new concessions in the future. He will need them. The federal government will reach its debt limit again in a few months.

Third, political observer Dick Morris theorizes that Obama wants the sequester to take effect so that he can blame Republicans for the economic downturn that his policies are causing. Writing in The Hill, Morris notes that Obama and the Democrats have imposed a multitude of new taxes totaling $300 billion. According to an analysis by the Washington Post, the cuts for 2013 only come to $85 billion, 28 percent of the amount that Obama’s tax increases have removed from the economy.

President Obama has attempted to cast the blame for the sequester on Congress, but Bob Woodward who was present during the 2011 negotiations disputes that. Writing in the Washington Post, Woodward described how the idea for the sequester originated with Jack Lew, at the time the White House chief of staff, and Rob Nabors, the White House chief of congressional relations. According to Woodward, President Obama personally approved the plan before it was presented to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Woodward reported that representatives of the Obama Administration told him that he would “regret doing this” after he pointed out the inconsistencies in the Obama Administration’s statements. The exchange is detailed in the Wall St. Journal, which also points out that administration officials have attempted to intimidate at least two other journalists who have published stories critical of Obama.

There were several congressional attempts to limit the impact of the sequester. Factcheck agrees that Republicans in the House passed two bills in 2012 that would have replaced the sequester’s defense cuts with entitlement cuts. These bills died in the Senate. In the current term, two bills were proposed in the Senate, but neither passed. A Democratic bill would have replaced the sequester cuts with alternative cuts and more tax increases. The Republican version would have required President Obama to propose alternative cuts without tax increases.

In last days of February, Republicans offered to give President Obama the power to choose which programs to cut in order to mitigate the pain of the sequester. President Obama threatened to veto the bill if it passed Congress, instead opting for the across-the-board, untargeted cuts. The White House told the Defense News, “There is no way to cut spending this dramatically over a seven-month period without drastically affecting national security and economic priorities. Moreover, [it] would explicitly protect pork barrel spending and, in so doing, would reduce the President’s ability to protect national security.”

In reality, even though the sequester cuts almost a trillion dollars from federal spending over ten years, total federal spending will increase even if there is no compromise to avert the cuts. According to an analysis of Congressional Budget Office spending figures in Forbes, the sequester cuts are subtracted after adding in inflation adjustments and spending exempted from the cuts. The result is that spending will increase by $110 billion after the sequester cuts are accounted for.

On Friday, the sequester officially took effect as Obama ordered federal agencies to begin the initial $85 billion in cuts. As the Wall St. Journal pointed out, President Obama may be the biggest loser if Americans find that spending cuts really aren’t so bad after all.

Originally published on Examiner: