Washington could learn something from some Iowa sixth-graders.
The Obama administration canceled public tours of the White House. It’s the latest in the clumsy effort to make the 2.4 percent, across-the-board sequestration spending cuts as painful as possible.
But the kids at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa, who raised money for months to pay for a trip to Washington, countered with handmade signs and a chant in a brief Facebook video: “The White House is our house! Please let us visit!”
They have a good point. It is the people’s house, and there are better ways of saving money than keeping the people out of it.
More sequester nonsense surfaced briefly at Offutt Air Force Base, where an email from the base’s civilian employee union included the unproductive idea that all 2,800 civilian workers take their 22 sequestration furlough days at the same time. “By proposing this, it will show that without the Civilian Employees, the Base will be crippled,” the email said.
Kudos to union members who were angered by the idea. As David Clarke of Omaha, an Offutt mechanic, said, “You put people’s lives in danger when you do things like that. That’s not what the union is about.”
National officials of the American Federation of Government Workers disavowed the idea, and local union leaders said Clarke raised a “very good point.”
The across-the-board cuts are not the best way to carry out spending reductions. Since Congress and the president can’t find another way, the sequester appears here to stay. But both sides should quickly agree on legislation giving managers flexibility in how to make trims that minimize the impacts.
That would be in the public’s best interest, which shouldn’t be too much to expect of those doing the people’s business. Just ask those Iowa sixth-graders.