Cuts for other people

There is a tendency for people who want to cut government spending to ignore spending that benefits them, the infamous example is ‘keep your government hands off my Medicare’–they want to cut government spending for other people who don’t deserve it like they do. That attitude shows up in this story on the First Congressional District of Kansas:

The residents of western Kansas are tired of out-of-control spending and government growth, and Huelskamp is their response. The fifth-generation farmer and former state senator easily won his first House race in 2010, 74 percent to 23 percent. In 2012, he wasn’t even opposed.

“I would say 90 percent of the people here are angry at Washington – because they’re reckless,” said Alan Snodgrass, the only doctor in Hodgeman County. “This president is trying to destroy the country I grew up in.”

Although the residents rely heavily on federal agricultural subsidies, the efficient work of USDA meat inspectors, and extra government aid for rural hospitals, voters in conversations across the district expressed nearly universal disdain for Washington.

Huelskamp is a bit different from many of these types, he actually is willing to cut spending that benefits his district, but it’s still part of the same phenomenon. He is for cutting spending for farm subsidies, but that’s not going to happen so it’s an easy vote–he can vote against it so he can claim he really does want to make these cuts without having to actually deal with the consequences from an actual cut. You can see that from the sequester. Huelskamp is fine with the sequester, the problem is that it passed and actually does affect his district:

A month into sequestration, Kansans are now beginning to bear the pain of austerity. Slashed education funding is a particularly big blow, given that the issue was contentious even before sequestration kicked in. A court ruled earlier this year that Kansas had failed to meet its constitutionally defined obligation to fund state education requirements. Now, the state Department of Education estimates a loss of $59 million in federal funds in the 2013-2014 school year, just as the state was looking to get its education funding back on track.

The cuts will also cost the federal courthouses in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City $750,000 this year — 14 percent of their budget — according to the court clerk in Topeka. Judge Julia Gibbons, budget committee chairwoman for the U.S. Judicial Conference, said that as a result, some criminal cases in Kansas won’t be prosecuted this year, and Kansans who face federal charges may wait longer to see a court-appointed lawyer.

But most of the local attention has gone toward the closure of seven air traffic control towers, a consequence of the $600 million funding reduction for the Federal Aviation Administration this fiscal year. The towers, according to local officials, are vital to airport safety and revenue. Many of the rural communities in Kansas depend on small airports to boost their economy and business. In the case of the Manhattan Regional Airport, city officials were so concerned that they actually stepped in to take over funding for their local tower. They conceded they didn’t know how they’ll pay for it.

and let’s see his response:

Shutting down regional control towers was one impact of sequestration severe enough to actually elicit a response from Huelskamp and Pompeo. The two joined Republican Sen. Jerry Moran and other lawmakers in signing a letter opposing their closure.

“The Administration’s decision to shutter these air traffic control towers is short-sighted and dangerous,” the letter reads. “Closing control towers is equivalent to removing stop lights and stop signs from our roads.”

My guess is he will also come out against some of the other cuts.

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