As the budget cut deadline looms, automatic cuts may soon occur.
As the deadline for automatic budget cuts (the "sequester") draws near, and with Congress and the President failing to agree on a budget deal to avoid these cuts, Americans could be affected in a variety of areas.
In recent days, President Obama has traveled to various states telling audiences that automatic budget cuts will cause such things as increased flight delays due to closures of air traffic control towers, to elimination of food programs for the poor, and reduced ability to control the border. Some Republicans in the Congress are saying that the President's words are merely "scare tactics" meant to frighten the American people into supporting higher taxes on the wealthy, and that the automatic budget cuts need not impact the average American so severely.
WPEC Reporter Ben Becker recently caught up with Northwood Florida President Tom Duncan to learn more.
"These exchanges between the President and Republicans in Congress are part of the 'public negotiations' that often take place when important policy decisions are about to be made," said Duncan, a former political science professor and political commentator. "Both Republicans in the Congress and members of the Obama Administration are trying to shape the context of the debate over the choice between raising taxes to reduce the budget deficit, or reducing spending to bring the federal budget under control. Duncan continued, "Republicans are more interested in the spending cut approach than in more tax increases, but Democrats generally are reluctant to touch 'entitlement' spending – such as Social Security and Medicare – and, thus, prefer increasing taxes on wealthier Americans to close the budget gap."
Duncan noted that defense spending is slated to take a disproportionate chunk of automatic budget cuts – which may cause Republicans to find some way to avoid, or at least delay, such reductions. "I expect Congress and the President will find some way to reduce the impact of the sequester, or kick the can down the road for a few more weeks or months," said President Duncan. "Neither the Democrats or the Republicans want to take the blame for hurting the economy, or pushing the country into another recession. Ultimately, that reality will force the sides together into some sort of compromise," he concluded.
Appointed Northwood Florida President in July, 2012, Duncan has become recognized as a valued political, economic, and social commentator for CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX television affiliates in the Palm Beach area. From 2007-2009, Duncan was Visiting Professor of Higher Education at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He served as a senior staff member to Missouri Governor John Ashcroft in education and policy management from 1985-1989, as well as Director of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration from 1989-1992. Prior to his government service, he was an assistant professor of government and public administration at Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield, Missouri from 1980-1984. He later served colleges and universities in California, Arizona, and Ohio in faculty and administrative capacities.
Duncan earned his PhD. in higher education from the University of Arizona in 2005; an M.A. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1979; his B.A. in government from Evangel College in 1975; and a course of study in preparation for Anglican ordination with the Anglican Mission in the Americas. He is an ordained minister with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). In addition to his higher education service, Duncan has remained active as a chaplain and pastor in religious communities in California, Arizona, Missouri, and Wisconsin.