The Constitution gives our three branches of government their separate responsibilities, with no one branch designed to have more power over the other two.

Judging from their job performances, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, as a member of the legislative branch, understands the supreme law of our land while Barack Obama, as the leader of the executive branch, can't quite get it.

We need look no farther than the sequestration showdown, a problem of this administration's own making which was designed to harness the out-of-control spending in the federal government. Obama is trying to use sequestration as a political vehicle for his short-term goal for higher taxes and more federal programs as well as a long-term political strategy to break down the Republicans in his second term. Last week's scare tactics of making us believe that the 2.3 percent reduction in the rate of government growth would mean less firefighters or border security agents and cuts in programs for the poor showed just how far this administration will go to further Obama's liberal agenda.

Sen. Coburn is one who sees through the political shenanigans and is not afraid to stand up against Obama's Chicago-style political machine. Each year Coburn presents a "Wastebook", which counters Obama liberal spending agenda.

Since sequestration hits the defense budget the hardest, Coburn cites a number of programs which the Pentagon can totally eliminate or at least reign in the spending. There are some crazy examples, including more than $1.5 million being spent by the Office of Naval Research's Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program to develop a new kind of beef jerky, and a 46-minute video called Grill It Safe that was created, in which "grill sergeants" show off their own favorite recipes.

Whether you're a Star Trek fan or not, the fact that $1 million was spent on developing a plan to send a space ship to another solar system should grab attention, including a $21,000 gift from the Pentagon to help the 100-Year Starship organization host a September symposium for interstellar discussion. Those attending the 'intergalactic gala celebration, featuring former Trekkies Levar Burton and Nichelle Nichols, needed to wear 'starship cocktail attire.'"

The dozens of government programs that serve the same purpose make up what Coburn calls a "duplication nation." The Government Accountability Office reports that "tens of billions of dollars" are wasted on duplicate and redundant programs, often spread across agencies.

Because the Department of Defense and other national programs are grouped together, it often masks the waste being distributed between many different agencies. Because the cuts can be re-directed to hit the most popular or essential services that each agency provides, Obama portrays each as being a victim of prospective cuts.

Coburn penned a letter to the Department of Defense concerning the $85 billion being slashed that many warn can weaken our national defense. Rather than furloughing essential personnel, Coburn said the agency could eliminate other unnecessary jobs that have little if anything to do with defense.

He also points out that DOD spent more than $6 billion on questionable, duplicative and unnecessary research through its various research agencies, including $5.2 million to determine what lessons about democracy and social decision-making could be learned from fish as well as a grant which resulted in an iPhone app to alert users when to take a coffee break.

Before furloughing essential personnel who support our troops or compromising our readiness, Cobrun encourages DOD to consider eliminating or at least reducing some of these nutty, non-defense related projects.

Coburn offers some sound judgment, something we need more of these days, especially from the oval office of the president.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [1]