The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 26, 2013

Tired of sequestration talk yet?


Daily Item

---- — If you are not tired of hearing or reading the word "sequestration," you certainly will be by the end of this week. The mandatory budget cuts seem inevitable because Washington remains gridlocked on even little things, which means big, important things have zero chances of getting accomplished.

No matter how many end-of-the-world scenarios we hear between now then, chances are pretty good when you wake on Friday morning, things will not have changed all that much.

Sequestration is just the latest in a series of make-believe crisis coming out of the nation's capital. First (and second, third and fourth) were the arguments on the raising the debt ceiling. Then came the dreaded fiscal cliff. Now it is sequestration, which kicks in Friday with across-the-board $85 billion spending cuts for defense and other programs.

For several weeks the talk has been of closing down meat packaging plants because inspectors will lose their jobs, or head start shutting down and planes getting grounded because there won't be enough money to pay for air-traffic control.

Certainly no one wants to see any of these things happen; some of the things that will get cut are beneficial programs. The $85 billion in cuts is a lot of money, no question about that. But in reality, it represents a 2.5 percent cut. That means all our filling-us-with-fear leaders in Washington need to do is cut 2-3 cents out of every dollar they spend.

Listening to the shockers coming out of Washington, you would think someone is being asked to give up a limb. And that is the biggest problem with this entire situation.

The sequester was put in place last year when Democrats and Republicans could not come to an agreement on one of the debt ceiling arguments. It was created to force leaders' hands to get something done, or else.

Well, now it is the "or else". Government has once again failed us and who do we see about that? While families cut back on everything to accommodate rising food and gas prices, Washington cannot cut 2 cents from the things it wants but not necessarily needs.

Instead they battle over little things and get nothing productive accomplished.

In the grand scheme, the sequester is not the worst thing to happen. Maybe this will be the final straw that bridges the great divide in Washington that has crippled leadership for the past five years.