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Sequestration Likely to Go into Effect on March 1st

Posted on the 24 February 2013 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012
White House

White House (Photo credit: Tom Lohdan)

John Avlon, senior Newsweek and Daily Beast contributor, provides his solution to preventing the much-hyped sequester cuts that will go into effect this Friday (March 1st).  Sequestration  is a term for automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that will impact EVERY government budget (i.e. Medicare, border security, defense, etc.).  As chronicled in Bob Woodward’s book “The Price of Politics,” the idea was one created by the White House.  It was drawn up to be a sort of last resort.  The White House thought that the threat of such cuts would certainly provide enough pressure on our politicians to get a deal done to prevent the cuts.  The White House thought wrong.

The sequester cuts will total to about $1.2 trillion over the course of ten years; with $85 billion in cuts this year.

Avlon writes:

President Obama has previously set a goal of a two-to-one ratio of spending cuts to new revenue as the outline of a bipartisan deal, but he is now also calling for a two month delay in sequester cuts, to create more time for grand-bargain style negotiation coincide with the debt ceiling hike that is expected in May. Kicking the can isn’t pretty, but there’s little hope for a grand bargain in the next week.

He concludes his article with some wise words:

One week isn’t enough time to solve all these problems but we can’t afford to wait much longer for a comprehensive plan. Pick and choose from the items of this policy buffet – but congress better come back from their latest break tan, rested and ready to work across the aisle.  Because right now Washington gridlock is the greatest threat to the still-fragile American recovery.

With Congress finally getting back from their most recent vacation (or “recess” as they like to call it) it is extremely doubtful anything will get done to prevent the cuts.  Not even another congressional staple: the short-term deal is likely to be passed.  Congress and the White House haven’t even met to discuss a deal, let alone begin to compromise on a real solution.  They’ve been too busy blaming the other side for the origins of the sequestration.  Republicans blame President Obama because he came up with the idea.  Democrats don’t think that should matter and blame Republicans for not agreeing to their terms.

Frankly this is what politics has become.  No one has the courage to pass anything of substance.  Fear and blame is so prevalent in Washington you’d think these people were great actors.  Oh wait, they are great actors.  Great enough to fool the American people that they are trying to “help” but the other side isn’t budging.  And somehow Americans continue to vote these imbeciles into office (and no, not all of them are dumb or ineffective).

Republicans have a point in that they seemingly always have to give in to the demands of the White House or they are quickly lampooned for stalling a compromise.  The fiscal cliff was temporarily averted because Republicans agreed to raise taxes on those making $450,000 or more and yet in return saw no spending cuts.  That doesn’t seem to me to be a fair case of negotiations if you ask me.  You could tax every high-income taxpayer 100% of their income and it still wouldn’t substantially dent the total federal debt.  Obviously Democrats have to come up with an additional means of cutting the deficit (i.e. spending cuts and government reforms).

However, Democrats are correct to point out that Republicans refuse to even sit down if they hear the words “revenues” (although the president recently has adopted a similar negotiation style).

I blame them all.  As Jonathan Karl, ABC’s chief White House Correspondent, noted the cuts are less than 2% of the total federal budget.  I don’t think the cuts are as tragic as the White House is making them out to be.  Obviously I would rather these people actually do their job, but I think some good might come out of it if the cuts do go into effect.  The pressure from voters to pass a comprehensive deal will be so overwhelming that I think it will nudge them to get it done.  Remember the only reason something got done last December (the fiscal cliff negotiations) was because voters on election night made it clear they were fed up with our politicians.  Sadly for many politicians their main priority is their probability of reelection.  Only when you threaten those prospects and their entitlements will they get the job done.

I am idealistic and naïve to request this, but I will do so anyway from our politicians.

NO more short-term deals.  Solve the problem.

STOP blaming each other.  It doesn’t prove your point.

INSTEAD of being “masters of the art of doing nothing” (of which I have nicknamed you) how about you become “masters of compromise.”

I know this is unlikely to happen.  But it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t.  And I certainly I am not going to lower my expectations because of past results.  What I’ve requested should be the minimum of what gets done.

Get the job done already!

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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