Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 @ 4:32AM
SEQUESTERING 2013 “POLITICS AS USUAL”
The sequester controversy is another example of politics as usual in Washington, with both parties looking to maximize the politics of it by point fingers at each other. In the end there will be very little accomplished in actual budget cuts, as always. Thus the never ending dance continues: Obama will stress how these dramatic cuts will “affect ordinary Americans” while the GOP will tout the importance of “fiscal responsibility”. The truth is these cuts are a miniscule drop in a Pacific Ocean sized national debt.
It’s also another example of Washington’s ability, through the 24/7 media cycle and the left-leaning press to make hay out of another “technicality” issue. It’s hard to believe that there’s more than 5% of American’s that even understand the issue and its ramifications—these folks are the ones that follow politics or are passionate about either side. The rest of us just want to know what the tax implications are and if our elected officials can ever make real cuts that reverse this negative downward cycle. These aren’t real cuts though. Washington is serving up a healthy dish of “Cuts ala Washington”, i.e. a proposed “reduction” of proposed future spending. There is absolutely no debt reduction to be found here.
So who’s to blame? Is this politics as usual? Of course it is. It’s always politics and it’s always spin. The press has a unique ability to take rather complex issues and package them with an easy and overriding message that fits their viewpoint.
The indomitable George Will said it best in Sunday’s Washington post, regarding the “manufactured hysteria of Sequester”.
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”
The sad reality is that Washington, on both sides, has no real interest in ever truly cutting anything. This entire controversy is around cutting $85 billion from a federal budget of 3.6 trillion, or 2.3%.
More from Will…
Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forbid, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!
The truth is government will never be big enough for the Democratic Party. Ten years ago it wasn’t big enough for the Democrats and in ten years it won’t be big enough. For every proposed cut there are always the stories. The anecdotal stories of how the cutting of this mysterious program will impact person X, and how the removal of X funding will hurt “the children.” No reduction of government spending, even in miniscule amounts as proposed here, will ever prevent the impending liberal frenzy. Tuesday, Obama said: The sequesters “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. Mr. Obama has become a walking thesaurus of how many different ways can you re-state hysteria—as has the White House press corps.
The lead in another Washington Post Story this week:
With the ax set to fall on federal spending in five days, the question in Washington is not whether the sequester will hit, but how much it will hurt.
Over the past week, President Obama has painted a picture of impending disaster, warning of travel delays, laid-off firefighters and pre-schoolers tossed out of Head Start. Conservatives accuse Obama of exaggerating the impact, and some White House allies worry the slow-moving sequester may fail to live up to the hype.
There they go again, the masters of hyperbole, talking about how the “ax” is set to fall. Comparing an ax falling to this issue is like trying to fell the largest California redwood with a hatchet.
I truly believe that there are Republicans in Washington that are doing their best to truly reign in spending and reduce the deficit in real terms. Unfortunately they are fighting a losing battle. When you don’t control the message you don’t have a chance. What we do get, unfortunately, is cuts to the military that are always an easy target. The Democrats do an amazing job of painting the picture of how the removal of a program can hurt said “pre-schoolers” but when cuts really are made they go right for armed forces. For a party that cares so much about job growth cuts to the military are an easy was for them to justify the furloughing of thousands of Pentagon workers.
This issue will get solved. Both sides will declare victory while their minions point fingers across the aisle. A week later we’ll move on to the next manufactured “hysteria”. It’s all in a days work!