The nation was warned in early January that it would happen again and, much to our chagrin, indeed it did.
The U.S. government is, once again, faced with the impending threat of across the board spending cuts, known as sequestration.
Unless Congress and the
president can agree on a way to curb government spending and manage the national debt, they will be bitten by their own naivety and decisions will be made for them.
The sequestration is not just about the debt or even necessarily about the economy.
While those play a part in the decision making process, the sequestration issue has more to do with two other things
perception and control.
The nation has a deficit of around $16 trillion. The government is spending a lot more than it is bringing in.
This is nothing new or unexpected.
The federal government bankrolls vast numbers of programs that perform various necessary functions that cost a lot of money.
But the term necessary function is where the perception aspect of the sequester comes into play.
Congress is fighting over which programs are necessary and beneficial to the betterment of the nation and cutting the budgets of every other program. But because the political system is so dichotomous, the perceptions of what programs are necessary is so ambiguous that its turned into one side thinking that any government spending is useless while the other side takes little haste in spending as much as they can.
But what does the government do when no one can get along?
They do what they did in 2011 after they failed miserably to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and impose a sequestration deadline to motivate themselves to reach an agreement.
But the sequestration has become more of a threat than a motivation.
Unless Democrats give in and agree to cut spending, Republicans will let sequestration take its toll. The same is true for Republicans and taxes on the rich. Though there is another bi-partisan Simpson and Bowles plan which is becoming as American as apple pie the terms of the plan can not be agreed upon by enough lawmakers to move it forward.
Watching D.C. politics is like watching children playing a frivolous game of tug-of-war. One side pulls the rope and screams cut government funding while the other side pulls back screaming raise taxes on the rich. But ultimately, it is a fight for control.
But the only person who loses in this game is the teacher
chaperoning the class recess the same teacher whose pension is doomed to be cut because of all of the shenanigans.
Congress and the President have a little over a week to come to an agreement. Allowing the sequester to be carried out would be disastrous to the little amount of recovery the economy has mustered over the past two years. The game must come to an end.