The automatic governmentspending cuts known as sequestration officially went into effect last Thursday.
The nation was warned it would happen. It was conjured up to be a worst-case scenario indealing with the growing deficit.The political games continued.
But this is not a game.
Government agencies have already sent out furloughnotices to government employee unions thatmandate that they lose as manyas 22 days of work. From the workers at the Environmental Protection Agency, to civilian and military workerson bases across the country employed by the Department of Defense, the ones being impacted the most are those whose only involvement in the matteris that they chose to work for their country.
While many of the more than 2.1 million federal employees will have togo on unpaid furloughs,effectively cutting their pay by 20 percent, those in both chambers of Congress will not see their base salary of$174 thousand decrease.
Despite the warnings and the political bantering that ensued, the American people were forced to watch as the seeminglyapocalyptic and indiscriminatebudget cuts loomed while lawmakers did little to curb sequestration fromhappening.
The entire situation turned into an embarrassing game of chicken. Republicans in Congress held steadfast to their unwillingness to raise morerevenue by increasing taxes on the richest Americans. Democrats refused to budge on cutting government spending without Republicans agreeingon matching said cuts with increased revenues or closingtax loopholes.
This game has been carryingon since the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011and effectively raised the debt ceiling. Congress gavethemselves two years to agree on a deal that would fairly cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion orelse all government programswould be cut indiscriminately,with some exceptions,effectively disabling manygovernment programs fromrunning efficiently.
It is undeniable thatsequestration is a low point in the countrys history. The reluctance for Congress and the President to come to anagreement makes it clear that there are serious issues in the political system.
It is disgusting,disheartening and disturbing that those in Congress are able to keep their six-figure salaries,while those who work for the government agencies thatlawmakers have deemeddiscretionary are the ones that must ultimate lose in a game they were never players in.