By Russ Pankonin, The Imperial Republican
Sequestration. We’ve heard about it for months as the country came up on a March 1 deadline which would trigger automatic spending cuts to the federal budget totaling $85 billion.
Just so we’re on the same page, I looked up the word sequester. Two definitions seemed most appropriate for this situation: 1. to take legal possession (of assets) until a debt has been paid or other claims met; 2. legally place (property in a bankruptcy) in the hands of a trustee for division among creditors.
Ever since Congress kicked the can down the road with a deal after year-end, both Republicans and Democrats have been lining up on their own sides of the aisle, indicating each side has given all they’re going to give.
Democrats say there have to be higher taxes to cut the deficit. Republicans say tax increases aren’t even on the table. They want cuts to federal spending and reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Hearing the politicians in the last several weeks go on about how these cuts would hurt our country reminded me of the story of Chicken Little.
Come last Monday, the sky wasn’t falling. The dire warnings of disaster when the cuts kicked in on Monday proved to be little more than hot air—for the time being at least.
Sad to say, but most Americans have become so accustomed to near-misses, last-minute deals and cans being kicked down the road that, frankly, we don’t get very excited anymore.
Rather than trying to fix the problem, both sides have been pointing their fingers at each other.
The Democrats have been wanting everyone to know just how bad they will be affected. In fact, the White House released a state-by-state rundown of how the cuts would affect average Americans.
In Nebraska, the predicted impacts, over the next year, range from cuts in federal education funds and Head Start services to the furlough of 4,000 civilian Department of Defense employees, reducing gross pay by $25 million.
Republicans have been saying there’s no more revenue that can be found by plugging tax loopholes—just leave taxes alone.
If you or I had $85 billion, we wouldn’t know what to do with so much money. But in terms of reducing a federal debt that’s soared to more than $16 trillion, it’s a drop in the bucket—a 2.4 percent drop in the bucket to be exact.
Both sides must come to the realization that to move this country forward, they need to work together. Let’s look at the tax system. Let’s look at reforming Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Living on the front lines of the “real world,” you and I know that’s what needs to happen. Unfortunately, politicians in Washington have become so entrenched in party-only thinking, they can’t see the so-called forest because of the trees.
All options need to be on the table if the United States is ever going to address the fiscal disaster we’re in the midst of now. Our elected officials in Washington can’t be like ostriches with their heads in the sand anymore. That’s how we’ve gotten to where we are now.
It’s time for them to “pull their head out,” wherever it may be lodged, and work not for the interests of Republicans or Democrats but for the best interests of all Americans.