On Friday (March 1, 2013), President Obama signed legislation that will force the Government to make substantial, across-the-board spending cuts, sending department heads scrambling for ways to meet the requirements while limiting its effect on services.
In theory, Sequestration was meant to be so unpalatable that the president and Congress would’ve been forced to sit down together and hammer out a solution to the country’s fiscal woes; sparing the Government from the far-reaching, indiscriminate cuts that would’ve been inflicted by Sequestration’s scalpel.
Now, you would expect normal, rational people to have worked out a solution before the deadline, but our leaders are neither normal nor rational – they’re politicians. And, as you know, politicians are notorious for never getting anything done on time. Invariably, it takes a crisis, like the one the country is now facing, to jolt them into action.
Maybe Congress and the president never intended to do anything about federal spending; maybe their plan all along was to make us think they were. They mesmerized us with their eloquence and fiscal dexterity while explaining how the deficit could be reduced by four trillion dollars in 12 years; but we’re now being told that cutting 85 billion in one year would devastate the economy.
When President Obama first took office, he said in his inaugural address that getting the economy back on track would take time, and that it was going to be tough. He said that hard choices would have to be made, but he believed that Americans were willing to make those sacrifices, and they were. But somewhere along the line the Government forgot about being frugal and continued to spend as though the financial crisis didn’t even exist, adding a trillion dollars to the national debt each of Obama’s first four years.
There’s been a lot of finger-pointing as to who’s to blame for the mess we now find ourselves in, but both sides are equally responsible: The Republicans have never seen a war that they didn’t like, and the Democrats cannot get enough social programs. And, each year both Republican and Democratic congressmen take as much pork as they can stomach from federal coffers back home to their respective districts.
I know this may have become cliché by now, but if you ran your personal finances the way or leaders are running this country – borrowing money for operating expenses for the upcoming year, and to pay off debt incurred the previous year, creating even more debt in the process – you would soon be ruined. Well the country is no different.
So maybe this Sequestration thing is just what the country needs to jolt our leaders back to their senses. And then maybe, ten, twenty years from now historians will look back at this period in our nation’s history and say, “You know, had it not been for Sequestration, America might not have survived.”
Money.howstuffworks.com: How does President Obama plan to fix the federal deficit?
Zerohedge.com: A look back at Barack Obama’s first inaugural address.