Friday, March 1, came and went, despite a steady drumbeat of drastic warnings about the impact of the sequester on jobs and economic growth.
President Obama’s last-minute meeting with selected Republican congressional leaders on March 1 fell flat on its face. Obama was adamant that a path to any compromise must lie in a “balanced” approach that replaced tax cuts in part with higher taxes. Both political parties viewed the across-the-board sequester discretionary cuts of $85.4 billion in 2013 (or 2.5 cents on every dollar) as abhorrent and hurtful to the American people.
Republican cried fowl because the sequester goal post had been moved. Hadn’t Democrats already realized a $600 billion tax increase in January when payroll taxes went back up to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent?
Although Republicans offered Obama authority to decide how the $85 billion in spending cuts could be done in a more prudent way to lessen their negative impact, and the president still has some leeway, Obama instead went on the road to warn the American people how the sequester cuts would result in fewer traffic controllers, police and firefighters, and meat inspectors, etc.
Shouldn’t it be a no-brainer for agencies to save billions by cutting waste where it actually exists?
An even greater financial crisis will befall this nation of March 27 — the date current government funding expire — when Congress must pass another continuing resolution. Given the rancor expressed over the $85.4 billion of sequester cuts which are mere sliver of our nation’s 2013 budget of $3.8 trillion, what hope is there that a compromise can be reached by March 27 to curtail the size, scope and cost of government to prevent a government shutdown?
Nancy J. Thorner
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