Sequester: A not so bad Idea whose time has come

February 21, 2013 at 8:56 am

sequesterRepublicans on Capitol Hill are once again desperately trying to slow down the spending train in which we are all passengers, and which is racing toward the cliff. And once again President Obama is giving demagoguery a bad name as he tests the limits of the short sightedness and ignorance of the American people.

Obama, as he stepped off the golf course, said that sequestration,  which was originally his idea, now will precipitate the destruction of the world as we know  it. Our leader believes that everyone from firemen to food inspectors will be decimated if the cuts go through, and, of course, Republicans will be at fault.

Even though Obama is eagerly rolling up his newspaper again, Republicans on the Hill are refusing to act like whipped puppies this time around. They are insisting that unless Obama comes up with substitute spending cuts, the sequester as previously agreed to by both parties and signed by the President will go through. Although still fearful of Obama’s skills at misleading the public, and unlike the Bush tax cut expiration fight, they don’t have to lift a finger in order to strike a blow for deficit reduction. The sequester is automatic. It has already passed.

It’s not that across the board cuts are a great idea. Ideally, cuts would be made where cuts should be made and not in other places. We still have a double digit number of jobs programs and a shrinking battleship capacity. We have crumbling infrastructure, yet will have less to spend.  And the sequester does not affect entitlements, which are badly in need of restructuring.

But get this: the sequester would cut one and a half percent from domestic spending. That’s about a week’s worth of government spending, as we run up trillion dollar deficits year after year and  approach a $17 trillion national debt. We are like the drunk who, after buying rounds for the house all night, leaves a few pennies on the counter and congratulates himself for his frugality.

The point here: if we don’t cut spending now and in this way, when in the world will we? Our “leader” has shown that he will not cut anything except the military unless he is forced to. So now Obama has outsmarted himself  and signed off on a sequester that he thought would never come to pass. He did not count on the fact that his overreaching, belligerent demagoguery would stiffen the Republican spine.

Republicans are a political party, not a suicide pact, and sometimes they have to pay the price for losing elections by biding their time and choosing their battles wisely. Let’s face it. We are not going to make any real progress toward fiscal sanity while the Democrats control most of Washington. During this time Republicans must  stay alive, speak the truth, not follow every diversion Obama throws their way, and maintain their credibility. By not caving on sequester they show that they are willing to take a political risk for the sake of the long-term benefit of our country.

It has been observed how often doing the right thing turns out to be good politics. I think the notion that the sequester will throw us into a recession is absurd. It’s a $16 trillion economy. This is a drop in the bucket. I think the result will be just the opposite when reluctant businessmen, foreign investors and credit-rating agencies see that we are at least making a start toward deficit reduction.

Besides, it will be worth the spectacle. As the economy improves after the Republicans hold fast, Obama won’t know whether to laugh or cry.