Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Post Sequesterlypse America

     As I drove home yesterday from my cabin retreat in the hills of Southern Ohio, I expected a myriad of horrible Sequester-inspired tragedies to greet me. After all the President said unless the Republicants in Congress caved on raising taxes as part of a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts of the Sequester, the country would be plunged into a new dark age. So I thoroughly expected to see children and seniors starving in the street, airliners falling out of the sky and fires burning out of control for lack of an adequate number of firefighters. Of course none of this came to pass and life in America continued almost completely uninterrupted.
     President Obama's calculated political bluff of grossly exaggerating the effects of the Sequester was called by John Boehner and the rest of Congressional Republicants, to both the President's and my amazement. President Obama had to stumble and stammer through a back peddle that would have put a trained circus bear to shame. The dirty little secret of the Sequester cuts, besides the fact that they aren't cuts but a reduction in the rate of growth, is that the President has the authority and discretion to apply them to non-critical programs and expenditures. He didn't, for example, have to indulge his petty and childish revenge against Jan Brewer by releasing thousands of illegal alien criminals into her state and blame it on Sequester cuts. But then Barack Obama could never be accurately portrayed as an adult. Unfortunately the power of the Presidency is in the hands of someone who is emotionally eight years old.
     So where do we go from here? The next battle is raising the debt ceiling and the passage of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government. Congressional Republicants should force the President and Senate Democrats, with a government shut-down if necessary, to execute their Constitutional duty that they have avoided for the last four years and pass a budget. The Republicants should also impose stricter and realistic cuts to the bloated federal budget and tax and entitlement reform. What the Republicants should not do is fear being demonized for doing the right thing for the country, that will happen no matter what they do. When Newt Gingrich and the Republicant majority in the House shut down the government in the 1996 budget debate, they forced the popular and politically skillful President Clinton to cave and agree to a balanced budget. And even though the Womanizer In Chief took credit for it after fighting it tooth and nail, it was the right thing to do for the country and should be the focus of today's Republicants.
     We can no longer, as a country, afford to throw away money on programs like Head Start, that even the federal government has said is a failure of epic proportions. Head start costs the American taxpayers a whopping eight billion dollars a year and has no discernible benefit to those very taxpayers who fund it with their hard-earned dollars. And there are hundreds, if not thousands of federal programs with similar budgets and records of failure that can be eliminated. It's time for the Republicants to show the kind of backbone they did in the Sequester battle in every battle to come. If they do, they can turn back the barbarians at the gate. If they don't, then the barbarians will pick clean the bones of the greatest nation to ever exist in the history of man.

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