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February 21, 2013

Down to the wire AGAIN

Blaine R. Young

If you are like me, until recently you thought the word "sequester" described what judges do to juries in high profile criminal trials. Well, we have a whole new definition now. And, in my book, it just amounts to more horrifyingly bad governing in Washington.


It all started a couple of years ago when Congress and the president could not agree on a package of revenues and spending cuts to go along with yet another increase in our debt limit. So, in their infinite wisdom, they decided to schedule a round of massive (but not across-the-board) spending cuts that would kick in if no broader deal was reached. It wasn't so, and here we are.


It was thought at the time by the geniuses in Washington that the sequester would be so devastating to our economy that no president and congressmen and senators (especially newly elected ones) would ever sit idly by and allow it to occur. Wrong again.


Flash back to the first of this year. With the "fiscal cliff" looming, Republicans were in a bind. If nothing was done, every American faced a significant tax increase. So they made a deal by which taxes went up on some of us, but not all. The liberals cheered from the cheap seats.


Now, the shoe is on the other foot. This time, if nothing happens, the result will be budget cuts, not tax hikes. As bad as the cuts may be, and particularly in this region, Republicans seem willing to let the Democrats stew for a while even if it means sequester.


President Barack Obama and his liberal pals, still flush with their electoral success, don't seem to be taking the Republicans seriously. But I think they have miscalculated this time, and we may be in for a protracted game of chicken – with the nation and its citizens the loser.


When I was a child, in a situation such as this, Ronald Reagan would invite Tip O'Neill over to the White House and over bourbon and Irish whiskey and a story from the president, they would work out something for the good of the country. We don't have that kind of leadership anymore. And under our antiquated, broken two-party system, we probably never will again.


Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

Ronald Reagan


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