Sequester is so last week as we lurch toward the next fiscal cliff
Armageddon Plus 5, the end of the world as we know it, right? As fired former Fox News analyst Sarah Palin might have put it if she still had a platform to speak from, “How’s this whole sequestery thing workin’ out for ya?”
It must be hell, I worried, as I picked up Monday morning’s Daily Sentinel. There’d be front-page stories confirming all sorts of evil consequences and an editorial and columns further analyzing all the local, state and national disasters under way and pending. Internet news sources would be alive with coverage and analysis. Congress and President Obama would be bleary-eyed from late-night, weekend work sessions aimed at solving the problem.
Nary an article in Monday’s Sentinel that even mentioned the dreaded sequester. Heck, not only were there no columns or editorial comments, there isn’t even an editorial page on Mondays.
After weeks of warnings, there were only a few residual whimpers on the Sunday television news programs. Congress was so concerned that members took their normal long Friday-Monday weekend off.
Perhaps the Mayans are in charge, blowing yet another doomsday prediction? Or maybe we’ve witnessed still another example of the old truism that the intensity of the argument is often inversely proportional to the importance of the topic.
If it’s true that the roughly 2 percent federal spending cutback due to the sequester is about the same loss in spending power most of us experienced in our individual budgets because of the last round of tax-law changes, perhaps it’s the latter.
If so, our 32nd president, the one who shepherded the country through some minor previous economic inconveniences, may have been right. “I am neither bitter or cynical,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking.”
One example of the “immaturity” FDR might bemoan if he were still around today, one that happened to hit my Bresnan inbox over the weekend, came as our own congressman weighed in on the “crisis.”
Scott Tipton, being a good GOP soldier, couldn’t resist an opening dig at “the president’s sequester,” repeating an oft-used Republican talking point. It’s one that conveniently ignores the fact that a majority of GOP lawmakers voted for the sequester in 2011 and that Republican leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, declared the vote a victory back then.
Not that “immaturity” is limited to the folks on the right side of the aisle.
If you didn’t catch “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, check out the opening sketch, a takeoff on Obama’s recent forays around the country, on the Internet. Actor-comedian Jay Pharoah mimics Obama’s now-familiar podium talk, backed by a bunch of folks supposedly soon to be out of a job.
My personal favorite is the supposed air traffic controller bemoaning having to watch a Doritos commercial before checking out flight patterns on her radar screen.
A close second is the sailor, cop, construction worker and Native American, reminiscent of the Village People, forming the letters to Y-M-C-A beside the ersatz president.
Only the most partisan among us could fail to see the absurdity of Tipton ignoring past GOP support for the sequester or of the president jetting around the country attempting to scare us into kicking one through the uprights of his mobile financial goalposts.
But not to worry, kiddos. The sequester is now apparently yesterday’s news, here in The Daily Sentinel and elsewhere. We’re now lurching toward the next self-inflicted crisis, the newest fiscal cliff. And that calamitous event is less than a month away.
The Air Force One itinerary between now and the end of March will reflect the supposedly-looming federal government shutdown on March 27. We’ll probably be hearing lots about that from Tipton and other members of our congressional delegation, some presumably more interested in assigning blame or assuming credit than in resolving the issue. And some of those comments are, unfortunately, very predictable.
“If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” — Henry Louis Mencken .