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OP-ED: Sequestration and the average person
March 09, 2013, 05:00 AM The Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

To hear President Barack Obama tell it, we should begin feeling something like the apocalypse.

Sorry, Mr. President, but most of us have already shrugged our shoulders. We have become so accustomed to near-misses, last-minute deals and cans being kicked down the road that we don't get very excited anymore.

You say the rest rooms won't work at Acadia, some federal workers will work four days rather than five and an aircraft carrier is stuck in Norfolk?

Yeah, whatever.

The federal sequestration that went into effect March 1 cuts $85 billion from this year's $3.6 trillion budget, or about 2.3 percent.

But it is very difficult for the average person to determine what that means, and politicians aren't making it any easier.

Obama has been barnstorming the country predicting that the "brutal" cuts will "eviscerate" government programs.

Republicans, meanwhile, point out that federal spending has increased 17 percent since the president first took office and even after the cuts the government will spend more than it did the year before.

Indeed, these cuts will only slow the growth of the federal debt, not reduce it.

The biggest problem with sequestration isn't what it does, but what it fails to do: restructure entitlements and taxes.

Ultimately, the Democratic administration will try to make the sequestration cuts as painful and obvious to the public as possible.

Republicans, meanwhile, will minimize the impact and blame Democrats for any dislocations that result.

The rest of us, weary of lurching from one disaster to another, will watch with resignation and disdain as our broken Congress continues to flounder.


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