The age-old game of blaming the other guy is in full swing in Washington as the nation lurches toward its latest fiscal crisis.
Republicans say Democrats are at fault for failing to come with sufficient spending cuts to avoid the sequestering of funds set to commence this coming Friday. Democrats blame Republicans for not seeking sufficient revenue to produce a “balanced” approach to reducing the budget deficit.
The New York Times today published a story that establishes this clear fact: Both sides should share equally in the blame.
But let’s also stipulate that sequestration is a very bad thing for the nation’s economic health.
Why are the two sides unwilling to reach a deal? Is it pride? Loathing of the other side? Fear of what their respective party bases will do to them if they compromise too much? All of these things – or something I cannot even yet fathom?
Here’s what I understand will happen. The cuts will kick in equally on all government agencies, except for Social Security and Medicare. That means defense spending will suffer. Transportation cuts will mean reductions in air traffic control staff. Local agencies that depend on federal money to pay for first responders – police and firefighters – will see their resources cut. Our federal parks will have to reduce their hours, meaning will deny Little Johnny and Little Suzie their fun.
And oh yes. A lot of people, estimated at something like 750,000, will lose their jobs.
How is that a good thing for the economy?
And yet … there actually are people who think sequestration won’t hurt so much. The pain will be fleeting at worst. A lot of that righteousness is coming from the tea party types who believe they were elected to cut spending – no matter the consequence.
I am not so serene. Being a good-government kind of guy, my hope is that congressional Republicans can find a way to bend just a bit on their resistance to tax increases on rich folks and that Democrats in the White House – starting with President Obama – can look a little more carefully for places to actually reduce spending.
Never mind the blame game. Pointing fingers at the other guy solves nothing.