‘Sequester reflects Washington’s ugly political deadlock’

The deadlock between the Republicans and the Democrats in the USCongress makes any kind of last-minute deal to avoid the sequesternearly impossible. Starting on March 1, the austerity program willcut $85 billion from the country’s budget by the end of the fiscalyear on September 30.“The sequester is, in and of itself, clearly an inefficientmethod for tackling deficit growth, existing instead a reflectionof the absolute and ugly political deadlock seizing DC,”Bogenrief said. “Perhaps most incisively, the (threat of the)sequester signals how absolutely unwilling Republicans are totackle the tax side of the cutting spending and increase tax, whichequals the decreased deficit part of the equation.”“Instead, most members of the GOP publicly fighting the Presidenthave already skipped ahead to thinking about the 2014 midterms,when they’ll be held to task for seeming to be ‘soft’ on Obama andthe Democrats’ (and, really, reality’s) assertions that taxes mustbe play a role in the compromise,” she continued.“Instead, those up for re-election are concerned that, shouldthey compromise, even more extreme potential electoral candidateswill emerge post-sequester debate, claiming the incumbents went‘soft,’ ergo winning the votes of the traditionallymore-conservative mid-term electorate watching these proceedingsclosely.  Obama, in turn, appears willing to wait out thedetractors, after having scored a resounding win lastNovember,” she concluded.Bogenrief believes that Washington will eventually come to aconsensus, but not any time soon.“Wait until April 15, the deadline for Congress to act, lest itsmembers wish to forfeit receiving taxpayer-funded paychecks,”she explainedThe budget cuts will be equally divided between defense andnon-defense, with education, public transport and social servicesto be affected.“The cuts that are set to hit March 1 will, inevitably as in allthings political and financial, hit the poor and disenfranchised,while avoiding the deficit’s biggest drivers,” Bogenrief said.“While $42.7 billion of the total $85 billion of cuts hitsdiscretionary defense spending (a mere decimal point in the UnitedStates military industrial complex, which is currently paying downhundreds of billions of dollars in interest incurred on debt usedto fund previous wars), the remaining $42.3 billion of cuts diginto discretionary nondefense spending, Medicare, and othermandatory spending.” “Even more relevantly, a significant portion of these cuts(including those in defense) are set to hit specific geographicalareas dependent on both the defense department for employment andother government and social programs, thereby making a consensuseven more difficult for lawmakers focused on serving only theirdistricts (after all, why would a Congressperson from Nevada tacklea politically contentious issue or fight to score a win for theconstituents of Alabama?),” she said.“Eventually, the United States must learn, no matter howpainfully, that to spend much revenue, much revenue must be takenin.  And there are only so many social programs and schoolsand communities that can take a hit until the larger (taxation)problems are forced to the forefront and, hopefully,addressed,” she added.The current crisis stems from a 2011 clash over raising the debtceiling , during which time US lawmakers agreed that automatic cutscould take effect if Republicans and Democrats failed to come toterms on a tax and spending package.

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‘Sequester reflects Washington’s ugly political deadlock’

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