Fri. Nov 15th, 2019

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Sequester questions remain unanswered

3 min read
A proverbial gun is set to go off; one that will cause chaos and mayhem all over the U.S. Or, it may actually only be a squirt gun that gets us all a little wet. When it comes to the upcoming sequester, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what is really going to happen.

graphicBy JAMES LLOYD
By JAMES LLOYD

A proverbial gun is set to go off; one that will cause chaos and mayhem all over the U.S. Or, it may actually only be a squirt gun that gets us all a little wet. When it comes to the upcoming sequester, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what is really going to happen.

The “sequester” is a widespread set of cuts in funding for many federally backed programs, set to kick in on March 1. The list of targets includes, but is not limited to, education, law enforcement, public safety, airport security and the military.

Personally, while I am sure any pay cuts and lay offs that result will hurt individuals, the country, as a whole, will probably not suffer much from these cuts.

Both parties have their opinions on the matter, but the behavior of our elected officials makes it appear as if neither party really seems that worried.

Democrats act like this will be the end of the world, trying to, as the Washington Post put it, “paint pictures” of travel delays and lay-offs for cops, teachers and fire fighters, among other terrible outcomes. The only problem is that their actions discredit their words. They are still relaxed enough to take a President’s Day vacation less than two weeks before the March 1 deadline.

If they are so worried about cuts, then why are federal employees, including Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, getting a pay raise effective March 27, as reported in the Huffington Post. It almost seems as if democrats want these cuts to devastate us, or at least terrify us, but to what end? Do they think it will make us more willing to pay higher taxes?

Republicans, on the other hand, seem quite certain that the sequester will not be that bad. They give off the impression that, should the effects be minimal, that the long-term reduction in the overall size of the federal government would be a step in a positive direction.

Additionally, lobby groups, like the American Hospital Association and the defense industry, are only focused on their own agenda, fighting the parts of the sequester that affect them. No one seems to be truly fighting the sequestering as a whole.

My question on the matter is, with all the government waste and excessive pay, bonuses and benefits that politicians and other high-ranking government officials get, are education and public safety the places cuts need to come from?

Wouldn’t the pay of high-ranking government officials be a better place to start cutting? If you consider the fact that a senator makes around four times that of the average American, it seems like a decent place to cut the fat. Furthermore, as reported in an article by the New York Times, the average net worth of members of the senate is around $14 million, and for members of the house, it is around $4.6 million. Do you think these people really need to make $174,000 a year while the average citizen makes an average of $43,000?

So the question remains: is this sequester really going to be that bad, or is it just some scare tactics from a political structure that doesn’t want to do its job or politicians that don’t want to lose their conveniences? Is it really going to hurt Americans, or are politicians just so certain that it won’t affect them that they just don’t actually care?

I think that the sequester could really hurt certain individual citizens, but, as for how the policy on its own will affect the country, I don’t think it will be that bad. With that being said, if the backlash from the sequester hits the economy too close to the backlash of other Obama policies, such as the healthcare hour cutbacks and the raising of minimum wage, then we may see the catastrophe that Obama and other Democrats are screaming about.

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