It is March 2, and the country has fallen over one half of the original fiscal cliff, the dreaded sequester. Nearly 0 people have died in the event. There were three dominant news stories about the sequester this week:
1. The Democrats blame the Republicans.
2. The Republicans blame the Democrats.
3. Neither party even attempted to rescue us from our immediate peril.
Look at number 3. This week, there were no obvious attempts to make a deal between the two parties. There was no possibility of a last-minute solution. And that means that both parties do share some of the blame. It is, though, my speculation that an agreement had been reached a while ago, and that the sequester was part of the agreement.
No one likes to make cuts, because they always upset some group or another. What is to be done if cuts are necessary? Maybe force yourself into making an agreement with the other party by creating automatic cuts, and automatic tax increases. Now if a deal is made before the cuts happen and the taxes are raised, then that’s good, too.
But a deal could never be made, because even the act of proposing an idea to deal with entitlements has negative political impact. John Boehner has complained that Obama never put specifics on the table. Obama has stated something similar about Boehner. This whole dance over the last several months, or even years, has been a shuffle to try and make the other party be the one to even propose cuts or reforms to entitlements.
The result is a shabby, unintelligent method of reducing the deficit that may actually harm the economy more than it otherwise may have. That is all that we are capable of doing.
So what is the point of the blame game? A congresswoman said this week that the sequester would cost 750,000 jobs. She later had to walk that statement back. It will only cost 170,000 jobs, apparently. It’s all about politics, folks. It’s all about attacking the other side at this point. We are in a very deep partisan fever, and we need a cure, because we are having difficulty running the country.