Friday, March 1, 2013

The Great Sequester

Sequester: Isolate or hide away (someone or something): "the artist sequestered himself in his studio for two years".  (Dictionary.com)

Sequestration:
(Wikipedia)

I repost some political things, from time to time, on social media.  And I usually try to share my thoughts and insights around election time.  Other than those, I usually avoid talking about politics.  But we’ve found ourselves in a government created disaster that needs some discussion.  So, here we go.

I’ll admit that I’m less effected than many, but I live in a state that’s deeply effected by the impending federal job cuts, as well as lots of industry that will see related job cuts.  All of which should and could have been avoided.

The goal is a balanced budget, while still allowing our economy to recover.  I recall many suggesting that the election of President Obama was the great hope for our country.  The economy would be in great shape when he got into office.  That really happened, didn’t it?  Instead we went into a full recession.  And, eventually, it wasn’t “I’m having a hard time fixing this.” that came out of the White House, it was “This is the previous administration’s fault.”.  That should have been a clue, right there – more time playing the blame game than actually solving the problem.

The White House isn’t the only source of the problem.  Look at congress.  Both parties were saying the inability to compromise was the other party’s fault.  Nope.  That’s wrong.  When neither side will budge, both have to take part of the blame.  There’s a real clue to this one, too.  Almost to a man, the statements were that they couldn’t compromise the values and platform that got them elected.  I’m not a gambler, but I’d be willing to bet that I’m far from alone in having voted for those I thought would solve our problems, not ignore them.  Forget platform, get it done!!!

Toward the end of last year, the economy actually started improving, despite congress voting itself a pay raise while the rest of us were still looking for jobs that their poor management lost us.  If I were working for someone and did such a poor job of what I was hired for, I’d be fired instead of being given a raise.  Yet there was hardly a peep out of the populace (the President’s and congress’s bosses) about why they could give themselves a raise for incompetency.

As we headed toward last year’s elections, President Obama campaigned on the fact that the economy still wasn’t stable and more needed to be done.  That’s for sure.  But what about the promise that it would be all solved by that election.  Suddenly his supporters and he went from saying he was the great hope to solve it by then, to saying he needs more time, but he’s still the great hope.  And Mr. Obama was elected, again, to complete the job he promised would already be completed.  Do we hire and pay contractors on that basis?  Or do we seek someone who can do the job?

In the meantime, some of the congressional elections changed the balance a little in congress.  But neither the winners nor the losers seemed to figure out that it still wasn’t platform, but incompetence that caused the changes.  And the electorate seems to be finding out the hard way that we’ve merely changed one person’s inability to act for someone else’s inability to act.

So, we have the elections over and done with, a seeming tip in congressional balance toward those who could actually discuss solutions to the fiscal crisis with the president.  No such luck.  After all these hard fought nonvictories, everybody needed a vacation.  So, with a budget crisis looming, congress went home for the holidays.  And the president took his family on a four million dollar plus holiday vacation.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that protecting the President and his family is expensive – they need to be guarded, who prepares the food and where it comes from require costly care, his transportation needs to be both secure and have the proper communications gear available for running the country.  I get it.  What I don’t get is why, when the country needs budget cuts, the Obama Christmas couldn’t have been enjoyed just as well without leaving the White House.

Fast forward to February 2013.  The President has kept out of the negotiations.  Is that to give congress room to negotiate or is it to give himself someone else to blame for the problem?  Isn’t inaction as bad as wrong action?  And all of congress decides to go home, leaving only days before the Sequester deadline to hammer out a deal.That certainly shows an interest in the good of the country.  What in H-E-double hockey sticks was anyone responsible for this mess thinking!!!

I have a suggested program toward fixing all the issues, as follows:
  1. Sequester (as in sequestering a jury) the President and all of congress together to work this out.
  2. During the first week of this conclave, we the people sequester their paychecks as the first budget cuts, to continue till the problem is solved.
  3. If that isn’t sufficient to get action on solving the problem, the second week would eliminate pay to all White House, presidential, and congressional staff until the fiscal dilemma is eliminated.
  4. If that (including pressure on the president and congress by their staffs to get their paychecks back) didn’t get action, the third week should be spent preparing special elections to replace all of them with people who will spend their time doing something instead of pointing fingers. 
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen of both houses of congress, the American public wants solutions, not the blame game.  Bipartisan action instead of name calling.  As I post this, there’s just under nine hours before sequester kicks in.  Fix the problem!!!

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