A Tumble Downward
Well, the sequester event, or whatever you want to call it, has come and gone. Now that didn’t seem so bad, did it? The stock market didn’t crash, the politicians didn’t yell as much as during the last supposed Fiscal Cliff crisis and gas is not yet 5 dollars a gallon. Your friends, neighbors and relatives in government jobs are still employed. Not much seems to have changed, actually. So why can’t we get out of this vehicle and walk away?
It seems we have not crashed but we are tumbling downward. When the bus went over the cliff, it had not built up enough speed so it is bouncing down the cliff and it may take months to actually hit bottom. In the meantime, we can listen to the left and the right side of the aisle telling us why the other side is to blame for going over the edge. Now that we are bouncing our way down to the canyon floor, it does not look like anyone is in the driver’s seat. Of course it does not matter if anyone is sitting up there. No one wanted to drive anyway.
Perhaps we will make a soft landing, you may think. We all pray for the best before the moment of doom, even while realizing the outcome of this accident is not going to be pleasant. It is certain we will be on life support soon, no thanks to the do nothing Congress, and the cuts, scrapes and broken bones might be the least of our worries. Automatic spending cuts will eventually eat into the amount doctors and hospitals will be reimbursed for those dependent on Medicare or other government programs. Of course, if you are a member of Congress you need not worry. Your excellent medical benefits means that someone will scoop you up like Humpty Dumpty and try to put you back together again. For all the Obamacare covered passengers, there are no worries, because yours is protected through tax credits and immune to the budget cuts demanded by those who did not want you to have coverage in the first place.
So what happens at the bottom? Who does not walk away from this disaster? If you think the impact will be minor, think again. We may be weeks or even months away from full impact but hundreds of thousands will be hurt by this stunt. A deadlocked and gridlocked crew of alleged representatives of the average person, think that many of us are neither entitled to jobs nor benefits. They have decided to treat the patient by cutting off his head to see if he lives. As we already know, that only works for Ted Williams.
An Associated Press article seen on a Comcast news page detailed the hundreds of thousands who would be hit, not just in the wallet, but also in their benefits and savings. Somehow this is supposed to make things better. Surprising are the Defense Department cuts. This is an area that usually wiggles free of the budget knife, but not this time. Since every department gets hit almost equally, Defense must make a staggering amount of cuts to meet its share. The Navy will let its prized USS Harry S Truman sit in dock as will USS Gettysburg. They will shut down air wings and delay deployments. They will force furloughs on an estimated 800,000 and lay off and cancel contracts affecting about 8,000 more. And if you were thinking you will see the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels at an air show this summer, think again.
While I don’t wish to scare you or anything like that, I have to tell you there will be even more casualties when this thing finally tumbles to a stop. The AP article lays out cuts back in these areas: Homeland Security (it is cheaper to release illegal immigrants than keep them in jail), Food Safety (who needs FDA inspectors anyway?), Health Care (hospitals and doctors have lots of cash, don’t they?), Transportation (what do you mean there is no one in the tower?), National Parks (go camp at Jellystone, Yellowstone is closed), Federal Workers (those furlough days only equal a 20 percent pay cut, what’s the problem?), Education (Head Start? Special Needs? We can eliminate over 21,000 teachers with out that stuff.), Congress (now we are making real cuts! No more military planes for foreign excursions), IRS (no lay-offs until after the tax season!), Labor (unemployment benefits will have to be cut.). When you consider all the people who will be unemployed in a few months, it stands to reason we can not keep paying out at the same rate. You better get direct deposit because it is certain your unemployment check will not arrive on a Saturday.
For some strange reason, laying off or eliminating jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, then paying them not to work, seems like a good idea to your well paid representatives. When all of those people cut back on spending on everything, maybe even some basic needs, then companies won’t need as many employees and they can lay off too. You may recall from a previous rant from the left side of this bus, it is not the rich who provide jobs, it is the middle class who buy stuff. Then if companies lay off, there are more unemployed and less buying and then even more companies will lay off and there will be less buying and… OK, you get the idea. Unfortunately Representative SoandSo and Senator Whatshisname don’t get it.
So why did they allow the bus to go over the cliff this time? They are counting on the impact being so gradual over time that perhaps no one will notice. Maybe they will actually walk away from this calamity without a scratch. After all, we re-elected most of them last November so they have reason to hope no will notice the hundreds of thousands of workers affected by the sequester. While the stock market is now finally back up to former success, let’s see where it is in a few months. I know you are hoping this is the last chapter of this sad saga, but just wait. The brain trust is working on Fiscal Cliff 3, The Debt Ceiling Disaster.
- How budget cuts could affect you (newsherald.com)
- How budget cuts could affect you (nbc12.com)
- How the federal cuts will affect you (wptv.com)
- How budget cuts could affect you (metronews.ca)
- How sequester cuts could affect you (koinlocal6.com)
- Blue Angels Fleet Week Festivities Could Crash Into Fiscal Cliff (sfist.com)