It’s every American’s worst nightmare, right? A divided Congress can’t get its work done and pass a cohesive budget. President Barack Obama, fresh off averting the so-called “fiscal cliff” just a few weeks back, is already throwing in the towel saying that he can’t do anything about what is happening now because of those, you guessed, gosh darn Republicans. And of course, the Republican leaders will happily tell you how they would love to meet in the middle if those gosh darned Democrats would just lighten up and be more open to compromise. Now the fear campaign is fully underway; Obama has spent most of the last week trying to convince the average American that if no deal is reached by midnight on March 1, 2013, this magical new term, sequestration, will begin, and you and every American you know will never be the same.
Before you start sweating profusely and tie a noose around your neck, let’s take a look at what this all really means. What is sequestration? Well, the dictionary has its own definition that you can look up on your own time if you wish to expand your English vocabulary, but in Washington-speak, it’s nothing more than another meaningless word meant to confuse you into believing a whole bunch of lies, the biggest being that you have a choice in the matter or that one side or the other is to blame for it. Like a skillful magician, while you are focused on this latest fear campaign, the real gears are turning behind the scenes.
The crux of the matter is that if Congress doesn’t do what it gets paid to do, compromise with each other and come up with a comprehensive budget for the national government by midnight tonight, all hell breaks lose. Long prepared spending cuts, the sequestration (not to be confused with that Olympic sport where the horses jump over barricades) will go into effect, and systematically, jobs will be lost, the military will be dismantled, and America will lay a barren wasteland. All over a measly $85 billion. Or is it $44 billion? You see, they can’t even agree on the numbers of the spending cuts that are supposedly automatic if Congress doesn’t burn the midnight oil on this one. And they don’t miss it by thousands of dollars, or even millions. How can you not be able to estimate anything within ten billion dollars? And yet, we have a whopping forty billion dollar range that means absolutely nothing to the average American except that it is an unfathomable amount of money.
To add fuel to the fire, we are already hearing the typical government shutdown talk for next month. National parks will close. People will be laid off and sent home. The national government will be on lockdown. And what is the supposed issue that is keeping the sides from stopping all this death and destruction? They can’t agree on how to handle the deficit. Or is it the debt? You can read various news articles and they use the term almost interchangeably. In fact, they are two very different things. Even that is a big disinformation campaign. The more useless terms we throw out there with no real definition, the more confused the American people can become.
If this were really about the deficit or the national debt, what is the problem with the spending cuts? They are talking about a maximum of $85 billion. That’s an ungodly amount of money. Now take that and divide it into the $16 trillion national debt (so far). Hmm…as much as that first number is, when put in the shadow of the big brother, the national debt, you see that all this haggling and grandstanding has to do with nothing at all.
It’s the equivalent of you having a $300,000 30-year mortgage. You get together with your wife and kids and say, to handle this mortgage, we are gonna have to make some serious cuts around here. So, to make this work, we’re gonna agree to cancel our subscription to TV Guide. Okay, now the problem is solved. Let’s all get together, pose for photographs, and then we can have another meeting about how we all need raises on our allowances.
The doomsday scenarios that the mainstream media is throwing around might be true. They might not. Chances are, your kids will probably still have class at their school on Monday morning, regardless of the sequestration. It’s unlikely that a foreign nation will invade our lands and take over because the military had a spending cut. And don’t worry about the welfare nation. Rest assured their checks will arrive right on time.
Will someone be affected? Absolutely. But it is way more likely that this is just another example of fear mongering and making us all freak out that the enormous breast of the United States government might have run out of milk. What will we do? But then, just in the nick of time, they will swoop in and save us. In the meantime, the two-party system gives everyone someone to blame. Republicans can blame Obama. Democrats can blame the Republicans. And we can all walk around, pat each other on the shoulder, and say, “Oh, it would’ve been different if Romney had just pulled this thing out.”
Nothing’s different. Not now, not ever. Because there is only one political party in the United States of America, and those that have woken up from the mainstream media haze know what party that is. Don’t believe the hype. Or the bullshit. And don’t be surprised if the whole world keeps right on turning in the morning.