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Section A: General News


Editorial: From the president: The sky is falling — or maybe not?




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About politics and other things
March 6, 2013 | 1,458 views | Post a comment

While there has been a concerted effort by politicians in Washington to scare Americans into believing that the so-called sequester means the end of America as we know it, the sequester began on Friday, March 1.

It’s now three days later, the sun is still shining, birds are singing, and people are going about their daily routines. Of course, there may be disruptions in certain areas, but these could be avoided. However, because they serve a political purpose, the hype continues.

The Democratic National Committee has been issuing warnings, and the media obliges by repeating these warnings. Headlines have been filled with dire predictions, spurred on by the White House and Democratic leadership.

It is becoming more and more apparent that, when Obama proposed the sequester, he was banking on the Republicans caving because of across-the-board cuts to everything in the budget, including defense.

These cuts, however, are not cuts like you and I know when we cut our budgets. These are only cuts in the proposed amount of increase. One wonders how the country operates now, before any of these increases take effect. Or, as one Facebook friend posted: Since this 2 percent cut obviously covers all these essential government services, why not cut the other 98 percent? This is facetious, of course, but points out how ludicrous the hype is surrounding this budget process.

According to U.S. data compiled by Bloomberg, there are 238 airport traffic control towers slated to close. Why 238 airport traffic control towers would have to close if the budget is not increased, is not clear.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee continues its barrage of press releases, including one about “Local Newspapers Warn Of Looming Federal Budget Cuts; Communities across the country brace for the impact of the sequester.” Some of the headlines included in the press release were:

•“Sequester may have far-reaching impact,” from West Virginia Herald Dispatch.

•“Upstate braces for impact of cuts”: The Greenville News.

•“Park cuts could hurt Jackson”: The Jackson Hole Daily.

•“Army depot braces for furloughs”: Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

“The Unkindest Cuts” from the Mail Tribune may have best summed up the sequestration mess: “National parks, forests prepare to see services trimmed by budget battle ... Programs that serve children, elderly prepare for effects of sequestration.” Notice how it’s always “for the children,” and “to protect the seniors” when it comes to such political pandering.

Just to be clear, the Wilson County News did not escape becoming embroiled in the hype about the sequester. Our own front-page headline last week read: “Teetering on the edge of ‘fiscal cliff II’” and included comments by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Democrat from Texas District 28.

“Sequestration would mean 540,000 fewer doses of vaccines against diseases such as the flu, hepatitis, and measles,” wrote Cuellar, responding to a Wilson County News question. “Additionally, community health centers will serve 900,000 fewer patients ... .” He added that law enforcement, border security, and first responders would also be affected, again making the sequestration sound drastic.

Now that the sequester has begun to be implemented, and the sky appears not to be falling, the administration has somewhat softened its tone, explaining that it still “could happen.” Press releases in the last few days have revised statements about jobs “to be lost” and “services to be denied” to could be lost and could be denied.

The list of “horribles” has been tempered with language that warns of cuts that could be devastating, still trying to scare Americans about military defenses and essential services. All these things could happen, according to Obama’s new chief of staff, Denis McDonough, if the impasse drags on for months.

There seems to be a bit of wishful thinking in that last statement, knowing that the more dire the consequences, the easier it will be for the administration to blame Republicans for the whole mess.
 

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