"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,
"it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all."
--Through the Looking Glass
Join us tonight on THE MIDDLE GROUND as Eric Byler and Michael Charney discuss the sequester. On the one hand, I'm pretty sure you're all getting sick of this topic, but on the other hand, it’s just too damn important not to talk about!
Here are my thoughts, and please call in tonight: 646-929-2495 8pm EST, 5pm PST
It’s sequester time again, that often-visited period in recent history when 536 people have nothing better to do than sit around all day manufacturing a crisis we don’t need or want, and where the only thing we can be sure of is that the words they use will mean whatever they want them to mean.
So what exactly will happen, anyway, should this sequester actually occur? That depends, apparently, on whom you choose to believe. This article, "Sequestration Puts 2.14 Million Total Jobs at Risk,” promises that, according to Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor and Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the “results are bleak, but clear cut.”
“The unemployment rate will climb above 9 percent, pushing the economy toward recession and reducing projected growth in 2013 by two-thirds. An already weak economy will be undercut as the paychecks of thousands of workers across the economy will be affected from teachers, nurses, construction workers to key federal employees such as border patrol and FBI agents, food inspectors and others.”
So I guess we’re in big trouble, or so it would seem. Time to bear arms for the coming apocalypse. Unless, of course, things aren’t going to be that bad at all. This article, “5 Reasons Not to Worry About the Dreaded ‘Sequester’,” has a different view of the world:
"Is it a calamity? No,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who has advised Republican presidential campaigns and now serves as president of the American Action Forum. “It’s going to look more like the rounding error in GDP. I think there is a lot more noise than light being shed on the sequester.”
So who do we believe? $85 billion is a big number, but in perspective amounts to only 2.36% of the 2012 overall budget, and only 6.35% of the discretionary part of that budget. Hell, I get 10% off every Tuesday at the local supermarket just because I’m over 55; there’s got to be a way that government can shave off less than 3% and still keep things running.
(By the way: There is one article I find that seems rather even handed about things. Entitled “The Sequester: Absolutely everything you could possibly need to know, in one FAQ,” it’s more educational than anything else, a Faberge in the display case of fear and panic that most of the other stories use to egg us on…)
Tuesdays at 8PM EST on The Coffee Party USA Internet Radio Network