It is a shame that Washington politics have descended into a blame game about who is responsible for the sequester. Or maybe that’s the whole point. It seems to me that blame has been elevated to high art by some out national leaders. So let’s be absolutely clear: The angry accusations that Republicans are at fault for letting sequestration happen are misleading on three levels.
1. Is sequestration a big deal economically? That is an open question – insert chapter and verse about the failure of Keynesian stimulus, notably the 1946 doomsday scenario that never occurred when defense spigots were turned off – but also moot.
2. The Senate has been sitting on its hands for pretty much the entire Obama administration. How many YEARS have elapsed since it passed a budget? The notion that sequestration is central to this long drama is the hobgoblin of short attention spans. Sequestration is the latest paragraph in a long book, thematically consistent with but largely irrelevant to the plot.
3. What we are witnessing is not an economic crisis but something simpler. Political dysfunction. It’s not that Washington is broken, per se. The city is operating exactly as (re)designed, like an airplane without wings. So who designed our politics this way? That’s the mystery.
This post was inspired by some good ABC reporting today:
House Speaker John Boehner used some choice words to pressure Senate Democrats to avert the looming sequester — $85 billion of arbitrary across-the-board cuts — insisting that “the House has done its job” and the burden to offer an alternative before the cuts strike Friday is on the president’s party.
“We have moved the bill in the House twice,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their asses and begins to do something.”
House Republicans voted twice during the 112th Congress to narrowly pass legislation to offset sequestration with alternative savings, but those measures languished in the Senate and expired with the end of the session.