Fear not the sequester

Everyone is hearing about the sequester scheduled to take effect March 1. This is a plan, proposed by the president in 2011, to begin reducing our government’s deficit. However, now the president is launching a media blitz to say that the proposed cuts will be a disaster for the economy – gutting vital programs and services. He prefers to appear on TV rather than to actually work in Washington to recommend more reasonable cuts

What is the sequester really? It is a plan to automatically begin reducing the deficit across all discretionary spending (not entitlement programs). It is “automatic” because Congress could not agree on which programs should be cut – one person’s inefficient and wasteful program is often another’s sacred cow.

To put the costs in perspective, just since the president first took office, the deficit has exploded from $10.6 to $16.4 trillion. The sequester plans to trim only $1.2 trillion of that over a period of 10 years. This year’s proposed cut is just $85 billion, which will only reduce total government spending by less than half of one percent. For further perspective, the amount Congress allocated just for Hurricane Sandy relief is $59 billion.

It is inconceivable that a few billion dollars can’t be cut. In recent years we have all experienced far more severe belt tightening and have just been hit with increased payroll and income taxes. Congress needs to accept responsibility and take action to support spending cuts rather than debate why nothing should be cut.

Jean Sordillo

Litchfield