Sequester this

By Matt Hose

Some things in this world are quite simply disgusting.

One of those things is sushi. If I am going to eat any kind of meat, it needs to be cooked. I have an inherent distrust for any sort of raw meat, and I refuse to have any tapeworms setting up shop in my intestines.

Another is Taylor Swift. If I have to listen to her sing one more song about her issues with boyfriends and how difficult her life is dating a Kennedy, I will probably pull my hair out.
The last and probably most disgusting thing of all is the United States Congress.

I know, I’m going out on a limb in saying that Congress is as gross as Taylor Swift and sushi. Those are two tough contenders. But bear with me: Congress has allowed to pass one of the most vile occurrences in modern history, the sequester.

Imagine Taylor Swift singing about the sequester. I imagine it would sound something like, “We are never ever ever, getting past sequester!” It sounds worse than two pieces of styrofoam rubbing together.
Or imagine on the menu of your favorite sushi restaurant, right next to the California rolls, you see “sequester tempura.” I think I would choke just from the sound of the words.

It’s not just the word “sequester” that sounds like nails across a chalkboard, or like that friend you have who thinks he can play guitar. The idea behind the sequester is just as putrid as the sound of the word.

People bring up the sequester in discussions on the news as if it is something that has existed since the dawn of time. They mention it like it was something that the Founding Fathers planned for when they were writing the Constitution, and that there is some hidden clause within that document that will solve all of the problems that the sequester has created.

They don’t talk about the sequester as it really is: an invention by the recent Congress of the United States to put a cover over their own inadequacies.

Essentially, the sequester originated when Congress could not agree on a budget for the 2013 fiscal year. The sequester was supposed to be a set of budget cuts so unthinkable that it would force the two sides of Congress to come together in order to avoid it.

Clearly, that is not what happened.

As of March 1, Congress was in gridlock, the deadline passed and the sequester cuts went into effect. Not surprisingly, the people most affected by it turn out to be the neediest in the country. According to The Washington Post, programs for the homeless and for nutrition for women and children will both see cuts if the sequester spending cuts go through. Wall Street investors, on the other hand, will not feel a dime leave their pockets.

The sequester also prevents about 750,000 jobs from being created across the country, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which compared the sequester to a return to the recession of 2009.
“Between mid-2009 and mid-2012, a real drop in purchases of goods and services by state and local governments—along with a decline in federal purchases of goods and services after they had peaked in 2010—was a significant factor slowing the economic recovery,” the CBO website said.

As the sequester takes effect and companies become more reluctant to hire employees, the country becomes less inclined to buy, and the economic recovery slows to a slug’s pace.

The CBO, which is a non-partisan organization providing economic data to Congress, said that the sequester would weaken the economy in the long term.

Is that not the point at which congressmen can reach across the aisle and come to an agreement with each other? Can they not avoid a problem that everyone can agree is much worse than whatever compromise they could make?

Compromise is essentially what established our country when our Founding Fathers got together in Philadelphia. In the wake of the failure of the Articles of Confederation, for over three months they bitterly argued over the way the country should be run. What they came up with was the Constitution of the United States, which would become one of the great compromises of all time. Can we not carry on the spirit of compromise? Can we not get anything done? Or is our country doomed to gridlock and vileness?