Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sequestration - Cutting Our Nose to Spite Our Face

If sequestration, the latest buzzword in politics, sounds like a mouthful, do not be intimidated.  It could really mean "mouthless" -- belt tightening measures that would literally and figuratively put less in our mouths. Now you have cause for alarm.

"Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts—called the sequester—will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform," according to the White House's National Economic Council.

Hawaii, for example, will lose approximately $4.7 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 60 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 9,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 20 fewer schools would receive funding.

Some $1.3 million will be lost in  environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Hawaii could lose another $359,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Approximately 20,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $134.1 million in total. Army base operation funding would be cut by about $106 million and that for Air Force operations, by about $15 million.

There are more cuts that would affect  children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

Our confused and confusing senators and representatives in Congress want the deficit reduced. But instead of plugging loopholes in taxes for the rich and  thereby raise more revenues, they instead want to reduce expenditures for services that we should be getting. 

We're barely out of recession. Many in business are still reeling from the economic crunch. Would-be investors that will provide employment and stimulate economic growth  have been burnt from the effects of the recent mortgage debacle and are not doing business until they are sure that the economy will stay strong. Public spending must fill in where private investment is weak.

We've been there before.

The economic situation was worse during the term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). Many saw suffering during The Great Depression. The economy turned around due to FDR's spending policy, as called for by his New Deal.

"The New Deal increased U.S. GDP and resulted in a substantial decrease in U.S. unemployment, both during its initial phase (1933-37) and after FDR turned back 1937-38 Republican pressure to balance the budget (1939-41). The fiscal stimulus provided by the New Deal worked," according to Joseph  Lazzaro, financial editor of Daily Finance.

Deficit spending is a double-edged sword that is uncalled for during times of boom and boon and dangerous during times lean and mean. such as that we're now in.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt must be turning in his grave as our representatives in Congress cuts our nose to spite our face. The least our esteemed politicians can do is to plug those loopholes for the rich.

 God help America!
The 113th Congress - Source:
- Ariel Murphy


  1. Very good summary - I've been getting all the briefings on my cell phone and follow this daily - I did away with TV news at it has become as divided as the legislature. I have almost finished the book Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, and being a new resident of the Islands, found it extremely interesting that over a 100 years ago, the drama of politics played out almost exactly the same with the rich and powerful taking control under the guise of Christian moral behaviour and Manifest Destiny with the ultimate overthrow of Queen Lili'u. Just my personal thoughts. Good Job, Ariel Murphy!

    1. History keeps repeating itself yet we never learn. Not many probably remember that when FDR took over from Hoover, the economy was in shambles. FDR made good use of deficit spending, despite the opposition of some of his fellow politicians, to turn the conomy around from The Great Depression. We're much like in the same situation today.

      Did you borrow The Lost Kingdom from the library? I want to read it too. Don't forget to read James Michener's Hawaii. The story is very close to Hawaii's history, starting from when the first Polynesians sailed over.

      I appreciate your compliment Peter. Mahalo!