Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sequestration - A Hallmark Disaster

Those of you who regularly read these efforts in "Just Blowing Smoke" have heard me speak before about 'Hallmark Holidays'.  I won't go through the list of such days here, as it often varies on a personal basis.  They can all be easily recognized however by the fact that they are 'made up' holidays, use special cards (usually manufactured by KC's own Hallmark) for their occurrence, and often seem to carry a requirement to purchase flowers, jewelry, and/or automobiles for a loved in order to properly celebrate them.  (Many can also be recognized by ads in the newspaper which enable one to purchase tires or mattresses at reduced prices.) 

It occurred to me however, that lately we have become a nation of not only Hallmark Holidays, but of Hallmark Disasters; in spite of the fact that apparently the greeting card companies have shown a failure in their ability to keep up with the times.  It seems, for example, a shame that we have yet to see 'Debt Ceiling' cards, 'Kick the Budget Can Down the Road' cards, and with it being less than a week away ... 'Sequestration' cards.

Oh sure, each of these is purported to be a disaster rather than a day of celebration, but like their supposedly joyous counterparts, they are mostly made up and meaningless.  Let's look at their overall design:
  • Each is a disaster (like some of the holidays) has been created by the government with, the willing participation of the two political parties that have a strangle hold on it, under the guise of being for our benefit.
  • Each is a bi-partisan effort that the two sides of the aisle later blame on each other for occurring in the first place.
  • Each is debated about by politicians and media talking heads, while largely ignored by the public.
  • Each is one that both politicians and political parties change their positions on with each rising tide and wind direction change.
  • Each is billed as the equivalent of the End of Days, even after so many of them have come and gone without anything of significance happening as a result of their occurrence.  
As for this latest made-by-government misadventure, it might be the thinly disguied bit of BS yet.  After all, Sequester was supposed to be the latest answer to doing something other than 'Kick the Budget Can'.  Voters, it seems, were beginning to tire of yet another boring event in which only feet were used; and probably for many of the same reasons.  (The US doesn't appear to be very good at it, few in the stands really understand the rules and most found it too low scoring for attention span of the average voter ... or six year-old.)

The truth of the matter is that 'Sequestration' was a poor designed Doomsday at best, with even those attempting to stop the clock from ticking down losing interest.
  • The White House originally presented this budgetary Armageddon as a 'final solution' and now can't seem to even remember the 'Simpson-Bowles' report or the result of ignoring it.
  • Both parties voted for Sequestration as a last resort; yet as the deadline that they most feared approaches, both are so concerned over the ticking down of its doomsday clock that they .... take a vacation and leave town.
  • Both parties continue to call Sequestration budget 'cuts', in spite of the fact that even under its strictures, the government will spend more money this year than it did last year (which was more than the year before).
  • Democrats continue to successfully blame Republicans for a failure to avoid this supposed disaster in spite of the fact that a Republican-controlled House has voted twice to amend it and a Democratically-controlled Senate has failed to vote on anything even vaguely related to it.
  • Both Houses and Parties continue to ignore the simple solution of allowing the budget cuts of Sequestration to happen, but allowing the President or Departments heads involved to prioritize their own spending and cut accordingly rather than making across-the-board cuts.
  • Almost everyone involved with this form of budget resolution wants to talk about the horrible impact that it will have on the recovery of the economy and with unemployment, when in fact all that it will do is to provide a reduction of 2.4% of what's expected to be a budget of some $3.8 trillion.
  • Far too many would like you to believe that somehow the continuing problem of a $16 trillion debt that continues to grow because we're spending more money than we take in will go away if we just close some tax loopholes for individuals and corporations.  It won't!
  • With very rare exceptions indeed, no one at any level of government will tell you what will actually happen if Sequestration occurs, though they are more than willing to set up 'straw man arguments' that have nothing to do with the process.  (My person pet peeve however, was the President talking about police and firemen being laid off if it occurs when these people are paid out of municipal and state budgets and not the federal budget that Sequestration affects.)

Since there appears to be no way to get the Executive or Legislative Branches of government to pay serious or proper attention to the actual state of fiscal affairs in this country, I therefore propose that we attempt to get what growth in the GDP that we can from turning these mostly made-up disasters into the same type of opportunities that they've done with made-up holidays.  

Oh sure, it will take them a while to get up to speed on which ones are best suited (and which might even require 3-day weekends), that's no reason not to get the presses rolling.  If they can't doing anything about addressing the fiscal crisis in this country in any meaningful way, the least they can do is let us properly celebrate their ineptitude  Let's face it, with just a little effort on the part of greeting card companies acros the nation, I'm sure that some cards with catchy slogans could be produced before the next Debt Celing deadline occurs.  

Perhaps the morons in the national legislature could even offer some phony baloney Stimulus dollars to someone other than a green energy company that the Chinese will eventually want to purchase so that we can get a tire or mattress sale (or two) in place, and move these Hallmark Disasters into true national prominence. 


Judy said...

I got it, Phony-Baloney = nonsensical, which is what you are talking about in this latest entry! Good one Tim!!!!!

Roland Hansen said...

It is time (way past time, in fact) for another Constitutional Convention.