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The Sequester

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To The Editor:

The “Sequester,” across the board cuts that were originally scheduled to begin on January 2013, under provisions specified in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, will become effective Friday. The BCA was the final chance in a series of proposals for our government leaders to come to an agreement on resolving Americas’ debt crisis. Unfortunately, the President and Congress are unable to resolve their differences and have resorted to playing the blame game.

Both parties need to share the blame. According to Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Bob Woodward, reporter for the Washington Post, the President recommended the sequester back in August 2011. However, a majority of Republicans voted for the BCA, which included the sequester, and the President signed the bill. If the President and Congress had done their jobs instead of playing politics, the country would be on a path toward fiscal solvency instead of another fiscal crisis.

Today, the President is trying to put pressure on the Republicans to stop the sequester from happening by claiming that cutting the growth in the rate of government spending will lead to disaster. I wish the President and Congress had enough respect for the intelligence of the people they represent to be honest about our fiscal state of affairs. The American public recognizes the simple truth that the federal government spends more money than it takes in and we are all going to have to sacrifice a little now in order to save and protect the future for our children and grandchildren.

The terms of the sequester will cut about $85 billion from discretionary spending over the next seven months, but no programs are actually eliminated. The effect is to reduce the scale and scope of existing programs rather than eliminate them. Real drivers of our debt such as Social Security and Medicaid will not be cut. According to the Congressional Budget Office, government spending will still increase each year over the next four years. What we are really talking about is cutting the future rate of government spending.

Though not ideal, we need to take this first step toward fiscal sanity and let the sequester happen. It is extremely unfair to our children and grandchildren to burden them with this enormous debt. It is unfair to our children and grandchildren to ignore the solvency issues of programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

It is unfair for either political party or the President to waste precious time grandstanding. The President and Congress must work together to put our country on a path to fiscal stability.

Nancy W. Foster

Louisville

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