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Both sides are to blame for sequester cuts

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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.

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 growth.

According to data from the U.S. Treasury Department for the week of Feb. 25,the $85 billion sequester equals 2.4 percent of the total $3.6 trillion U.S. budget. If you break down the $1.93 trillion debt added in the last year, the cost to days, hours, minutes, and seconds, it would equal $3.268 billion per day, or $136.19 million an hour, or $2.27 million per minute, or $37,829 per second. No matter how you look at it, that is an unfair burden for our children and grandchildren to bear.

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 to our children and grandchildren 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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