Staff editorial: Fiscal cliff 2.0, the sequester
No one really understands what the sequester will do, much less what it is. However, most Americans know that if we do not get our financial house in order, things will get worse.
President Barack Obama said during a surprise press conference Friday that the voice of common sense needs to be heard.
Two months ago, Congress compromised on the fiscal cliff, raising taxes on the rich and kicking spending cuts down the road to March 1.
Friday, the sequester cuts, which are projected to total $1.2 trillion, were evenly split between defense spending — such as weapons purchases, military operations and airport security — and discretionary domestic spending, Medicare specifically,according to a Pew analysis of the Congressional Budget Office data.
"It's happening because of a choice Republicans in Congress have made," Obama said during the press conference. "They've allowed these cuts to happen, because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit." It is unclear exactly how bad the cuts are going to be, or if they can be changed. However, many will not link the budget cuts to their lives until they actually experience them.
Of the potentially less personal experiences, these cuts will mean more time wasted in line at the Los Angeles International Airport. The Santa Monica Airport control tower, which handled about 370 operations a day last year, is one of 100 targeted for closure because of the sequester — meaning an overworked LAX control tower.
"We just need Republicans in Congress to catch up with their own party and the country on this," Obama said during the press conference.
More Americans blamed the Republicans in Congress more for the difficulty in reaching a budget agreement, even though both sides were urged to compromise, according to a Gallup survey.
However, like little brats, politicians pointed their fingers at the other party. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans blamed the president and Democrats in Congress, while 72 percent of Democrats blamed the Republicans in Congress, according to a CBS News poll. But it really does not matter who is right, or who is to blame. Congress needs to put aside their knock-down, drag-out bickering for the better of the country.