Sequestration: What if it’s not a Disaster?

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Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Since it’s been almost two months since the last time our government fought over a controversial fiscal problem that if not solved, would bring civilization as we know it to a halt, it seems right to finally have a new fiscal meteor heading towards the Earth.

The sequestration cuts, the automatic cuts that may take affect on March 1st, are the latest fiscal disaster on deck. I’m kind of looking forward to the cable news networks coming up with the appropriate dramatic music and graphics for the event.

With both the President and Congress neither looking to compromise on the issue any time soon, it does look that we will have to learn to live in a post-apocalyptic America that will be the one that deals with life after the sequester.

We have heard elected leaders from the President all the way to mayors and governors warn us that life after the sequester cuts take place will resemble the breadlines Russia endured in the 1940’s. They may very well be right.

But what if they are wrong?

What if the automatic, across the board cuts can actually be endured without much problem? What if cutting a massive 5% from every government program that isn’t Social Security is simply handled by the public and actually makes us breathe a sigh of relief because we would be just that much closer to living within our collective means?

Most of the predications about the sequester cuts have revolved around that Americans will suffer so much indignity and inconvenience that they will want to punish elected officials. And most believe that Republicans will be the ones to feel the voters’ wrath.

However, I have a different take.

What if tightening our fiscal belt actually feels good? What if like a healthy diet or simple exercise program, it feels like the right thing to do? Thinking more about it, 5% cuts across the board should be noticeable, but just barely.

If your personal home budget for you and your family was cut by 5%, you would feel it, but you wouldn’t go straight to the food bank for dinner, would you? And with the economy being the way it has been lately, more likely than not, all of us have endured some sort of reduction of our revenue, either through increased costs or decreased value of our assets. And while not comfortable, we have had no choice but to adapt.

Has that adaptation made us weaker or stronger? I would venture to say that it has made us stronger.

If the sequester doesn’t freak us out, and actually passes by without causing havoc and mayhem, the political winners may actually be Republicans. I realize that is going against conventional wisdom, but it’s still possible.

It may be a stretch for Americans to actually embrace less government spending, but if the sequester cuts can pass by without disaster, we may understand that it is okay to be just a tad more fiscally responsible.

Then again, maybe post-apocalyptic America won’t be so bad.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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