Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuning Out – American’s Aren’t Buying Sequestration - "Crisis Solved" Too Many Times - with Too Many Crisis'

Graph depicting the effect of “Sequestration” – image from Viking Pundit: Read article date 2 23 13 entitled: “Planes full of released prisoners will be falling from the sky!” (sarcasm) and the chart title “Behold the Horrors of Sequestration”.

In 2008 the first “Sky is Falling” crisis emerged from Washington, in a long list of crises that have been generated since – all economic and all based upon the battle between a skyrocketing U.S. debt, and budget reductions versus tax increases. The latest in this series “crises’” is “Sequestration” simply put is a miniscule proposed reduction in the budget, passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2011. What this entailed was a reduction in budget spending for both defense and discretionary funding, not a cut to existing budgets. According to the Huffington Post, the general public, simply either does not care, does not know, or does not believe there is a crisis at all – the general assumption, after so many “Democrats vs. Republicans in the battle of good and evil, is that they will all (White House, Congress and the Senate) come to a “deal” in the nick of time.

What the Huffington Post article does acknowledge is some of the “fine print” regarding how the “sequestration” might affect the workforce:
Federal workers would be notified next week that they will have to take up to a day every week off without pay, but the furloughs won't start for a month due to notification requirements.
(Huffington Post)

It is also an opportunity for politicians to highlight the “us versus them” of Party partisanship - For example the Springfield, MA Republican offers this gem: ”Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey to speak at anti-sequestration rally” regarding three high profile MA Democrats, one recently elected to the Senate and two Congressmen who are vying for the Senate Seat vacated by John Kerry and their attendance at a rally to oppose the problems “Congress” caused, by wanting to “cut” the budget. The Republican, unlike the Huffington Post, fails to mention that Sequestration is a bill that was signed into law by the White House – go figure. More interesting is the comments section (see link above), that apparently does not coincide with the general gist of the article – those commenting appear to cheer on the cuts, rather than oppose them – or understand that these are not cuts at all, rather a reduction in the present budget.

Herein lays the real problem, since the general public is either weary (Huffington Post), or just plain sick and tired of the shenanigans in D.C. by all parties concerned, should a genuine crisis occur, the Fed’s and the Media may find no one is going to pay attention.

Apparently, Rahm Emanuel’s assertion, prior to becoming President Elect Obama’s Chief of Staff in 1988,that ““Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” (Mr. Emanuel said in an interview on Sunday. ) “They are opportunities to do big things.” (NY Times Article: Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy”) appears to either have backfired, having been used multiple times, over and over again. (Or there’s something afoot and a new batch of “Executive Orders will be announced next week.)

Either way, few American’s will either know or care, and the mighty in D.C. having become more insulated with a News Media that continues to lose audiences, either out of disgust by those who feel all media is “state run” or those whose apathy to the news in general, see a rise in popularity for reality television, or anything other than the evening news. Gone are the days when “60 Minutes” was the “must see show” on Sunday nights for the majority of the nation. There are the “news junkies” those who read, eat and sleep media, but they are far outweighed by those who could just care less.

Perhaps both political parties, and the White House, should offer up a version of the drama of “Sequestration” in a medium that might get the public’s attention: Reality Television – scrap the debates, the suits, and the hallowed halls of Washington, fly them to a deserted island, and have them “survive” for points on the passage of a bill. No Limo’s, No Lobbyists, No Staff -just their wit and intellect. Now that would be worth watching. The only problem with that, the Press would have to rely on C-Span for coverage! There would, simply put, be no way to spin it – regardless of the medium: Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, et al. (but the White House Press Corp could complain.)

Of course, none of this will be necessary, as those who know the drill of a crisis, understand that at the last second, John Boehner, the Republican, Speaker of the House, will manage to come to terms with the White House, and all will be well – except the nation might be paying slightly more in taxes to cover the non-cuts, rather reductions in an over-bloated budget – that is if there had been an actual budget in place, which, none has existed since 2008.

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