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AS I SEE IT

Posted 2/27/13 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

To listen to some government officials and the Democratic party, life as we know it in the United States could very well come to an end on March 1. Or at least it will come to an end if the U.S. Congress can’t find a way to work around the automatic $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts that will have to be made over the next decade because no one in Washington, D.C. was willing to try to get this country’s debt under control.
And with the clock rapidly running out for Congress to avert the huge budget cuts, come March 1 there are those that are wringing their hands and already predicting that air travel is going to be compromised, national security will be imperiled, tens of thousands of children will no longer be able to attend Head Start programs and education will suffer because thousands of teaching positions will go unfunded. The list goes on and on. Millions of dollars in military contracts will be pulled, people expecting to receive disability payments will see their checks being delayed and needy Americans won’t get the aid that they are accustomed to receiving. And  worst of all, America’s economy could drop back into a recession as more and more people become unemployed.
Obviously the cuts, which both Congress and President Obama agreed to as part of a 2011 deal to increase the country’s debt limit, are going to be painful. Both Congress and the president understood that when they agreed to the terms. Unfortunately, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans really believed that this day would come, and as result they weren’t able to find a way to cut the nation’s growing deficit in a manner that was acceptable to both parties. The Democrats wanted to raise more taxes and thus have more money to spend. The Republicans, on the other hand, wanted to see a decrease in government growth as a way to get the nation’s debt troubles under control.
And when neither party was able to compromise, the end result is the very strong probability that come March 1, the cuts are going to start. And bad things could very well happen.
Getting a handle on the nation’s debt has become the biggest problem that both political parties in Washington, D.C. have faced. Rather than accept the fact that they (Congress) are spending billions of dollars that they don’t have, they have continually kicked the fiscal troubles down the road. And that strategy has led America to where it is today.
American families and businesses understand what a budget is. Most business owners and families know that you can only spend the money that you have. If they want to spend more money on one item, then they understand that they have to divert those funds from being spent somewhere else. To not follow that simple accounting practice means businesses and families will face financial disaster and ultimately bankruptcy.
That same basic accounting principal should apply to Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, for decades, it hasn’t. When Congress needed more money, it simply issued IOUs and merrily increased the size and scope of America’s government to the point where the debt is now so staggering that it is crippling the economy.
Yes, the cuts associated with the coming sequestration are going to be painful. And in reality, there are going to be people that are going to be furloughed from their jobs and some services are going to be cut.
But that is the path that President Obama and the members of Congress have set America on.
Will America survive this sequestration? Yes. And in the long run, our country will be stronger once we get our financial house in order.