The term "sequestration" has a resonance that reminds one of an intestinal malady, the result of eating too much seafood. Or, perhaps it's another synonym for the "spending syndrome" that liberals can't shake?
Either way, it's here, but what's really going on?
Despite coming in $85 billion light, the federal government will still spend more this year than it did last year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, since 2007, the government has increased in size by 40 percent. That $85 billion is approximately 2.3 percent of the $3.5 trillion of federal outlays. Moreover, our annual debt will increase by nearly half that amount.
According to commentator Dick Morris, non-defense discretionary spending has risen under Obama from $468 billion to $514 billion. The sequester drops it back to the same level as it was when he first took office.
To claim that cutting $85 billion will enact economic calamity upon the nation is dishonorable. What about the $300 billion of tax increases that was already signed into law this year amounting to nearly 2 percent of our total GDP?
None of the cuts will affect our troops in Afghanistan, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Just in case you were wondering, the salaries of Obama and his administration, along with every member of the Senate and House, is secure as their checks are protected under the Americans with No Abilities Act.
What you never read in the mainstream media is how Obama is the one who proposed the sequester and now condemns it when it became reality. Moreover, Obama saying it imperils our economy is more hyperbole of the highest order. Claiming emergency services won't be available is just more of the same. Local responders who are not volunteers are paid by local taxes, not Uncle Sam.
Poor Obama. The economy he inherited in 2009 wasn't good, but the one he cultivated through his infamous "stimulus" over the last four years is far worse. The shame of it all is that the cuts may force Obama to play 17 holes a day instead of 18. It may even moor Michelle to the White House. But, don't bet on it.
Obama wants long waits at airports and high gas prices. Hardships serve his agenda and score the greatest political points because he knows most Americans won't blame him. Obama wants the pain to be felt so that spending can be restored and even accelerated. Best of all, the mainstream media will frame it as democracy in action.
Nearly three-quarter of a million non-essential employees will lose their jobs. Why isn't the media questioning why we have 750,000 non-essential federal employees to begin with?
None of these cuts will have any impact on the debt - the source of our problems. If the country's lawmakers ever get serious about making cuts that will have an impact send the Department of Education to the ash pile of history like Ronald Reagan never got around to accomplishing.
Government by fear, as columnist Peggy Noonan calls it. And Noonan's right. It's much easier than governing. The true victim of the sequester is national fiscal sanity.
Republicans continue to ignore the metastasizing spending disease, foregoing the debt ceiling debate they should have demanded. Republicans need to muster the courage to derail the gravy train. Until a government shutdown over spending occurs nothing will change. Anything less makes them not only irrelevant, but unwitting co-conspirators in the nation's fiscal demise.
The anemic economic growth that has been a hallmark of Obamanomics failed to materialize in the last quarter of 2012. Rather, the economy shrank. As Ronald Reagan said, "A rising economic tide lifts all boats." But a shrinking economy sinks them. Economic growth comes from the private sector, not the government. The more government taxes, regulates and spends, the less growth there will be.
It's that simple.
The private sector is getting trampled. Gas prices are rushing toward $4 per gallon. Still, Obama is steadfast: Spend and tax.
We are only sinking deeper into the abyss of debt, fear and class warfare that already engulfs us.
Obama refuses to address anything resembling entitlement reform or to lead his party's majority in the Senate to pass a budget that has been lacking after four years.
They say second terms can be taxing, and with Obama, no truer words were spoken. So, hold on tight and break out your wallet. Taxes are up and you are footing the bill.
Just make sure you leave enough for the gratuity.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)