Sequestration: The ultimate organic snowman?

Thursday - 5/2/2013, 2:00am EDT

As a kid, did you ever build a snowman made of camel dung?

Probably not. It's hard to come by most places, unless one of your parents works at the zoo. Even then...

But if you had produced such an avant-garde, all-natural work of art in the winter, it would probably have lost a lot of its charm now that the weather is getting warmer. It's the sort of thing you either did — maybe to get attention or to make a point — but you now wish would just go away because even the best sports are no longer amused by it.

So, in place of the organic snowman, substitute the current sequestration program. It was created by politicians who are now back-pedaling and saying they wish it had never happened, wish it would go away or are exempting touchy, popular programs (like air travel) from across-the-board cuts.

According to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, the sequestration concept was produced by the White House and presented to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in July 2011. Woodward, maybe the best-known American reporter ever, is famous for his fact-checking. He even has the time and date when he says the sequestration blueprint was delivered. The White House has since denied that it created sequestration. So, for many, it's a question of whom do you trust?

While the blame game is critically important to politicians, the point is that this unsavory Frosty the Snowman is still very much out there and nobody knows how to quit or how to make it go away.

The bottom line is that whoever did it — and Congress did let it happen — it is increasingly hard to find anybody in public life who wants to be associated with the S-word.

Critics said it unfairly hurt old people by cutting into the Meals on Wheels program, and it hurt young people by reducing funds for Head Start. The IRS could lose more than it saves if it furloughs all 90,000 employees as planned.

The FAA, under pressure from frequent-flyer politicians, received funding so that air traffic controllers, but not other workers, will be exempt from furloughs.

Agriculture's across-the-board furloughs, thanks to pressure from Congress, will not include meat and poultry inspectors.

Other exceptions to the rule can be expected in other agencies until sequestration unravels itself or the politicians drive a stake in its heart. Every day it smells a little worse.

So what do feds, the people taking the pay hits, think of all this? Bottom line, not much:

As one commented yesterday:

"You see, Mike, sequestration isn't about saving money. It's not about controlling the debt and the deficit. It's about bad political theater. For the left, it's about showing the public how radical and dysfunctional the right has become in matters of governance. For the right, it's about demonstrating that they still matter (after losing two presidential elections) and punishing feds for being feds (something that always seems to be on the agenda for the right). It doesn't really matter, to either side, what harm the sequester causes because they are (substantially) untouched by it. Further, as we have all seen, when the sequester inconveniences them, in the slightest degree, they act swiftly to remedy that part of the problem. And so the show never ends..."

NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Before relocating to Los Angeles in 1957, the Dodgers called Brooklyn home. The team's name is derived from the term "trolley dodger," used to describe a pedestrian adept at evading the streetcars that once crisscrossed New York.

(Source: The Washington Post)


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