OTHER OPINION: Sequestration is a terrible step

By Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport

For a year and a half, the president and Congress have known if they did not join forces to prudently trim the federal budget, a mandatory across-the-board reduction would take place. They failed, and beginning today federal spending must be cut by $85 billion by the end of September, the close of the fiscal year.
Unless, of course, the madness and mindlessness of sequestration causes the president and Congress to act. The next “fiscal crisis” in Washington is scheduled for March 27. If Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill by then, the government would be forced to shutdown March 28.
When will this staggering from one potential fiscal disaster to the next end?
President Obama and Congress must pull the nation away from “fiscal cliffs” and “debt ceilings” and get America’s finances in order.
That cannot be done while the president parades himself and his Cabinet members in front of the cameras lamenting the consequences of budget cuts he and they have known since 2011 were coming.
It cannot it be accomplished by a divided Congress that will not unite to confront reality: We are $17 trillion in debt with ever-increasing entitlement obligations we cannot afford.
There isn’t a responsible person in this county who could not trim less than 3 percent from their spending without significantly affecting their lifestyle.
Yet because the president and Congress have abandoned their duty to set priorities, these looming spending cuts may make both eating processed meat and flying commercial aircraft less safe.
That is both stupid and shameful.
Sequestration is a terrible step, because it slashes spending indiscriminately.
Sequestration is also a cop-out. Both Congress and the president have failed to perform their duties, and they’re counting on a mathematical algorithm to do their work for them. That way they can blame the math, and not themselves, for our woes.
They – Congress and the president, Republicans and Democrats – need to be held accountable for this. If sequestration can help bring that about, then bring it on.
Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport