Spirit of Christmas compromisePublished 10:08am Friday, December 13, 2013
There is a chance, perhaps a good chance, that the poorly planned fiscal insanity known as sequestration will be ended with thoughtful budget compromise next week as Congress votes on a two-year budget for the first time in over four years.
Sequestration was the proposed “poison pill” that was enacted when Democrats and Republicans could not reach a budget compromise last year. The idea was the cuts would be so severe that neither party would opt for the axe method of budgeting that could have been planned by capable 6 year olds.
It did not turn out that way because some Republicans decided that all spending cuts, regardless of their impact, were all good. These few considered that any failure of government to function suited their preference just fine.
But then too, there was some sleight of hand within sequestration, where while defense spending was theoretically cut, by shifting dollars and timing of spending and priorities, the Defense Department managed to get along just fine with little or no effective trimming of excess spending.
Not so much programs like Head Start, who ended up kicking 4 year olds out of school because they had, dare it be said, no political leverage. Yes, the typical 4 year old can only write with crayons and then only if they can remain in programs like Head Start, an early education program that is hardly early and mostly necessary for kids to compete in the learning industry.
So Carlie Hopkins, 4, and daughter of Rebecca Hopkins, got kicked out of school while new aircraft carrier construction continued without interruption. According to the Washington Post when Mom Rebecca had to explain to Carlie why she could no longer be in school her answer was, “Some kids get to go to school all the time. And some kids get to stay home with Mom,” Rebecca Hopkins told her. “And you are one of those kids.” (Washington Post Dec. 12).
Now back to the aircraft carrier, it will be the 13th U.S. aircraft carrier in service topping the competition, all other nations’ carrier fleets, by 12. No other nation has more than one aircraft carrier.
The good news for those who relish unlimited spending on defense is that with the end of sequestration the vendors who provide our weaponry are back to bellying up to the bar with their pockets once again full of spending money. Let the cocktails flow, the wine pour, and the steaks keep rolling out at Morton’s, the bill is on us, actually us in caps the U.S. taxpayer.
Not to worry though, there are spending cuts in the spirit of Christmas that equal little Carlie getting terminated from school at the ripe age of four.
Our Republican caucus in Congress has planned to put under the national tree this year an end to jobless benefits that would harm over a million families in the Ho Ho season. After all, we cannot afford both the new John F. Kennedy carrier at a cost certain to exceed the USS Gerald R. Ford $12.8 billion and still keep folks out of work funded even meagerly.
Nor, apparently, can we afford food stamps this holiday-season, as those holiday minded Republicans have also decided that the federal budget can cut $40 billion over ten years from hungry kids, grandma’s and single mom’s. The SNAP program is just too rich in doling out an average of $138 per month to families of four who have trouble putting food on the table.
The joys of compromise in the holiday season. It almost smells like the turkey is cooked.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.