Sequestration has arrived ... the sky is falling, the sky is falling!
Certainly, our national debt is not falling, nor are the number of excuses falling.
However, certain things are falling. Our reputation as a global financial leader is falling. The belief in the integrity of our elected officials is falling. The commitment to leave a better future for our children is falling. The ability to produce more entrepreneurs is falling. The inclination of international businesses to base out of the United States is falling. The ability to achieve the American Dream is falling.
Sequestration is the new name for the "debt ceiling" and the "fiscal cliff" of last year. In movie terms, it's "The End of the World III: The return of Armageddon."
This situation was caused and is influenced by a number of factors. Of course, the blame game is alive and well in D.C., and while we have had a financial crisis on many fronts in this country during the past four years, nothing spells crisis in D.C. like cutting government programs.
It is a recession when it hits the private sector, but it is a national catastrophe when it means cutting government jobs. Yet only in D.C. does a reduction in the growth of spending equal a cut. We will still be spending $15 billion more than last year.
My goodness, how will we ever survive?
Sequestration benefits all elected officials because it provides cuts with no fingerprints. No matter what you eliminate from the budget, some in your district will lose and others will win. If it is an across-the-board cut, then you can claim innocence ... "It's not my fault!" This is a bipartisan CYA response.
Many have identified more than $350 billion in what many would consider "waste" spending, most likely added during strong economic times when we had more "discretionary" income. But like any family in financial crisis, we must make cuts to the extras in our budget.
In years gone by, this issue would have been resolved in an hour by the experienced centrists of both parties bringing together key elements of each side to establish common ground. This would have been the statesmen's move - to do your job rather than play party politics.
Instead, Congress is being run by the extremists of both parties, many who are rookies to the process and fearful of their party's retribution if they appear to waiver from strict party lines.
While there is good reason to add new blood to Congress, it is experience and leadership that gets the job done. Running our country is serious business, and it is deteriorating in the hands of amateurs.
The day we killed off the elderly statesmen was the day we brought chaos to D.C. Be careful what you wish for.
Whenever you review a "crisis," it is important to see who has skin in the game ... who benefits?
Do the Republicans gain ground? They will say that they gave in to tax hikes this year and now it is time for the Democrats to begin spending cuts. After all, if you taxed 100 percent of the upper 2 percent, then you still wouldn't make a dent in our debt, so logic indicates that along with added tax income, you must cut spending.
At home, if our expenses exceed our income, then we cut expenses while trying to increase income. If we can't cut 1 or 2 cents per dollar of spending without our entire household falling apart, then perhaps someone else should be handling our budget because we are clearly inept.
Yet, the blame game is definitely aimed at demonizing the Republicans, so we must wonder why. What would the Democrats gain by encouraging a situation that clearly harms our country and creates no solutions? 2014.
The politician-in-chief, firmly secure in his second term, is facing the reality that he can mandate all he wants, but without Congress' checkbook it goes nowhere. Thus, he needs a Democrat-controlled House.
The American people may elect a president who is cool and charming and oh so politically correct, but they want a Republican controlling the purse-strings.
If Republicans can be framed as the sequester culprits, then perhaps Obama can get his Dems elected for his final two years in office to pass his list of mandates - preferably as he did before ... too complicated to read and thus "you have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." That move is not wildly popular with Republicans, or anyone with a sense of responsibility.
It is important to know that seasoned Democrats are also enraged at the situation but receive little press or support because of the 2014 objective, and let's face it, they would like to gain control again. Winning feels good, and we all know that it comes at a price, even if the price is paid by everyone else.
What board of directors would allow their people to not pass a budget in four years and do nothing while their executives continue fighting and blaming one another for their failure? What family thinks that it can spend its way out of debt? The problem is not simple, but there are some simple measures that can be taken to begin fixing our fiscal challenges.
This is hardball politics, and we are being given a glimpse at the sausage-making. It is not pretty.
Who is at fault for the sequester? We are. We elect political figures like we are living in a reality show. We want attractive, charming, humorous participants. And the crazier they are, the more entertainment value they provide.
However, in the real world, do we want them handling our family budget?
Jacqueline Cartier, who has more than 25 years of political communications experience and is the president and CEO of Winning Images, recently moved back to Eagle-Vail from Washington, D.C. She can be reached by email at WinningImages.Cartier@gmail.com or by phone at 202-271-4165. Visit her website at www.cartierwinningimmages.com.