My View From The Country

Political Debate Moves From Absurd To Sad

The sequester illustrates just how devoid of leadership and political will the U.S. is today. That ineptness doesn’t reflect well on the electorate, either.

The political debate over deficit reduction has moved from the absurd and comical to the simply sad. We need a whole new dictionary to understand the ongoing deficit debate.

If you were to tell most Americans that they had $16,000 in credit card debt on the books and were going to $19,000 in debt this year, they would understand that their debt was growing by $3,000. Washington, D.C., however, would consider it a $4,000 reduction in the deficit, because they had planned to be $23,000 in debt at year end.

And the absurdity just keeps growing. Congress passed a $147-billion tax increase the last time we faced sequester, and claimed it would have no effect on the economy. But a reduction in government spending of $80 billion, as called for in the sequester, is supposed to have catastrophic effects on our economy. I guess it just goes to show that money the government spends is far more important than money consumers and businesses invest/spend.

The biggest fear about sequestration is that the spending reductions will happen and won’t be noticed. Does anyone believe the disruptive cuts in government are the only federal fat that can be found? No, this has become a battle for control of the House in 2014. The opinion polls indicate it’s a winning issue for the Democrats, and they seem committed to doing everything possible to make the cuts as painful as possible. Politically, that might be a good move, but is it in the best interest of the country?

A Closer Look: Fiscal Cliff – A Real Crisis, But Artificial Deadline

Thus, we have threats like the meat inspector furlough that potentially could derail the cattle market for months. And then there’s the release of hundreds of criminals in Arizona this week who were illegal aliens, perhaps endangering public safety. And threats of three-hour security screenings at airports, etc.

The most ironic thing about this whole situation is that everyone agrees the cuts aren’t nearly enough, and that the cuts as proposed are the wrong way to make cuts. Still, there seems to be absolutely no political will to get serious about addressing our debt problem.

The president is back on the campaign trail warning of the coming disaster via the sequester, but no one seems able to detail the calamity that actually will befall us if we don’t address our unfunded liabilities and skyrocketing deficit. Greece, Spain, the former Soviet Union, Iceland, and a host of other countries are good illustrations of what lies ahead, but it’s somehow too big of a problem to address or comprehend in this country.

We all know that not making a decision is, in effect, making a decision; and that if we don’t act, the decision eventually will be made for us. Sadly, this political saga proves much more than that the Republican Party is politically inept, or that the Democrats are politically exploitive. It illustrates just how devoid of leadership and political will the U.S. is today. And that ineptness doesn’t reflect well on the electorate, either.

The old quote about Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned is appropriate here. Fiscal conservatives have tried to guide the Republican Party to the right, with the result of seemingly isolating the party and lowering its appeal. Meanwhile, Democrats have moved swiftly to the left, with the tacit approval of the electorate. The result is that government and the federal deficit are growing at unprecedented rates, while we play political games with no real interest in addressing either issue. 

The American public deserves better, but then again we’re getting what we deserve. As long as everyone just nods when politicians talk about creating millions of jobs, at a time when millions fewer are actually working, we’ll likely continue to get lies and the reshaping of not only our language, but basic math and economic principles.

In marketing, we like to say that perception is reality. When it comes to finances, however, reality has a way of eventually overcoming perceptions.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

on Mar 1, 2013

According to USDA Market News reporter Ed Czerwien, there is more beef stored in boxes than the cold storage report indicates. That's because beef held in storage less than 30 days doesn't get reported.

So should a reasonable compromise be reached on FSIS inspection, should sequestration last that long, the beef industry should be able to get through the process with a minimum of market disruption. The "shoulds" loom large.

Burt Rutherford
Senior Editor

dwn (not verified)
on Mar 1, 2013

Watching the local school administrators "threaten" for more money to waste taught me it is all a game the politicians play to
never be held accountable; at least not what "real" "normal" and
responsible people would call accountable. All the Democrats and 2/3 of the Republicans should be thrown out of office until we get some people that actually want a great country more than they want to be in office.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 2, 2013

Leadership is not saying yes to Obama,its fixing the issues Obama screwed up

Clinton Clark (not verified)
on Mar 5, 2013

Mid-Terms will determine if the public has fallen off the cliff to mentally

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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