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Posts Tagged ‘Sequestration’

If there is one thing that today’s U.S. government excels at, it is obfuscation. Take, for example the current fiasco known as sequestration. The ordinary citizen might be forgiven if he thought that this was something like castration. Actually, he would be pretty close. However, for the United States, it might be even worse. 

I suppose its a tip off when politicians hide behind words derived from Latin that have migrated into old English law. By the time the word gets to America by way of the Roman and British empires, the U.S. politicians can make the word mean anything they want it to mean. It’s sort of like the words in Alice in Wonderland

The Latin word sequester, which is the root for sequestration, simply means a depositary, i.e. a person with whom you store something of value. So, you might surmise that when the government sequesters something, they are putting it aside for safekeeping. However, in today’s U.S. government-speak it means taking away money from lots of necessary or vital programs in order to cause so much suffering to the people, that the weakest part of the government will cry, “UNCLE!!” and give up, and the other part of the government will have its way. Clever, isn’t it?

One might have thought that President Obama, good guy that he is, would have acted as Superman and said, “Not only no, but HELL NO!” But he didn’t. Instead, he grinned like the Chesire cat and signed the Sequestration Legislation into law, thus setting in motion a series of gut wrenching, job killing , government spending cuts that helps no one. Then he gaily went about fiddling while Republican Senators and Representatives heads should have exploded (figuratively), like what happened to the invading Martians in the classic movie, Mars Attacks. (Still one of my favorite movies, and I have no idea why. But I do like the song.)

Unfortunately, the heads of the Republicans did not actually explode because their brains are protected by being in thrall to the “Tea Party” fanatics (no relation whatsoever to the heroes of the real Boston Tea Party) who seem to make up the core of today’s Republican Party – at least the intellectual wing of the Party. Clearly, the entire Republican Party has drunk the Kool-Aid, and it is that which apparently prevents their heads from exploding.

Even so, it seems that President Obama has failed to notice this lack of exploding heads amongst the Republican brotherhood who are meanwhile doing their very best Alfred E. Neuman “What me worry?” impression, i.e. they are doing nothing. 

While America burns.

OK. I know. I get it. They’re not really that stupid, are they? No, of course not. What’s really happening is that they are all playing a giant game of chicken, you know, like when two teenagers get in their cars and drive towards each other at 100 miles per hour and then we get to see who is chicken when one of them turns away in order to avoid a horrific, head-exploding, collision. The thing that I worry about is that I’m not sure that either Obama or the Republicans have the brains, or the maturity, of a hormone-saturated teenage boy, or for that matter even the brains of a hormone-saturated teenage bull.

This, of course, could be very bad news for the country. But who cares? After all, the members of Congress are mostly millionaires and you can be sure the U.S. Lobbyist Core in Washington will see to it that they are well taken care of, no matter what. And Obama? What does he care if massive layoffs go into effect and the nation goes into an economic death spiral and people start fleeing the country for the good jobs in Mexico? After all, won’t that solve the illegal immigration problem? As they say, “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.”

So maybe Nero had the right idea, when Rome burns, go with the flow. Don’t worry be happy. See! That’s why Obama actually signed the law ordering the massive budget cuts! It’s the Roman way: first you sequester, then you burn the city down, then you fiddle while Rome burns. 

Except for one little thing. Sequester doesn’t mean “cut”. It doesn’t mean slash the budget. It means to set something aside in a safe place until a dispute is settled.

Wait a minute, maybe I’m just taking this thing way too seriously? Maybe we should all be more like the President and the Republicans.

Maybe we should just do like Nero did after he finished fiddling: go to bed and take a nice sequester. Then, we’ll all feel better in the morning…

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