THE SEQUESTER

It’s Bizarro World, and who’s to blame?

We are always told that ordinary citizens must adjust their budgets to conform to their incomes, but not so the government. We are now getting a peek at the government’s attempt to put its fiscal house in order, and it does not appear to be a very impressive model to follow. If we householders applied the sequester method of financial adjustment, the comparisons might look something like this:

 

• Presenting problem: Cable bill high.

• Homeowner reaction: Reduce level of channels purchased.

• Sequester solution: Throw out TV.

 

• Presenting problem: Mortgage payment too large.

• Homeowner reaction: Refinance.

• Sequester solution: Get rid of house.

 

• Presenting problem: Increased electricity bill.

• Homeowner reaction: Reduce use by cutting back kilowatt-hours.

• Sequester solution: Disconnect and remove refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher.

 

• Presenting problem: Unwieldy water charge.

• Homeowner reaction: Conservation.

• Sequester solution: Board up the bathroom and use the gas station down the block.

 

• <CHARENTITY>7</CHARENTITY>Presenting problem: Need to reduce garbage-collection payment.

• Homeowner reaction: Look for increased opportunities to recycle.

• Sequester solution: Cancel garbage service. Pile it higher and deeper.

 

An alternative would be to invest in some additional training or education to secure better employment that generated more income so you could afford the preferred lifestyle. Growth is the best way to fix deficits.

Eddie Ryshavy, Plymouth

• • •

I am uncertain if Republicans want to really cut spending, but it is obvious that Democrats do not. The federal government has a huge debt problem, a deficit in excess of a trillion dollars per year and a total debt heading toward $17 trillion, figures that no one can grasp, and we simply cannot tax everyone, let alone just wealthy people, to bring this into line and balance the budget. Spending has to be cut.

If you were spending $100 per month more than your income and using your credit cards to cover this, you would quite rationally come to the conclusion that you would have to cut spending. But if you operated like the federal government, you would look at your spending and think:

“I want to keep spending money on all of the things I am currently spending money on, and I would like to spend money on these two additional items. But, if I do that, I will be spending $120 more per month than I bring in, not just $100. So, I will keep spending money on all of the things I am currently spending on, but I will only add just one of the things I want to add, which will mean I will be spending only $110 more than I bring in, not $120, so I can call that ‘cutting spending’ and pat myself on the back for my restraint.”

As ridiculous as this sounds to anyone over the age of 8, this is exactly what they are doing.

Let’s face it, we get the government we deserve. We voted these people into office and do so over and over. What world are we living in?

Dennis Carstens, Eagan

• • •

From where I sit, it is not the Democrats, the Republicans, the president, the House nor the Senate; rather, the blame lays squarely on us — it is we the people who are failing. It is our dogmas, our beliefs, our votes and, more to the point, our unwillingness to bend or compromise in those things, or to honestly question our own beliefs — as well as our unwillingness to put ourselves into positions where we might feel at odds with those with whom we most would like to associate — that have led to gridlock in government. In short, the problem is you and me, and we are also each other’s hope for the future of our nation.

Curtis Hed, Becker, Minn.

• • •

It’s my fault. I failed in my civic duty to write or call elected representatives. Idealistically, I thought the logic of President Obama’s proposed balanced approach was compelling. I support targeted cuts to eliminate wasteful spending and increased revenue by closing tax loopholes. Naively, I thought our elected representatives would do the right thing for America. Cynically, I rationalized my failure because my representative is Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Realistically, Rep. Bachmann may be a lot of things, but she is not a mind-reader. There is no way she could know that I support cuts to the defense budget now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over.

No way she could know I support closing tax loopholes for Big Oil to save $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies each year. No way she could know I support cuts in the $50 billion spent on foreign aid. No way she could know I support levying a substantial tax on carbon at mine mouths and wellheads to provide funding for renewable-energy technologies and to control emissions of climate-disrupting greenhouse gases.

No way she could know I support cutting NASA’s $17 billion budget because problems on Earth are more important than exploration of space. No way she could know I support funding to support enhancing conservation and environmental programs in the agriculture budget, while cutting $5 billion in wasteful annual subsidies for crop supports.

I must strive to be a better citizen.

David L. Trauger, Marine on St. Croix