Contractingbusiness Com Sites Contractingbusiness com Files Uploads 2013 04 Don Frendberg 2 Opt 0

Sequestration, Duh

May 17, 2013
“I want to meet a guy named Art. I’d take him to a museum, hang him on the wall, criticize him and leave.” –Jarod Kintz
You want to know what really, really bugs me? The garbage that emanates from the mouths of politicians and government employees, which we used to call bizarre but regrettably has now become ordinary. In the realm of full disclosure, I admit I’m a short person and consequently plagued with a much smaller brain than those of greater stature, but nonetheless, it seems to me that we have been bamboozled and conned to the extent that we are unable to distinguish reality from make-believe.

A case in point. Let’s take the latest overworked term coming out of Washington, “sequestration.” I don’t know about you, but until recently, it was a word I don’t believe I had ever heard used other than in reference to a sequestered jury, and it certainly was not stored in my frontal lobe for use during this lifetime. Nevertheless, it has become a new definition of political gamesmanship.

It came from the Sequestration Transparency Act signed into law Aug. 7, 2013, and was intended by lawmakers to force Congress to act in a responsible way on deficit reduction. While the administration never expected it to go into effect, it ended up with the Democrats demanding that taxes be raised on the top 2 percent to offset the budget cuts, the Republicans refusal to do so, and on March 1, it took effect. Personally, I am extremely in favor of getting our nation’s debt under control no matter what pain it takes, including my own. We should be taking lessons from the fiscal bailouts of Greece, Spain and Italy and realize the same is going to happen here if we don’t get our spending under control. But as a result, with no leadership in Washington on either side of the aisle and in the middle, we are now dealing with the results. But what has bugged me the most through this gamesmanship, or I guess I should say gamespersonship, is the rhetoric and fear mongering that have taken place by the politicians when it is their job and only purpose in Washington to find ways to mitigate the situation.

The threats of massive layoffs, huge cuts to Head Start, $35 million to local fire departments, and the loss of nutrition assistance to women and families turned out to be a part of a fundraising effort by the President. Then we had Sen. Harry Reid on the Senate floor implying that the tragic death of seven Marines in a training exercise at the Henderson, Nevada, Army Depot was related to sequestration. But lo, the game never ends. Now we have the termination of White House tours and, at least at this point, “No Easter Egg Roll.” I find these tactics deplorable, especially the last two because while they evoke great sympathy, they also affect children the most. You and I both know that compared with the deficit, politicians’ wages and benefits, and even presidential vacations, the costs of tours of “the people’s home” and “egg rolls” are insignificant.

Then today, I see the government released a contract awarded for the vice president’s February one-night stay in London for $459,338.65 at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill Hotel. Thank goodness, it was a five-star hotel. Why is there no shame or national outcry against the indifference and inequality our politicians flaunt at the average American? Not only am I frustrated with our government, I am truly embarrassed!

I don’t consider myself a doomsayer. In fact, I’m most often called an eternal optimist, but I must admit the bumper sticker, “Fire Them All,” is starting to make a lot more sense.

This famous quote from Mark Twain surely says it all. “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Ciao baby,

Don Frendberg