| March 5, 2013

A tale of two sequesters

You may have noticed that the sun rose on schedule on Saturday morning, despite dire warnings from the advocates of lots and lots of government that the evil, dastardly sequester (which trims about 2.5 percent from federal spending) would, to cite one example of overheated rhetoric from our president, “eviscerate” government services.

Of course, the major media were full of stories of how the sequester will “gut” this program or “slash” that one. Amazing what a 2.5 percent cut can do! Badly needed context was in short supply. It was up to policy institutes and others to remind us, for example, of “8 things that cost the same as the sequester” (our personal favorite: “The total cost of improper payments from Medicare every two years”).

There were plenty of breathless stories here in Oklahoma as well, warning darkly of teacher layoffs and the like. Again, it’s up to a think tank to remind us that 0.19 percent of Oklahoma school staff jobs were at risk in sequestration.

Moreover, what most stories failed to mention was that this was, in fact, the second sequester in just two months. The first one hit every wage earner in America when the fiscal cliff deal restored a previous two percent reduction in payroll taxes. Yes, every working household in the land experienced a two percent sequester.

So where are the stories headlined “Family Eliminates One Movie Outing Per Month” or “Billy Settles for Regular Shoes, Not Air Jordans”? In fact, most families have done what sensible people do in such cases: They’ve made simple, minor adjustments in their spending practices, with little or no pain and cost, to reflect the two percent taxpayer sequester.

It’s time for government to do the same. Here’s hoping the government-spending cuts have only just begun.

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