Countdown to Sequester
Thinking right.


So the Republicans would be better if they were in power, right? Maybe. After all, the question is not really just about better policy. It is about governing, and governing when federal power is split between the parties — a situation that is more the norm than the exception. If roles were reversed, would Republicans provide the missing leadership necessary to get a deal?

Let’s hope so. After all, it is not just that the political system can’t find a path to cutting $85 billion from federal spending. It also can’t come to terms with the need to reform a broken entitlement system. It can’t find a way to reduce future discretionary spending. It can’t solve tiny problems when the nation faces dire ones.

— Douglas Holtz-Eakin is president of the American Action Fund.


No one would ever argue with a straight face that this is the way to run an enterprise — a household, a business, a government, or anything else. We send people to Washington to make tough decisions. Then they put the toughest ones on a kind of auto-pilot.

I take that back. The sequester will not implement any tough decisions. All the sequester does is cut one-fortieth of projected non-entitlement spending over the next decade. That comes on the heels of a bipartisan explosion in federal spending over the last decade. Yet not a soul in the “we don’t have a spending problem” Democratic party, and only a handful of Republicans, can muster the courage to endorse specific cuts of the magnitude that would put Washington’s fiscal house in order. A truly “tough” (and urgently necessary) decision would be to lop off entire departments, functions, and purposes of the federal Frankenstein, but almost no one is talking about that.

If history repeats itself, then this is Rome in the last century before Christ, when the Republic crumbled as demagogues raided the treasury to pay off their favored constituencies. It was said a century later that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Today we have a “leader” who has no time to fiddle because he’s too busy stoking the spending fires.

Americans who haven’t yet had enough of Big Government should awaken to the destructive and dysfunctional buffoonery that it is. Why would anybody of sound mind and character want to trust their future to it?

— Lawrence W. Reed is president of the Foundation for Economic Education — — in Irvington, New York and Atlanta, Georgia.