Desensitized Americans

The American people are unaware of the economic impacts of our manufactured budgetary issues.

by Ronald Dixon

If Congress is unable to forge a budgetary deal by  March 1, then the economy will enter sequestration, triggering $85 billion worth in cuts that would trim approximately 700,000 jobs.

The economic consequences would be obvious. With sudden, drastic cuts and with so many people out of work or under-employed, economic growth would regress.

This is a point that concerns me, but something that is almost as concerning is the lack of concern from the American people about our looming economic crisis.

The theme of Congress seems to be partisanship, mainly from congressional Republicans. The GOP’s intransigence  is worrisome — they have had many more cloture motions recently, 60 percent more in the Senate, compared to the previous Senate before the Democrats took over in 2007.

With more post-midterm leverage, Republicans blocked the previously nonpartisan issue of raising the debt ceiling back in the summer of 2011. This happened again last December with the extension of the Bush tax cuts, when the nation almost went off of the “fiscal cliff,” which would have caused disastrous economic impacts.

It seems every major deadline Congress must act upon is now the scene for the most necessary political dialogue. Why these deadlines must be paired with extraneous, partisan issues is the result of the political game.

Through all of these economic crises, including our current threat of sequestration, the American public has taken a passive role, watching the political power plays. With each crisis, the media builds up the political partisanship, yet the consensus and compromise never seem as important. We have become desensitized to the gravity of economic turmoil.

As we approach the March 1 sequestration deadline, we face a great threat to the state of the nation, but the partisanship of current congressional politics is turning off the American public.

I am not sure what scares me more: the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs or the palpable political ignorance of the electorate.