The first of March is just over the hill. You can hear it clanking and snorting and rumbling as it makes the journey into our lives. It may come in like a lion, or a lamb, but it brings with it all the honking machinery of a series of budget cuts that will strand all kinds of projects and programs. These "Sequester Cuts" are the product of kicking a fiscal can down the road for two years without a plan. How many teachers could lose their jobs in each state? How many toddlers could be kicked out of subsidized preschool programs, and how many children could lose funding for vaccines for measles and mumps?
It's all about three percent. Most of us won't probably hear the cries of those children or notice the empty desks left by those teachers. We can just pretend that the lion that March started out as came roaring in and ate them. Does it matter if the politicos couldn't compromise enough to spread the pain around? Compromise?
And so we wait for the arguments to continue over closing tax loopholes versus eliminating programs versus asking a few of the states to just wait patiently while we look for some extra money. I'm sure there must be some change left over in the couches at the Pentagon. But once again, the people who make these decisions will continue to get paid and receive federally supported health care. Our elected representatives will continue to go to their jobs and receive their pensions. And just down the hill are the people upon whom this stuff tends to roll.
"We don't have any ability with dumb cuts like
this to figure out what the right thing to do is," said Education Secretary
Arne Duncan. Thanks for the wisdom, Arne. We'll be out here waiting for the smart cuts. Patiently. Like lambs.