Sequester Week One Roundup: Where’s The Anarchy?
The long dreaded sequester with its threat of economic apocalypse has endured for one week. Many of the predicted outcomes have not yet come to pass, with the exception of one by a celebrated Washington DC pundit. The sequester began, America shrugged!
Damn you, George Will!
The stock market reacted by posting its highest gains ever, over 14,000. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Obviously, Wall Street did not get the memos of dire predictions, because it is taking the sequester well…maybe too well.
This is WRONG, VERY WRONG! The sequester was supposed to bring locusts, famine and disease! Where are the long lines at the airport that we were promised? Why are the meat cases at our supermarkets still fully stocked?
Dogs and cats are not raining down from the sky, survivalists have not taken to the streets of American cities to engage in urban warfare (not yet anyway), and welfare moms are not eating their young! To paraphrase Bob Dole’s famous line, “Where’s the anarchy?”
Instead of all these events happening, people on Wall Street are celebrating. (Please hold that thought for one moment while I admonish my cat. Nyla, put the champagne down!) It may be premature to pop the cork on Wall Street, since so many people on Main Street are still unemployed.
So far the sequester has been great for big business, but a disaster for liberals! Maybe we should just call the whole thing off. The stock market continued its climb upwards all week, setting new records every day. Then the job report for February showed that enough jobs were created to send the unemployment down — are you all sitting down for this news — an entire two-tenths of one percent! OMG! Even gas prices are slowly inching back down at the pumps!
What the hell? This is the news Obama has been waiting four years to hear. I know I shouldn’t argue, but why now? Why couldn’t all this happen before the sequester went into effect? His critics have been very eager to blame the idea of the sequester on the President. So maybe we should ask ourselves the question, “What did Obama finally do that was so right for the economy?”
Ultimately, this is a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that the economy is finally showing solid improvement. The bad news is that it’s still too early to tell what the sequester will ultimately do to our delicate economy. And of course this all forms a backdrop for the next crisis already manufactured by our two favorite branches of the federal government: continued government funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. That deadline occurs at the end of this month.
The furloughs of federal workers and perhaps related contractors will certainly send local economies into a tailspin. Then the ripple effect could start, creating more joblessness in the service industries (retail stores, shops, restaurants, et al) dependent on these federal workers and contractors money. Joblessness in these sectors could lead to another ripple affecting the benefits industry.
This is what sunk my job three years ago. A downturn in union jobs led to people losing their union benefits, such as health insurance. With less people having health insurance, the health insurance industry did not need the personnel (i.e., me) to service customers they no longer had. Yet this did not become a factor until months after the recession actually started. The same scenario could play out again. And on and on…
So forgive me if I don’t get excited about the recovering economy just yet. The predicted signs of the economic apocalypse may come to pass in any event. Consider this sure sign that the world is ending event: last week President Obama invited 12 GOP members of Congress to dinner. He invited them and they ACTUALLY ACCEPTED THE INVITATION AND HAD DINNER WITH HIM.
(Thank you for reading! Forecast for tomorrow: sunshine and prosperity early, with a chance of cats and dogs falling from the sky late in the day.)