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AP: "Wary" Of Crises, US Tunes Out Sequester

From the Associated Press:

Wary of crises, Americans tune out budget cut talk

By JOSH LEDERMAN | February 27, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pulling out all the stops to warn just what could happen if automatic budget cuts kick in. Americans are reacting with a collective yawn.

The AP’s sub-literate headline writer must have meant to say ‘weary’ of crises. Otherwise, if Americans are "wary" (‘on guard’) they would be sure to tune in.

They know the shtick: Obama raises the alarm, Democrats and Republicans accuse each other of holding a deal hostage, there’s a lot of yelling on cable news, and then finally, when everyone has made their points, a deal is struck and the day is saved.

Again, this is what passes for journalism in 21st century America.

Maybe not this time. Two days before $85 billion in cuts are set to hit federal programs with all the precision of a wrecking ball, there are no signs that the White House and Republicans in Congress are even negotiating. Both sides appear quietly resigned to the prospect that this is one bullet we just may not dodge.

How is reducing the increase in federal spending by one penny on the dollar a "bullet"? And what is with all the violent imagery, anyway?

Still, for all the grim predictions, Americans seem to be flipping the channel to something a little less, well, boring. They wonder, haven’t we been here before? …

But you can only cry wolf so many times before people just stop paying attention…

Three out of 4 Americans say they aren’t following the spending cuts issue very closely, according to a Pew Research Center poll released this week. It’s a significant drop from the nearly 4 in 10 who in December said they were closely following the fiscal-cliff debate…

Unfortunately, this probably works to the Democrats’ advantage. Since the less informed voters are, the more they will believe the headlines they happen to see, which all blame the Republicans.

"We’re now approaching the next alleged deadline of doom. And voters, having been told previously that the world might end, found it did not in the past and are becoming more skeptical that it will in the future," said Peter Brown of the nonpartisan Quinnipiac University Polling Institute…

Maybe the public has come to realize that hysteria is the new normal.

For all the angst about layoffs, furloughs and slashes to government contracts, the markets don’t seem to be rattled, either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, after falling below 13,000 at the height of the fiscal cliff debacle, has been buoyant ever since, spending the last month hovering just below 14,000…

Why wouldn’t the financial markets oppose government spending cuts? (That aren’t even cuts.)

But if the Obama administration hasn’t managed to convince Americans these spending cuts could be the real deal, it’s not for lack of trying…

On the other hand, Obama is banking on polls that show if the cuts go through, Republicans are likely to bear most of the blame.

Which, again, means it might not be such good news that the public is tuning out.

Both parties agree that if you’re going to cut spending, an indiscriminate mechanism like the sequester is the wrong way to do it. After all, the whole point of the endeavor was to set in motion ramifications so unbearable that lawmakers would be forced to come together and hash out a better plan before the deadline…

The sequester is not "an indiscriminate mechanism." As Phil Gramm noted in his Wall Street Journal op-ed today: "[T]he sequester formula that goes into effect on Friday preserves the spending priorities legislated by the Congress and the president, including exemptions and limitations they favored when the Budget Control Act of 2011 became law."

So Congress and Obama decided on the basic outlines on what would be exempted or limited from these cuts.

Furthermore, as Mr. Gramm (and ourselves) have pointed out, Obama is the chief executive, and he gets to choose what is and isn’t cut. Which, in fact, administrations do every year, even without a sequester.

So these ‘cuts’ are only "indiscriminate" if Obama wants them to be.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “AP: "Wary" Of Crises, US Tunes Out Sequester”

  1. River0 says:

    Lying and distorting are now so routine that these so-called ‘journalists’ may not even be aware they’re doing it: “Both sides appear quietly resigned to the prospect that this is one bullet we just may not dodge…”

    “Quietly resigned”? Boehner’s House has passed TWO bills over the last few months that would have provided intelligent alternatives to the “wrecking ball” of the Sequester. Harry Reid is blocking these bills in the Senate.

    We’ve already lost the country if the press is correct, that Americans don’t know what’s going on. And the Regime SliMedia is responsible.

    They resemble nothing less than the puppets of Pravda, the regime organ of the old Soviet Union. George Orwell and Alexander Solzhenitsin are turning in their graves.

  2. Bill says:

    “there are no signs that the White House and Republicans in Congress are even negotiating.”

    Uh, doesn’t the President have to be in town for this? I like how his idea of negotiating is to go out of town and “talk to regular people” instead of actually, you know, doing work

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