Sequestering or Festering?

March 19, 2013

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker, via flickr

Congress is suddenly looking like a five-year old skipping down the alley kicking a rusted soup can.  Along with a lot of other Americans, I’m frustrated that we can’t seem to make real progress to replace the fiscal cliff game with a real solution.

Where are we currently with all of this fiscal cliff, sequestration, and federal budget angst?  Racing forward to the past?  The Congress may be the white rabbit of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” chanting, “The faster I go the ‘behinder’ I get.”

The US fiscal problems were nudged across to the 2013 New Year and softly shuttled to early March.  The recently passed continuing resolution will fund the national government through early fall 2013.  The US debt ceiling is the next tick on the clock.

Huffington Post’s Neale Godfrey laid it out in her easy-to-understand article How to Explain the Fiscal Cliff to Your Kids (and Yourself).  The lesson of government is that it is not limited to cutting spending and increasing revenue.  Government has the creative option to spend some of the forbidden money fruit growing on the tree in the center of government.

BudgetAnalyst.com   says that the continuing resolution does little more than buy a little time without the pain associated with a real solution.  The “continuing” in a continuing resolution marks the on-going inability of the parties to reach a resolution. Surprised? Think five-year olds trying to share a toy.  It’s a non-starter.

Reason.com is reporting that Republicans want a “balanced budget in 10 years, acceptance of marginal rates, defund Obamacare, allow Medicare cuts, make Medicare a premium supported program, and fund the federal portion of Medicare with State block grants.”  The plan conjured up by the Democrats is less specific based on “values and priorities and is about raising revenues and not cutting spending.”

Sequestering really boils down to “brute force” strategies that fail to fix the problem at hand.  The sequester is merely an unsophisticated way of enforcing rules put into place when political power permitted, regardless of what might be better solutions in the long run.

We are faced with a grave economic and fiscal problem about which the Congress seems unable to find effective communications strategies to use to reach an effective outcome.  The research of Human Synergistics Inc. demonstrates that individual performance is never as good as that of the group in survival situations.  Their research shows that the synthesis discovered in the larger discussion always trumps the bully-imposed solution.

So, we really haven’t done anything to resolve the original fiscal cliff problems from the end of 2012.  October 1, 2013 looms on the not-so-distant horizon as the deadline for the federal budget enactment.  Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Congressional cowboys and cowgirls will be doing a lot of twirling of their ropes in front of the “budget doggies” without rounding-up the real problems that face us and our children.

What do we need?  Here’s my list of what I see being needed from the Congress to fix the “problem.”

  • Set aside the ideological high ground.
  • Employ – as Human Synergistics recommends – effective listening, effective supporting, and effective differing.
  • Look outside of the box for ideas.
  • Think about the impact of your actions on your grandchildren.
  • Get the job done.

Pretty simple?  Leave a comment about what you want to see the Congress do in the next several months about these problems.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Skydiving Under the Fiscal Cliff Canopy 
The Fiscal Cliff and the Basics of Bookkeeping