Sadly, as the trigger date of this mindless dislocation nears, discussions in Washington are focused on which party is to blame, rather than on crafting a solution to avoid this self-inflicted wound. Quite the opposite is happening in Connecticut, where people are concerned about the sequester's cuts.
That was the message I heard from shipyard workers in
The effect of sequestration is already being felt. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the national economy slowed in the fourth quarter of 2012 due mainly to the slowdown in defense spending and contracting in anticipation of the sequester's impact. The nonpartisan
The debate over who is to blame is a distraction and a disservice. What Connecticut is looking for — and what Congress must create — is a solution.
The good news is that history provides a road map for a way out. Sequestration for many is a foreign term, but its roots date back to a federal law from 1985, when the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings sequestration was enacted. Then, as today, the federal government was confronted with a structural deficit, divided control of the Congress and the
The regular order of budgets passed through House and
They believed correctly that the impact of chain saw cuts in all sectors of the federal government would be so politically unacceptable that Republicans and Democrats would negotiate in good faith. As Phil Gramm said in 2011, "It was never the objective of Gramm-Rudman to trigger the sequester; the objective of Gramm-Rudman was to have the threat of the sequester force compromise and action."
Over time, the threat of sequester resulted in hard negotiations and compromises, including the Andrews Air Force Base agreement between President
On Jan. 1, the Congress and the president averted another self-imposed crisis by blocking the
Only through bipartisan compromise can we reject mindless cuts in favor of a balanced package that reduces the deficit and prioritizes tough choices over self-inflicted economic wounds and repeated, avoidable budget crises.