So how's the sequester affecting you? Not at all you say? Don't feel alone, as plenty of Americans won't see any impact on the $85 billion in cuts which is about 2.5 percent of the federal budget. While that seems like small potatoes, the cuts were indiscriminate so some good programs along with some bad programs will start to see the ax.
When oh when will Congress and the president sit down and deal responsibly with our budget, deficit and debt? Are there no adults in the room?
Most can agree that Bush-era tax cuts put us in a financial bind especially since we had two war fronts going and basically just let it all ride on the credit card.
We've not made up that deficit.
We can agree Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid make up a huge part of the budget. While Social Security is relatively sound financially, the two health programs are a financial train wreck caused in large part by ever escalating costs of the programs.
That's not likely to change, although some have suggested going to a payment system based on outcomes rather than procedures. That may seem like a little thing but if you're paying for every little test, every little procedure and every little visit, it adds up -- quickly.
Ahh, the defense department. The U.S. spends more on defense than all other countries combined and somewhere in there are places to cut.
We can start, of course, by NOT funding weapons and systems military officials don't want. Sure, it plays well back home where defense contractors provide jobs -- but we really must stop spending billions on things the military doesn't want.
Every single member of Congress has a pet project, or three or five. Tossing largesse to the folks back home, however, is not the way to work our way out of our financial straits.
Be bold! Think of alternatives and options, be willing to listen to the other side, be willing to set aside ideological strictures that may make for great sound bites and help with the next campaign but do nothing that helps Congress think first about what's best for America.
The president hasn't really outlined a bold plan to do that and Congress hasn't either.
If there is any "sequester" it should be to sequester all members of Congress and the president in the House chamber and, like the cardinals in Vatican City, lock them in until the people's work is done.
Wonderful move Dexter
Growing up in Harbor Springs you pretty much know everyone in town so, yes, I've known Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa tribal chairman Dexter McNamara for years. And I'm pleased he announced he'll make a ground-breaking decision by signing the tribal statue that will allow same sex marriage within the tribe. McNamara said he'd sign it at 10 a.m. Friday, March 15.
The Little Traverse Bay Bands will become the third tribe to allow same sex marriage and will join nine states and the District of Columbia in doing so.
There is history and culture in the decision -- Native American culture has long supported the people in their midst they called "two-spirit." Homosexuality was not something to be shunned but was indeed something special with many two-spirits being shamans, leaders and healers. They are accepted as they are -- as they should be.
As the tribe makes it decisions based on its impact for seven generations into the future, he made the right decision for the generations to come -- and for current tribal members.
The garage door people
Rejoice Northern Michigan, you don't have garage door people in your midst!
Who are garage door people, you might ask?
They are the folks who live in the cocoon of opening their garage door, driving out to work, driving home where they open the garage door, drive in, close it and enter their little private domicile. And out here, at least, it means enjoying your walled-in back yard or patio.
Interaction with the neighbors? Almost non-existent.
Give me the wide-open yards of Northern Michigan and the ability to just say "Hi!" or have an extended conversation with my neighbors any day.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey-News Review. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.