Well, hello, there, America! How have you been? Are you enjoying your sequester so far? As you’ve no doubt heard, the Budget Sequester, or as I call it, Showdown at the Douchebag Corral, took effect March 1. Surprising exactly no one, it turns out that the mandated across-the-board cuts to human services and safety net programs will disproportionately affect women and children. This revelation barely elicited a yawn from our sluggish, crisis-addled nation, because seriously, what economic problem DOESN’T disproportionately affect women? It hardly registers as news. I’m still waiting for the day we hear of a recession that devastates single, college-educated white men in their thirties. That would be a headline (sample: Nation’s Bros Face Unprecedented Xbox Austerity Measures).
But back to the crisis at hand. Plenty of people have already compiled lists of the specific cuts that will go into effect, so I don’t need to recount those here. But I do think there’s something in our national conversation about the sequester that bears closer examination, and that’s the moral calculus underlying this “sequester cuts are equally painful to Democrats and Republicans” line we keep hearing. The whole point of this stupid sequester is that the threatened cuts were supposed to be so objectionable to both parties that they’d be forced to come to an agreement in order to avoid them. But my question is, objectionable how? Painful to whom? While the cuts meant to punish Democrats are to human services and will have an immediate impact on families and individuals, the Republican cuts target our enormously bloated defense budget, which even some top military brass say could stand some trimming. So what the bulk of the GOP cuts mean in the short term is the loss of theoretical weaponry that hasn’t yet been built, some of which actually shouldn’t be built, because it’s outdated and unnecessary to our current defense strategies. So when you hear someone saying “these cuts are painful to both parties” stop and take a moment to question whether unemployment, or losing your food subsidies, or being denied affordable housing can really be considered equivalent to the slight impairment of our ability to wage wars of choice whenever and wherever we want. It’s a false equivalence, but it serves the GOP’s purposes well, in that they have effectively taken Democrats hostage with this totally dumbass deal. So! Democracy marches on.
Sacramento Reading Update: In book news, there’s going to be a Get Out of My Crotch! reading in Sacramento on March 20th at 7 p.m. We’ll be at the Coffee Garden, in the gallery; I’ll be there, along with contributor Janet Frishberg and publisher Kim Wyatt, and another reader yet to be determined but sure to be extremely exciting. If you live in the area, please plan to join us! More info to come.
- The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd Sacramento.