While the political machinery is recovering from its collective hangover, the average American got up and went to work, and that buzzing they heard was the Congressional alarm clock. And this time they cannot afford to hit snooze any longer.
The media calls it the fiscal cliff, officially it is called Sequestration. Most in DC are looking at it as the single largest layoff of federal contractors and employees in the history of the Federal Government. If Sequestration is not managed, it will do more to damage the American economy than the housing and banking fiascoes combined. Impacts are estimated to be as large as a billion dollars in lost revenues and millions of people unemployed.
Now I am not going to blow sunshine and flowers. The Federal government I broken, bloated, and needs some serious retooling, but wholesale, uncontrolled cuts are not the way to achieve this. In fact it has contributed to the sluggish recovery as companies that would have been hiring in October actually began laying people off because of the uncertainty caused by the lack of commitment, heck the lack of action by Congress on resolving this issue.
This all started, way back in early 2011 when the United States needed to raise its debt ceiling. How and why they got to this stand-off is a long, tortuous road, but they got there, and the Congress, that group of power hungry politicians who never ran from a chance to avoid working while scoring political points, kicked the can down the road in a showdown over something they varnished with fiscal responsibility. It was as far from it than you could get, and they did it in such a glorious fashion, you could hear the backslapping of congratulations all they way to Arlington. Along came the Supercommittee, a non-solution to a non-solution and of course, they came up with no solution. But there was no time to resolve this. Congress was too busy trying to repeal the Affordable Care act (33 times, in fact) and trying to get re-elected, so yet again, they hit the proverbial snooze button and businesses, already nervous, started shaking like an addict in withdrawal. And their shaking has resulted in a the sloughing of a number of jobs on the fringes of the core, but there is less and less to slough and the time for serious cutting is drawing close.
The election is over. It is now time for Congress to get back to work and fix the myriad of issues, outstanding decisions, and tasks that they have put off for far to long. Call it a Lame Duck session if you will, but these last few months of this session of Congress will be the most important and most impactful in the history of the country. Because if it is not, it will prove to the American people how little the Congress cares about them. And given how low an opinion America has of Congress, that will not be a good thing.