‘Ulcer Gulch’

Just when you think you’ve seen it all from our lawmakers in Washington, something like this comes along and you realize the situation is even worse than you thought.

On Aug. 2, 2011, our federal lawmakers raised the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion, on the condition that they cut spending by $1.2 trillion this year. If they failed to do that — and so far they have failed to do that — automatic budget cuts of $900 billion will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. ...

Currently in Washington, there is a growing panic over what effects “sequestration” would have on both the military and discretionary spending programs. Most concede that significant action to ward off sequestration is unlikely before the Nov. 6 election. That puts the load on the lame duck Congress, and perhaps a lame duck president, to deal with huge spending cuts at the same time the Bush tax cuts are due to expire, and for good measure, the debt ceiling will probably have to be raised again.

Here in the West, we refer to the confluence of such complex events as “Ulcer Gulch.”

True to form, Congress has now chosen to pass another bill, called the Sequestration Transparency Act, to force the president to specify what will be cut if and when sequestration hits. In other words, having agreed to a deal that would force them to cut spending, and having proven incapable of cutting spending themselves, they now indignantly demand to know how the president plans to cut spending.

Maybe after some new senators and representatives are elected in November, Congress can find the courage and fortitude to deal straight with the American people, and not resort to complicated gimmicks to simply spend less.

We can only hope.

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