CRISIS IN AMERICA Day Two: The Suffering

March 2nd, 2013

The sequester disaster is into its second day now, and somehow I find that I’m still alive. But the horrific effects of the 2 percent reduction in the rate of growth of federal spending are starting to show through the mask of bravery and old British style stiff-upper-lip, we’ll-get-through-it-somehow raw courage that our noble pResident has donned to help steer a beleaguered, nearly-destroyed nation through its dreadful nightmare:

Day One, A.S., in what was once the capital city of a mighty empire. The Provisional Authority has set up Sequestervilles along the Mall, a labyrinth of clapboard and cardboard and canvas that will swallow you up if you aren’t careful.

The smells.

At night, the sounds.

Some of us from NRO were assigned to a cluster of hovels and lean-tos that has come to be called Ezra’s Alley. Others of us are acres away, on a strip they call Boehner’s Run. Still others are unaccounted for.

There is word of potable water and even some fuel on the other side of the river. But all of the crossings are controlled by the warlords of Alexandria and their confederates. From the tales told of their depravity, you’d rather drown than be taken alive.

We may yet have to chance it. Another journalist — was I a journalist? Am I one now? — another journalist, he was hit in the leg during the disturbances in Foggy Bottom and the wound will not close.

I will not allow myself the luxury of hope. This is all that is real now. They tore a piece of the world off and we survivors are forsaken to wander the 98.5 percent of it that’s left.

I pray you are safe and will send word when next I can.

I hope you all are hanging in there as well. Relief can’t be long in coming; our beloved and benevolent federal government has never failed us before, has it?

Update! Steyn shows his stalwart dedication by keeping his nose to the grindstone and continuing to soldier on with his weekly column. The man is truly a marvel and an inspiration to us all, to keep right on working this way in these post-apocalyptic conditions.

Say what you like about those Mayan guys, but they only schedule an apocalypse once every 5,126 years. Only Washington would try to pull it off every six weeks. If I understand correctly, by the time you read this, the planes will be dropping from the skies; the drip-feeds in every emergency room will be dry; every creature on the endangered species list will have broken free from our pristine federally manned national parks to be left for roadkill in the potholed asphalt of America’s crumbling interstates; you’ll turn on your bathroom faucet only to find the town reservoir choked with fecal coliform; the Ebola virus will be rampant across Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, and other swing states, where it will nevertheless enjoy higher approval ratings than Marco Rubio and every other prospective GOP nominee. The sequester supposedly cuts $44 billion from the federal budget — or from the rate of growth of the federal budget. Whatever. $44 billion is about what the United States government borrows every nine days, so it’s not a lot. But it’s apparently responsible for everything that matters in American life.

That being so, maybe it would be easier to reinstate this critical $44 billion and cut the other $3.8 trillion, which is apparently responsible for nothing other than Harry Reid’s beloved federally funded cowboy-poetry festival and the cost of the dress uniforms for the military detachment accompanying the first lady at her Oscars appearance. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, warned of “over 170 million jobs that could be lost” thanks to the sequester. There are only 135 million jobs in America, but the sequester gods are so powerful they can eliminate every job in Canada, Britain, and Germany too. Why, because of this weekend’s looming Mayan Apocalypse, President Obama declined to deploy a carrier to the Persian Gulf, concerned that it might be left on the other side of the planet completely sequestered with no fuel to limp back home and insufficient stores in the mess-hall larder to cook up federally compliant slop. So, when the mullahs go nuclear and drop the big one on Tel Aviv, it will be the fault of the Republicans for failing to agree to a prudent, balanced, fiscally responsible plan — like the Senate’s latest deficit-reduction proposal, which, as is traditional, increases the deficit (by $7 billion).

It’s not just the U.S. fleet and air-traffic control and clean water that have been swept into the garbage can of history by Sequestageddon, but even the most venerable Beltway colossus. In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, but surely Bob Woodward is here to stay — or so we thought until he ventured some very mild criticism of the president’s negotiating technique, which appears to be a cross between a suicide-bomber and Cleavon Little taking himself hostage in Blazing Saddles.

Okay, that right there is truly hilarious, guys. It may be difficult to perceive the humor through your tears, but I implore you to try. Humor has a healing power all its own in times of devastation and despair, you know.

Minorities, poor hardest hit update! As pathetic as you’d expect, from the very place you’d expect. This, too, is absolutely hilarious–just unintentionally so.

House Republicans were elated this week when their leader, John Boehner, made it clear that deep, automatic spending cuts would begin as scheduled on Friday. Incredibly, some consider the decision a victory.

As the cuts take effect, they will inflict widespread hardship. But some Americans will be hurt more than others, and the people who will be hurt the most are those who are already struggling. In the months ahead, an estimated 3.8 million Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months face a cut in federal jobless benefits of nearly 11 percent — or about $32 a week — all from the recent average weekly benefit of $292. And an estimated 600,000 low-income women and toddlers will be turned away from the federal nutrition program for women, infants and children, known as WIC.

It should not be this way. Deficit reduction should not occur on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. At the insistence of Democrats, most major programs that help the needy have been exempted from the cuts, including food stamps and Medicaid. Democrats also won exemptions for beneficiaries of programs that are not explicitly aimed at low-income Americans but that are crucial to keeping many retirees out of poverty or near-poverty, notably veterans’ pensions, Social Security and Medicare. Still, smaller, vital programs will fall under the knife, in part because they are in spending categories deemed dispensable under the unthinking rules for across-the-board cuts.

Why are the Republicans are so happy when they should be ashamed?

There’s no point in bothering with dissecting this tripe; just sit back and enjoy the screeching hysteria and tears. They are absolutely correct about it being “incredible” that “some” consider this a victory, though–but again, not in the way they think.

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