No budging on sequestration - Fiddling while Rome burns 

Street Smarts

Last week an increasingly ineffective and dysfunctional Congress let loose with whole operas of chest-thumping, angry ejaculation, jowl-shaking and finger-pointing while collectively letting the country slip into sequestration (automatic budget cuts). With no one budging, what now?

click to enlarge David Clarkson from Mountain Shadows

David Clarkson from Mountain Shadows is a computer systems analyst

Does sequestration worry you? It won't harm us initially, but something has to happen, and there's going to be some consequences. I'd rather it be resolved without sequestration.

How did we get into this morass? Too many people in Congress putting personal interests before our interests.

Are politics worse today than 10-20 years ago? In the past, the parties compromised to pass important legislation. We actually balanced the budget during the Clinton years, and it was done through bipartisan cooperation, not threat of sequestration.

Is the impasse solvable? Congress is so in the back pockets of special interests and partisan ideology that the only solution, probably, is term limits. That's unfortunate because it throws out good people along with the bad.

click to enlarge Donna Maloney from Black Forest

Donna Maloney from Black Forest is a physical therapist

How up are you on the sequestration imbroglio? To the extent that I hear about it on NPR and the local news, reading the newspaper, and a little word of mouth.

How did we get to this sorry state? Polarization — the extreme right unwilling to give an inch toward the middle.

Are politics worse now than 10-20 years ago? I pay more attention now than 10-20 years ago, so it's hard to say. It seems pretty clear, though, that too many politicians care more about ideology than working their way to common-good solutions.

click to enlarge Molly Martin from downtown

Molly Martin from downtown is a clerk

Does the advent of sequestration worry you? I'm deeply concerned about indiscriminate cuts to programs important for our well-being.

How did we get to this point? Politicians behaving like couples in need of marriage counseling — doing and saying things to hurt each other instead of finding solutions. The Republicans and Democrats hate each other so much they can't compromise on anything because it might make the other side look good.

Are politics today worse than 10-20 years ago? Corruption has been rampant since Nixon, but polarization spiked during the Monica Lewinsky thing. It's worse than ever now with the tea party and half-crazy fringe elements pulling both parties to extremes.


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