George Graham

What’s Really Happening with the Dreaded Sequester?

Scanning the news of the day, you’re likely to read about the latest (unconstitutional) Republican bill banning abortion (again) or repealing Obamacare (already established by the Supreme Court as the law of the land) and – of course – some trumped up scandal about Big Brother government or IRS malice or whatever other lurid fiction Rep. Darrell Issa can conjure up.

But, generally speaking, the political media are  not that excited about the dreaded “sequester” that took effect March 1.

What’s up with that?

One story resulting from the sequester spotlights a Republican-led assault on food-stamps that would leave millions of children hungry. But there’s not much in the news about the big picture.

The media assure us that “the economy” is steadily – if slowly – improving. The stock market is rolling right along.  Jobs are doing OK (I guess Walmart and McDonald’s are hiring).

What on earth is going on?

The sequester’s budget ax is supposed to fall just as severely on the military-industrial complex, but is that really happening? I read recently that the Air Force is grounding a third of its combat aircraft, but what does that mean? How can America afford to send arms to the Syrian rebels if it can’t keep its own jet fighters in the air? How can America keep spending billions to fight that absurd “war” in Afghanistan?

There doesn’t seem to be much of an impact on the war machine, as far as I can see.

It makes me wonder. Did President Obama fall into a Republican trap when he agreed to sequestration as the fallback for failure to reach a budget deal with the House of Representatives?

Does the sequester really mean hardship only for the poorest of the poor, the 48 million Americans who need food stamps? Is it devastating those who rely on programs like Meals on Wheels and Headstart but having no impact on the rest of the country? Is the sequester really an underhanded way for Republicans to destroy the social safety net?

And are we, the public, blindly letting a catastrophe unfold while politicians and the media distract us with theatrical – but peripheral -issues?

Sure looks like it to me.

Click here for the latest on the budget battle.

Click here for a Q & A on the sequester.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for