Politicians use scare tactics, threats, and target public services that people need when they want money. If they cut the pork, nobody will care, so they talk about airport congestion and cuts in border security, and other things the government does that are important to people. They do not talk about spurious research grants, reduced building in Washington, congressional staff layoffs, a delayed ramp-up of Obamacare, or IRS layoffs.
American citizens had their taxes raised more than 1% last year, causing them to figure out how to live with less money, and most of them, poor or rich, highly educated or street educated, are able to figure out how to adjust. Taxpaying citizens have been learning how live with haircuts in the form of tax creep since income tax was passed in 1913. The current threats by government officials are a symptom of a government trying to hold its citizens hostage, not a government trying to live with a haircut.
The only method that politicians and bureaucrats know how to use is extortion, because their livelihood depends on the taxpayers. But, in a Democracy it is not the job of government to tell its citizens what it needs; it is the job of citizens to tell the government what it will do and what it will get paid. When the citizens, through their representatives, are unable to pass a budget, then a sequester is a very good idea to force some accountability onto an irresponsible system.
In the economic sector, people produce and trade products, creating a win-win situation; but the government sphere is based on force, not production. Every government transaction is a win-lose situation. When the government makes the decision, it wins and the citizens loose. This is why societies with free economies grow and government-run economies collapse. When government officials threaten you with force, it is because force is the only tool they have to get more money out of you. This is why words like “children,” “security,” and “convenience” are always paraded in appeals for more taxes.
When threats of layoffs and inconveniences in key areas are more than the 1 percent across-the-board haircut, you know that it is not really the result of the sequester, but because the government officials and bureaucrats do not want to solve the budgetary problems, but just pass them off on the taxpayers. They win, the people lose. Why do you think so many people want to become federal workers?
Unfortunately, for people living today, the United States has reached a point where increases in taxes leads have reached their tipping point. Tax increases now lead to decreased tax revenue because the incentives to produce and grow the economy have been removed by law. The solution is not to hire more IRS agents to take from the dwindling supply of American wealth; the solution is to ask those in government to act with justice and self-restraint. The sequester was an attempt to do that because the U.S. credit rating is threatened; and the squealing of government officials is a symptom of their inability to to do what they have been asking citizens to do.
It is time to ask our political representatives to exercise some self-control. Of course, as I outlined in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, the system has been transformed by a series of laws, constitutional amendments, and congressional rules into a system that feeds off of the citizens rather than works for them. Structural reforms that reverse this process are necessary to once again make Washington responsible to American citizens and not treat them as serfs but live civilly by the same rules they impose on taxpayers.
Postscript March 12: The White House has shut down all tours for visitors in the name of the sequester. This is proof that the administration, too, is playing politics by eliminating services Americans enjoy while protecting its personal interests. If the 1% haircut was applied across the board, we would have seen 1% fewer hours of White House visitor tours.