Today the sequester cuts became official, and, while those of us who, for some reason, occupy ourselves with the minutiae of Washington BS have some understanding of what just happened, it might have been lost on the casual observer. So here are a few ways to understand it.
1. The sequester narrative was like putting something in front of your door so that you couldn't forget it when you left, and then tripping over it.
2. The sequester is like, a la "My Best Friend's Wedding," making a deal with a friend in high school that if you aren't married by 40, you will marry each other. As time passes, you grow apart, you realize you are very different people, you go your separate ways, make new friends, and you only think about the other person when you see her facebook posts, which are somehow both inoffensive and annoying. Then, at 40, you get married because both of you are too embarrassed to call it off.
3. The sequester is like trying to lose weight by putting all your unhealthy food on one side of your kitchen and then putting a trap that will release a sedating gas if you cross a line on that side of the room. Then you do anyway.
4. The sequester was like going out for lunch with a friend, but then for some reason, you can't decide how to split up the bill, so eventually one of you says, "this is silly, if we can't agree in ten minutes, let's both pay more than we need to and then bang our heads on the table." And then, ten minutes later, negotiations haven't moved, so you both overpay and bang your heads on the table.
Actually the sequester was a lot like that, but that does suggest more equivalence between the two parties. We ought to shake that up a little.
5. The sequester is like a baseball game, where one team, let's call them the Republicists says it won't take the field unless the game only has two umpires. They argue that you can have one for balls and strikes, fair/foul calls and calls at home plate, and the other umpire can make calls at the other bases and in the outfield. The other team, the Demographers, says that's ridiculous, we need an umpire at every base. Both teams are well aware that if they can't agree, the game won't happen, the fans will have shown up for nothing and the stadium staff won't get paid for that day. The shortstop on the Republicists, Juan Bainer, says that he made a couple of offers last season, so he's done negotiating. The starting pitcher for the Demographers, says, okay, 3 umpires, and we charge the rich folks in the box seats a little extra. No way is anyone paying more than they are now, say the Republicists, not even the rich people who are randomly paying less than anyone else. The game doesn't happen, a bunch of rich baseball players sulk, and a bunch of stadium staff see a lighter paycheck, which stings a lot and has ripple effects on the rest of the economy.
Yeah, that's what the whole sequester thing was like. Thanks Washington.