This week we had two events that normally I wouldn’t combine in a thought process, but my strange sense of humor had one of those crazy ideas at about 2 A.M. one morning, and voila here is the combination — sequestration and the March “snowstorm.”
Why are they similar? Primarily because of the time we have all wasted talking about both and worrying about both. In D.C., all one heard about before March 1, 24/7, was that the world was almost coming to an end if some last minute deal was not struck before sequestration took place. We had Republicans and Democrats beating their chests and warning of dire consequences. We had the President go on national TV and argue that our security and safety were going to be threatened.
Hmmmm … So we probably don’t yet know all the ramifications and there is no doubt that this was one of the stupidest ways to try to trim the budget. If we tried something like this with our household expenses and payments, our 5-year-olds would laugh at us. However, as the President said after the sequestration became reality, it really was not going to cause the end of the world or the grounding of all defense units. After all, the President, and the Cabinet Secretaries, can organize some of the cuts. In addition, as everyone now admits, the sequestration this year only cuts two cents of every dollar. Next year, however, is a different story if the Congress and White House don’t come up with a proper budget for 2014. The cuts will be heftier so let’s hope some sense prevails in the nation’s non-functioning capitol. This Saturday Night Live skit explains it best.
Much to my amusement, this crisis was followed immediately by the weather crisis of snow in March in D.C. For those of you who have the joy of living elsewhere — and not having television — you might have missed the four days of panic about the upcoming giant storm. So everyone panicked and cleaned out the shelves of the grocery stores because for some reason a foot of snow equates into the need for 44 rolls of toilet paper per person and at least four gallons of milk. (Okay, so I exaggerate slightly – but only slightly!) In addition, there is a run on the hardware stores for the salt to melt the snow and for snow shovels. Now, it snows a little every year in D.C. so I want to know why each year people have to buy a new snow shovel. I’ve had mine for three years and it still works
Then, in addition to the run on grocery and hardware stores, the local electricity companies — who did such poor jobs in the past that they are now paranoid about criticism — make robocalls to their customers. The verbiage is something similar to the following, “Due to the impending storm, we want you to know that we have extra crews standing by to repair the electricity. You may well experience an outage and here is the number to call to check on the progress.” i.e. “We have just spent a small fortune of your monthly payments to be prepared and you should all be thrilled that we think we are going to lose electricity because we still have above ground electric lines strung on poles across the city.” Really? Please.
Clearly the news doesn’t have enough to do so they have fun beating any subject to death. Of course, it means the next time they predict a storm, none of us will respond, and we will have a blizzard. Or the next time the government says the world is almost at an end, we’ll ignore them and the world might collapse. Perhaps all of them should re-read the fable about Chicken Little and remember what “the sky is falling” is all about.