The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 25, 2013

Our View: Mayhem coming in May

— Call it “cliff fatigue” or a “bipartisan awakening.” Somehow, someway, 535 members of the 113th Congress have managed to keep the federal government running through the end of this fiscal year without putting the nation through yet another round of political brinkmanship.

Granted, it’s just a “continuing resolution” that avoids any of the hard and real decisions still looming on the horizon and allows an annual deficit larger than all federal spending combined in that long ago year of 1984, but one island of refuge in this sea of partisanship we’re currently adrift in is better than none.

The dreaded sequester, however is left in place. While the Pentagon gets some new flexibility to manage cuts, the White House will remain closed to public tours. Vacationing Americans will find national parks closed or scaled back as the cuts are made as public and painful as possible.

Network and cable news channel producers are already lining up their eyewitness-to-pain stories to show the personal side of arbitrary budget cutting, while supporters of government everywhere are practicing how many times they can insert the words “fair,” “balanced,” “smart” and “dumb” into a 3-minute television segment.

The coming drama aside, the fact remains that, for now, one crisis has been averted and your federal government — albeit a “sequestered” one — is funded through September.

But don’t get too comfortable. By mid-May we once again bump up against that villainous debt ceiling. In his weekly press conference, House Speaker John Boehner let it be known that the plan is to extract dollar-for-dollar spending cuts for every dollar of additional debt.

So, if March Madness doesn’t quite go your way this year, don’t feel too bad. Mayhem in May is just around the corner, and it’s going to be a doozy.

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