NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 2, 2013

Who will blink in the game of D.C. chicken?

Big Freddy was tapping his fingers against his newspaper when I joined him, and I asked what was up.

“The blame game over the fallout of spending cuts,” Freddy said.

“It looks to me more like what we used to call a Mexican standoff of two guys with knives at each other’s throats,” I said.

“More complicated than that,” Freddy said. “ This isn’t just about the two parties going head to head. This is also about Obama’s presidency. He needs the House back so he can make the most of it, and he needs the Democrats to take it back two years from now.”

“But the cuts in the federal budget are a drop in the bucket,” I said.

“Just over 2 percent, but they’re cuts,” Freddy said. “Cutting federal jobs is something new. Haven’t for years. Spending is what we know. Doesn’t matter which party’s in power. Spending creates jobs. Cuts means losing jobs. Doesn’t matter that most of them are federal jobs. Jobs are jobs, and we’ve got twice the number Bill Clinton had when he left office.”

“And we’ve got debt up the bazoo,” I said.

“Which you and I won’t have to live with because we’ll be long gone, while our great grandchildren will be paying it off.” Freddy said. “But this has been more about the Congressional elections two years down the road and Obama’s presidency than it has about anything else. Furthermore, compared to our national debt, the cuts are chicken feed.”

“But there was no end to spending in sight,” I said.

“Well, there is now, and the blame game is what this has been all about for both parties,” Freddy said.

“Republicans want cuts. Democrats don’t. Republicans are going to get their cuts. The question is who’s going to do the bleeding. Who’s not? There’s more than one answer to that. It’s in the eyes of the beholders on the left and right, and most just have their fingers crossed.”

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