Can you believe that we are now three months deep into the Sequester “era”? Yes, thirteen weeks have gone by since March 1st, the day when automatic budget cuts took effect, severely reducing federal spending for years to come…. or at least until such time when donkeys & elephants can meet in Washington and reach another agreement on the budget & deficit issues. At the time when this whole mess started, many political prognosticators were announcing an economic tsunami. The sequester, as they qualified it, was “arbitrary”, “unfair”, “blunt”, “irresponsible”, “dangerous”, “inordinate”, “unconscionable”, “insane”….And many other adjectives that my good education forbids me to mention.
Arbitrary, it is. No question about it. Given the choice, it would have been better and smarter to tailor the cuts to the needs & means of the country and the people who live in it. But the thing is…There was no choice, and, as it may turn out in this case, a bad decision may be better than no decision at all at a time when billions are piling up in the deficit column.
Frankly, the somber predictions we heard back then got me a little bit concerned for the real estate business that just started to get back in the groove after many years of recession or lethargy. Well, I am here to report that the market took the Sequester in stride: the real estate business is strong, Wall Street is on happy ride and the economy is showing great momentum. So much for the tsunami.
Of course it is still very early to suggest that the Sequester is no cause for concern; many of the consequences of the budget cuts will take time to be truly felt in the Defense industry, social programs and by all those affected directly or indirectly. It seems, however, that we are A.O.K. Thank you. Would it be fair to say that there was a lot of noise for very little? Would it be unfair to suggest that most people are so tired of the Washington brawls that they grew indifferent to the prospect of another crisis?
If I were facetious (it happens), I would say that we should never overestimate the wisdom of the powerful, in Washington or in the business world. When they are not in control, I can’t say that things are better, but they are not necessarily worse….I learned that lesson from studying a tumultuous European history.
The traditional political scene in Italy is a case in point. Over the last 60 years, as many as 39 Prime Ministers have been sworn in, most of them after long, agonizing battles in Parliament. You would think that during the power vacuum transitions the country is paralyzed and the people upset and worried…No, over-there, it is business as usual and the people are so jaded & disillusioned about the system that it is more an amusement than a bother.
The Sequester fears came and went. Life goes on and, as we know, it is short. We had our share of bad economic news in the recent past. Enough. The page has been turned. We don’t want to waste precious time reminiscing; we all want to move on to bigger and better things with a positive mind!