EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 8, 2013

A look at what others are saying

The following is a look at editorials published by other newspapers across New England:

Apocalypse not

To hear President Barack Obama tell it, we should soon begin feeling something like the apocalypse.

Most of us have already shrugged our shoulders. We have become so accustomed to near-misses, last-minute deals and cans being kicked down the road that we don’t get very excited anymore.

You say the restrooms won’t work at Acadia, some federal workers will work four days rather than five and an aircraft carrier is stuck in Norfolk?

Yeah, whatever.

The federal sequestration that went into effect last Friday cuts $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget, or about 2.3 percent.

Obama has been barnstorming the country predicting that the “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” government programs.

Republicans, meanwhile, point out that federal spending has increased 17 percent since the president first took office and even after the cuts the government will spend more than it did the year before.

Indeed, these cuts will only slow the growth of the federal debt, not reduce it.

Consider the U.S. Department of Transportation, which received $75 billion in 2011 and then $89 billion in 2012, an increase of $14 billion.

Yet, when confronted with a mere $600 million cut, Secretary Ray LaHood threw up his hands and said he will start by furloughing air traffic controllers and there will be flight delays.

You would think he might start with something like trimming janitorial services or landscaping.

That he doesn’t could lead a cynical person to wonder whether LaHood was selecting cuts to have the maximum rather than minimum impact on travelers.

The biggest problem with sequestration isn’t what it does, but what it fails to do: restructure entitlements and taxes.

Republicans seem to be saying there is no more revenue to be raised or expenses to be cut by examining the vast array of government tax breaks and subsidies. That’s absurd.

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