The simple truth is, as individuals and a nation we pay most for what we value most. Conservatives in Congress have made it clear that they value corporations and the wealthiest over the middle class and American as a whole. The sequester has brought to light the true nature, morals, and core values of conservative Republicans—they have even offered up their sacred military spending for sacrifice.
Washington and the American public have begun to brace for the senseless and frightening automatic spending cuts that will be released come March 1. The Congressional Budget Office, White House, and hundreds of economist have already made it clear what the devastating effects will be on our economy, national security, and millions of women, children, and men. However, as always, the most fearful aspect of any disaster is the unknown. Once the rubble is cleared, what will be left?
For starters, the quality of our educational system will continue to fall, hard-working Americans will be laid off, and the neediest will go without, while the wealthiest will be allowed to keep their tax giveaways. This will all contribute to the most dangerous and long-lasting impact of the sequester: the erosion of the United States brand image.
The government, once our most well-oiled machine, is losing steam and congressional conservatives has been consistently trying to throw a wrench into it. Our governmental process has slowly begun to deteriorate as Republicans habitually filibuster and push pernicious policies. This is not democracy, the American way, or the core values of the general public.
One of the main reasons America has stood as a pillar of democracy, while others have fallen, is due to the stability of our public sector. Working for the government once meant job security and the ability to earn wages comparable to that of the private sector.
Sadly, serving ones country and the guarantee of economic security and retirement are no longer synonymous. This is the third year in a row that government workers continue to suffer from a wage freeze. The sequester ensures that up to 800,000 workers could be furloughed and thousands of teachers are at risk of losing their jobs.
Our nation is experiencing a brain drain from within. Obama addressed this issue during his State of the Union address when he said, “It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government” to solve our current crisis and prevent future ones from happening. To ensure we have the most effective and efficient government, the public sector needs to be able to compete with the private sector in order to recruit America’s best and brightest.
Government service should be valued in such a way that the people who add the most to our society are paid accordingly. Instead, the individuals who keep us safe and teach the next generation will be put on the chopping block while CEOs and bankers go unscathed. The sequester is not worth risking the reputation and image of the United States.
The American public knows this; when will conservative leaders acknowledge it? This week, a poll found that “by more than a 2-to-1 margin Americans believe Obama is doing a better job overall than Republicans at attempting to unify the country.” This is not a partisan issue: out the 62 percent that believe the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 36 percent were Republicans. The party’s toxic ideology is simply not aligned with the public’s, only work for a few, and are poisonous to future generations.
Democracy, equality, and opportunity—all core values of America— will be tarnished. These are the true consequences of the sequesters actions. Conservative Republicans have already started to erode their brand image; we can’t let them do the same to the rest of the United States.