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Man with shocked expression on his face

I was listening tonight to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, someone I respect highly for her investigative journalism, and her willingness to dig into stories we don’t usually hear about.

Well, here’s the strange thing that I learned: We are about to be plunged into a nasty series of budget cuts (about $85 billion just this year) because of something called … ugh … sequestration, aimed ironically at reducing the deficit. This is because they say things are so dire. But, we have actually already seen a 35% decrease in the deficit since Obama’s first full year in office.

That’s right – our budget deficit is shrinking. Only problem is, no one seems to know about it.

“94 percent of Americans don’t know the budget deficit is getting smaller.”   ~ Daily Kos

So only 6% of us are clued in to what’s really happening, and 94% of us think the deficit is increasing – and that’s just fine with members of Congress who want to prove this administration is failing. Why let facts and numbers that show actual progress get in the way of politics?

And they are intent on making sure these draconian cuts go into effect – even though the cuts will mean job loss and basic service decreases affecting everyone in one way or another, even the wealthy, since they travel and use other federal services, as well as local services that rely on federal funding. That’s kinda the way it works. It’s not just THEM. It’s all of us!

Just what we need!

And in turn, that will most likely lead to INCREASING DEFICITS (or at least slow down the rate of improvement) plus a slower economy and significant job loss. Just what we need as we recover from a deep recession. Why would this happen? Less tax revenues and less spending. Not to mention critical programs perhaps ground to a halt, like groundbreaking research aimed at finding cures for things affecting people we know.

But even if most of the country is misinformed (sad as that is), shouldn’t our Congresspeople at least know the truth? Aren’t they asking the simple question “What exactly is our deficit and how is it doing compared to say last year?” Or just simply, if this makes it easier for them, “Show me the money!”

A nice hand-drawn picture

And why isn’t President Obama (and other leaders of either party who know the truth) sending those who don’t know (or feign ignorance to serve their political agenda) a nice colorful hand-drawn picture, with a simple graph and some helpful arrows? It could show THEN and NOW, with a line going up, as in “See, it’s improving!” I know if it were me, I’d be in each and every Congress person’s face! And if they wouldn’t listen, I’d be skywriting this. Or even playing old-fashioned telephone. “Psst. The deficit is shrinking. Pass it on!”

No matter what party you’re part of – and I am not looking to make this a partisan discussion since everyone carries some of the “credit” here – you should be screaming at the utter madness going on in Washington right now. Sequester? Really? If they can’t come up with a better plan to move our economy forward, then I would begin by revoking their salaries. And their fabulous health care benefits. And then go on from there.

Just my take on things. Psst. Pass it on.