A game of baseball: sequestration

Sequestration is inside baseball, and must be played as such.

This weekend I was delighted to find the robins are back from their winter migration. For the Blair family this can only mean one important thing — baseball season is near! With pitchers and catchers reporting earlier this month, we’re just a few weeks away from 162 games filled with excitement, heartbreak, and if you’re lucky, a chance to see your team play long after the robins have fled for warmer climates.

budget being cut by scissorsI love baseball even more than I enjoy politics, and I find there are many parallels between both. For one thing, you can’t be a fan of either if you can’t play the through the entire season. This requires the ability to accept a loss from time to time. For example, despite being the undisputed champions, the 2012 World Series winning San Francisco Giants lost nearly 42 percent of their regular season games.

With the political landscape of our country divided nearly equally, political losses are going to happen. The key isn’t winning every game; it’s keeping the team healthy while winning enough to still be playing when it really counts.

Both sides would be wise to look to the sequestration deadline debate as a major league baseball manager would. Neither side can expect to win this debate unscathed. If both sides try, the primary losers are going to be the American public.

While I am happy Republicans have finally started to remember they’re supposed to be the party of smaller government, cutting equally across the board, while principled, would be foolish. This is the equivalent of an American family taking a pay cut and deciding they are going to put their annual Starbucks expenses on equal footing with their heating bill.

Conversely, the Democrats are also foolish in this matter. No fans of defense spending, they’re quite happy to see these cuts aimed at the DoD. This is the equivalent of not paying your heating bill because you hate big oil. In the end you’re left living in a cold house, or in this case, a nation vulnerable to attack.

The elephant in the room is the fact that both sides may end up believing there doesn’t have to be any political losers by letting sequestration play out. Republicans finally get to appear to be standing on their small government principles. Democrats get the defense cuts they’ve been wanting for over a decade.

Jason Blair is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter @jasonblair79

Jason Blair is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter @jasonblair79

Unfortunately, in baseball and in politics there is no clock to run out, and if you are tied after nine innings, the game plays on. Pitching in relief for the Democrats is the main stream media. This may have been the president’s idea originally. However, if sequestration is allowed to play out, every time a bad jobs report is issued or GDP slows, guess who the tail is going to be pinned on? Hint: it isn’t the donkey.

Moreover, what kind of leverage will the Republicans have going in to the upcoming debt ceiling debate if the wounds from the last debt ceiling debate are still fresh and being painted by the media as massive layoffs caused by Republican cuts?

Allowing the effects of sequestration to stretch out this far was a tactical error made by the House. If Republicans cannot find a way to minimize the impact of sequestration on the DoD without giving more to the Democrats, they’re going to need to bite the bullet, give them what they want and take a tactical defeat. Better to keep the bullpen rested for May’s debt ceiling negotiations than to have to try to fight the next series with tired arms.

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  1. […] A game of baseball: sequestration (thebrennerbrief.com) […]

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