The Edmond Sun

February 25, 2013

Get ready — sequestration will hurt us

Phil G. Busey Sr.
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — We are stronger as one. Americans are entitled to willing compromise among leaders. The Congress and elected are caught up in their beltway power forgetting who they serve: All of us, not just a few. The principles of our government have been of and for the people.

American families struggle daily, making ends meet and working hard. Some parents hold down two jobs to get by and provide their children hope for a better tomorrow. Obtaining health care and just paying the utilities is a constant challenge. Too many are at or below the poverty level. They don’t know what it is to walk the corridors of power in Washington. They do know the decision makers trusted with their votes are acting like children on the playground.

However, politicians think no action is safer than any, but at great price and for whose benefit? This is on both parties. In business, we could never get away with — let alone survive — gridlock and failures in deciding actions.

Make no bones about it, sequestration is a bad idea. Its fiscal damage will be long-term. It doesn’t have to be. Incredibly, it is the product of congressional imposed “no decision.” In the defense industry, people paying the price of this “no call” include shamefully hundreds of thousands of civilian workers. Oklahoma will be hit hard as a result of an insulated Congress, polarized and obsessed by political outcomes.

Besides cutting defense deployments and orders for aircraft and equipment, more than 800,000 employees nationwide will be furloughed for 22 days. At some installations, salaries will be reduced by 20 percent and part-timers will be laid off. Congress is playing with people’s lives. This translates to a potential $129 million in lost payroll for Oklahomans alone.

Politicians hold their fates in their hands but don’t have to worry about salary or benefits with a Cadillac health-care option, a great salary of $ 174,000 and a guaranteed pension. They do not face the same future uncertainty as the people they represent. So why bite the bullet or reach any solutions? They are OK, regardless.

Sadly actions and entrenchment on party and political ideologies has far-reaching consequences. America will not decline because of its people, but possibly as a result of lack of expected leadership. Again, we sit at the brink of a self-inflicted crisis that can lead to billions of cuts, job loss and economic set back. This is squarely on the administration and Congress’ inability to find the guts to compromise. The world wonders why American leaders cannot lead. So do Americans.

Together, the American people have endured countless tests — as one. The words now for politicians  are “accountability” and “responsibility.”  The people make life-changing decisions daily. So must Congress — now.

PHIL G. BUSEY SR., an Edmond resident, is chairman and CEO of The Busey Group of Companies.