Another month, another manufactured political crisis. With just days to go until the mandatory, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration begin to take effect and impact communities across the United States, you might be wondering: Who's to blame for this particular mess?
Republicans claim it's the Democrats. Democrats insist it's the Republicans. We've all heard that before, right?
But whose side is the public on? And does it really matter?
- How Congress Created the Fiscal Cliff
- Who to Blame if the United States Goes off the Fiscal Cliff
- Sequestration, Defense Cuts and the 2012 Election
Despite reports pinning the very idea of sequestration on the White House, 49 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans and 31 percent would blame President Barack Obama if the two sides don't reach some sort of Grand Bargain to avoid the spending cuts before the end of the week, according to a new national survey from the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY.
That's good news, of course, for Obama. But there's a little more to this story.
Despite the Obama White House's attempts to paint a dire picture of life after the sequester, there are a lot of Americans who either aren't paying attention, or who want the sequestration cuts to take effect. The Pew Research Center and USA TODAY poll found that 72 percent of Americans had heard only a little bit, or nothing at all, about the spending cuts.
Nearly half of Americans say the sequestration cuts should be delayed, and 40 percent wish they would actually go into effect.
So while Obama has been out pounding the pavement trying to scare Americans into action, into pressuring their members of Congress to strike a deal to avert sequestration, the public reaction to the mandatory cuts of 2.3 percent, or $85 billion out of a $3.6 trillion budget this year, has been ... yawn.
Congressional Republicans may, in the end, take the brunt of the blame for sequestration. But they'd also be getting exactly what they wanted: Spending cuts, and no tax increases.
Sounds like a pretty good deal.
And you wonder why they're in no rush to bargain with the White House.