The sky is falling because the sky is not falling.
That’s what The Washington Post is selling today. First sentence in its front-page story: “The U.S. economy won’t collapse when the automatic spending cuts start hitting after Friday’s deadline.” A second front-page story worried that the “misery” will not “be universal, meaning that public outcry may not be loud or widespread enough to propel Washington toward a quick solution.”
Even worse: “[T]he federal government is so sprawling” that—brace yourself for this bad news—“millions of Americans may never feel any effect from the cuts.” Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center put our worst nightmare into words: “This is not a situation where on the second of March the lights are going to go off or people are going to be sent home.”
The Post quoted economist Mark Vitner noting, “Federal spending growth helped insulate the Washington area from the worst effects of the recession. … Now that the region is about to get slammed, he said, ‘It’s kind of hard for somebody in South Dakota to get very worried about it.’”
Kind of hard, sure, but South Dakotans are hardy people who can rise to the task. So can the rest of us: Get worried, folks who are home on the range. Fill your conversation with discouraging words. You may not notice the sequester, but remember that the sky will be cloudy all day.