The deficit that should concern us most right now has to do with time, not money. Money can be recouped. Time just disappears.
And time is what Washington is wasting on an utterly artificial crisis, driven not by economics but by ideology, partisan interest and an obsession over a word — “sequester” — that means nothing to most Americans.
Here is the most important thing about the battle raging in the capital over $85 billion in automatic spending cuts: Republicans are losing the argument but winning the time war.
The more time we spend on pointless disputes about budget cuts no one is expected to make soon, the less we spend trying to solve the problems that confront us today — and, God forbid, thinking about the future.
The 2012 election gave President Obama new authority and new energy. Republicans want to place as much distance between themselves and that election as they possibly can. From their perspective, the more months we fritter away on these dumb, fake emergencies, the better. As Obama’s clout slowly diminishes, so will his opportunities to press his priorities.