Who will blink first in Washington?

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February 26, 2013, 5:53 pm
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(NECN: Alison King) - While the cuts are the part of the sequester deadline that most people are focused on, they are not at the heart of the battle that's brewing in Washington, at least according to some political analysts.

"The situation that they're facing now was designed to be a disaster," says Harvard Kennedy School Professor David King. "It was designed to be a disaster so they'd never have to confront it.  And now it's a disaster I don't think they can avoid."

King says the sequester battle that's playing out in Washington this week is not about an out-of-touch Congress or even about the nation's fiscal stability, since just about all economists, he says, agree that the looming across the board budget cuts would be bad for the economy.

Rather, King describes it as a political crisis that was inevitable and probably needed.

"The country is at a tipping point in terms of our future.  More reliance on government, less reliance on government, the reason the democrats and republicans can't get along right now, is they absolutely won't compromise about the fundamental issues on the role of government."

"One side has to cry ‘uncle’ and right now, President Obama holds all the cards because he's not running for reelection," says Boston University Professor Thomas Whalen.

He says the Friday deadline is a disaster for the Republicans, and that when cuts to start to be felt, at airports, in schools, at hospitals and at high tech firms, it is the republicans who will have to do the explaining.

No politician wants to promote the end to a Children's educational program, or meals on wheels for the elderly, but for those whose goal it is to radically reduce government spending, there is a victory in all this talk about looming budget cuts. I'm talking of course about the Tea Party.

The Tea Party has no problem taking credit for the cuts, but it does put the Republican leadership in a tough position as they say they oppose across the board reductions, especially to the defense industry, but agree with the overall shrinking of the budget.
“It doesn't help the republicans that the Tea Party's already crowing that they are responsible for the sequester, how the sequester is a good thing.  And I can see Speaker Boehner basically swallowing hard when he hears those comments coming from the Tea Party," says Whalen.

One side needs to blink at some point.

Obama has been known to do the blinking in the past, but since he is no longer concerned about the next election, it's the republicans who may have the hardest time holding their stare this time.

Tags: Boston University, Washington, congress, Democrats, tea party, President Barack Obama, John Boehner, Alison King, budget cuts, Republicans, David King, Thomas Whalen, budget battle, sequester, harvard kennedy school
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