Phil Gramm is the Forrest Gump of financial calamity. Time and again, his face appears at key moments in history. Unlike Gump, Gramm is usually planting the seeds of future disaster whenever he pops up.
Former Texas Senator Gramm is best known for his fine work dismantling financial regulations in the 1990s, which helped bring us the financial crisis of the mid-to-late-2000s. But he is also the intellectual father of the latest nightmare deviling the economy: the sequester.
Gramm was co-author of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, in which the idea of the "sequester," or "sequestration," was introduced as a fancy term for "nightmarish budget cuts." In fact, Gramm was the guy who introduced the idea of using sequestration as a whip to goad policy makers into cutting the deficit, Marketplace points out.
Though the "sequester" is a purposefully obscure euphemism that helps politicians avoid taking blame for nasty budget cuts, Gramm tells Marketplace that its obscurity was not intentional; he seems to believe that everybody knows exactly what is meant by "sequestration."
For the record, Gramm's fingerprints are nowhere near the latest version of sequestration, those budget cuts set to start taking effect on March 1. That is the handiwork of current Republicans in Congress and President Obama, who put the latest round of harsh budget cuts in place as a goad to force them to come up with a longer-term compromise on solving the budget deficit. That didn't work out so well, and now the economy is about to be sequestered to death.
That is not Gramm's fault, but Gramm owns the patent on the murder weapon.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place