The Actual Impact on Unemployment from Sequestration

Do you remember the hours of gloom and doom from the Obama administration when sequestration started? The endless bashing of the Republicans and accusations of all the problems – it was like Armageddon was hitting DC. But when you consider that it required them to tighten their belts and make their departments function with less money – to some people that is Armageddon.

Woodward Calls Obama Out on His Sequestration Predictions

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Seems to me that maybe, just maybe the government agencies got a reality check and found ways to cut their spending to stay within the budget amounts they were given. That would be just like the many millions of Americans who have had to tighten their belts and revise their budgets during the extended tough economic times we’ve had the last 5 years….

Here are some details of the reality — are you surprised that it wasn’t even close to the predictions that were made??

This is a report from the GAO (Government Accountability Office) analyzing the actual impact on a good number of the departments in the government. The chart shows the prediction and what really happened – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/sequestration-federal-agency-impact/

Sequestration cost one job in the government – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/7/sequestration-cost-only-one-job-entire-government-/

Sequestration report sparks criticism on overblown predictions – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/05/08/report-on-sequester-impacts-prompts-criticism-of-dire-predictions/

 

 

Republicans Got What They Wanted

In the clamor to blame Republicans for the government shutdown and to claim victory in the agreement to keep the government running for a whopping three months, Democrats are missing the point.  Yes, the GOP’s image took a beating in polls, but so did congress as a whole, and President Obama particularly.

Republicans kept the president on the defensive.  At times he acted like a spoiled child, while other times he acted like a bully refusing to negotiate.  I think everyone knows that the president is supposed to put the country ahead of his desire to get his way.  In my opinion, we don’t have that.

Senator Reid came across as a stodgy, wealthy, old white guy.  Wait a minute, isn’t that what the GOP is accused of being?  Reid has gone on such a power trip who knows if he’ll ever touch down to earth again.  And Pelosi?  Her comments are becoming more and more bizarre, and she appears to be succumbing to senility.

Republicans just might find themselves satisfied with the outcome of this battle.  They kept their main issue, the Affordable Care Act, front and center.   The President had hoped to return from the Congressional recess to push the immigration bill through the House.  Instead, for the better part of the past six weeks, the conversation has been about Obamacare, sequestration, spending cuts, and avoiding fiscal catastrophe.  Even with the newest crisis shoved down the road for three months the sequestration is still in place, which has severely hampered some government agencies with cutbacks and lack of funding.

The battle has, also, shown that Republicans are willing to stand on principle and fight for what is in the best interest of, not only the current population, but future generations that are now saddled with an ever increasing debt.

Julian Zelizer of CNN Opinion stated it this way:

Just as many Americans seemed to accept sequestration, conservative Republicans have not yet felt any serious political threat as a result of their having forced a government shutdown.

Nor is it clear that there will be any negative consequences to them for having gone to the brink of a federal default in their fight for concessions on the budget deal.  If they are left standing, there is little reason to think that they won’t use these tactics once again.  The last month offers them a template.

Furthermore, the current deal simply postpones any decision and actually sets up another round of fights when Congress returns from its winter break in December.  the new year will look very much like the one that came before.

Given the pattern we have seen, conservative Republicans will be just as likely, even more likely, to employ the same kind of aggressive tactics and try to force the administration into accepting deep cuts in domesticate spending if Obama wants to keep the economy in stable condition.

Conservatives will be even more emboldened as they seek to please their constituents going into the 2014 midterm elections.  The deal that emerged from the Senate is simply a continuation of the kind of political chaos that we have witnessed since the 2010 midterms.  Obama will have to start fighting on this issue as soon as the ink is dry.

Obama has spent much of his second term on defense, responding to pressure from House Republicans to cut spending and trying to combat their use of radical procedural weapons.

This crisis was clearly the most dangerous moment for the country.  And it is true that Obama and congressional Democrats walk away having achieved important objectives.  After all, the government is up and running again, at least for the time being, and Congress has raised the debt ceiling, thereby averting a global meltdown.

But Republicans have defined the national agenda and forced a deal that doesn’t resolve debate.  Just the opposite:  It ensures that the fights will continue and the threat of default continues into the foreseeable future.

Until Democrats find a way to reach some kind of long-term budget accord by building sufficient pressure – and electoral support – to push back against the Republican Right, they’ll find themselves on the losing side of this issue over and over again.

Sequestration Tally

I’ve been seeing the various breaking news reports about the things that we are told are being done because of sequestration and I got an idea. Someone should create a tally of all the things the Obama administration claim are happening because less than 3% of the budget has been cut.

Then – they need to take that tally and compare it to the total budget. Would anyone else be surprised if we discover that the actual cost of the things being cut, has no relevance to the amount of the sequestration? It seems the cuts are being done more for the impact they will have, instead of actual cost cutting measures.

Let’s be serious – everyone knows that there is a lot of waste in government. Whether people agree with the “need” for the various departments, and expenditures – there is a lot of money being wasted. However, we can see where people put their priorities.

That reminds me of the fact that tours of the White House have been cancelled, but the White House calligrapher (at an annual cost of $100,000) is still on the payroll.

Let’s cut the excessive staff at the White House, eliminate the raises for politicians and stop the campaign style trips of the president – for a start.