Federal employees would feel the impact
The one warning that echoes across the government is that personnel-heavy agencies can't use accounting tricks to escape the sequester.
Voters hear about longer security lines at airports, which seems somewhat minor compared with hundreds of thousands of civilian Defense Department employees staring down the possibility of a 20% salary decrease. "There is no amount of planning that can avoid these damaging impacts," Danny Werfel, controller for the Office of Management and Budget, told a Senate panel last week.
G. William Hoagland, a budget expert with the Bipartisan Policy Center, says : "The real hurt will come particularly for those agencies that are personnel-intensive. That would mean the Food and Drug Administration, the FAA and other transportation-oriented infrastructure programs, the FBI and TSA."
Federal employees get little public sympathy, possibly because unlike the private sector they don't lose their jobs when they are furloughed. They're often anonymous targets of voter scorn, so it's logical that politicians would formulate a solution in which they bear the brunt of lower expenditures, rather than the Medicare and Social Security recipients who will fuel deficit-spending in the decades to come.
Congress could give Pentagon some flexibility
If lawmakers really dread the hollowing-out of our armed forces, they could grant the military more leeway in transferring cash among its operations and maintenance accounts, according to a recent analysis by Amy Belaso, a specialist in defense policy and budgets for the Congressional Research Service.
The Pentagon could limit "cuts to readiness-related O&M operating forces to 10% to 12%, about half the level that the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned would be dangerous in their January letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
March 1 isn't set in stone
The sequester roars in like a lion on March 1, yet it could easily be modified as part of an agreement on funding the government -- the continuing resolution expires at the end of next month -- or with a deal to raise the debt limit before May 18.
"If this kicks in and remains in force for an appreciable amount of time, I can imagine this discussion getting rolled into the broader discussion of the continuing resolution and the budget for the rest of the year," said Bill Galston, a senior fellow on government policy at the Brookings Institution. One option on the sequester would be keeping the spending reductions, yet giving agencies more discretion in how to make them.
However, forging any kind of agreement on the budget or the debt ceiling might be tough. Democrats demand that any deal -- with an eye toward deficit reduction -- include higher tax revenues. House Republicans say the debate has ended on tax increases.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., recently told The Fiscal Times he anticipates "trench warfare" for the rest of the year on the budget.
More from The Fiscal Times:
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The TRUTH?: This economy went through the grinder the day that Noblaba put his hand onto the bible and was sworn in. Under Noblaba's reign, we have TRILLIONS MORE in debt NOW than W, yet these boards and Dems want the public to blame W for our debts. Noblaba has spent BILLIONS on failed programs, lost BILLIONS with the bailouts of Chrysler (1.6 BILLION) and GM (estimated 12 BILLION lost this is FACT google Treasury loses billions of GM bailouts), yet dems STILL want to blame W. Noblaba and his Dems wasted BILLIONS on "shovel ready jobs" programs that NEVER materialized, yet Dems want to still blame W.
Guys, put down the kool aid. W has been gone for 5 years now. It's time to face facts that your lord and savior has this country's finances in a lethal chokehold, and we are quickly running out of time to break it....
Oh wait, I'm sorry. No worries here. Noblaba will simply level some more forests, and print more greenbacks (which the value is garbage anyway), so we will be ok...
A dis-satisfied customer and voter...
The amount proposed for cuts is a pitifully tiny figure. It pales in comparison to the current interest we pay on the debt. We continue to borrow at record rates, keep wars going, talk of more war, expand welfare, social spending and tax productivity to pay for it. It all ends in ruinous policy making.
The social agenda of the Washington swill drinkers leave me amazed and Oblama is surrounded by clueless ignorants. Democrots and Republicrots should be ashamed at what they have created for our children.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I call your attention to the center ring! And now let me introduce "The Governors" yes, that's right folks! Now the governors are parading in Washington to tell us all about the impending doom of these budget cuts. The governor from Delaware says he'll have to close the state if the cuts go through. Other states will likely do the same. Oh the horror, the horror!
AND THE FREAK PARADE CONTINUES!
President Bush ---the Bush TAX cuts!
O'Bama----the sequester layoffs!
The American people ----- the losers!
Well if oblamo would have passed a BUDGET 4 years ago, and didn't spend taxpayers money at
record breaking amounts the USA might not be living with HIS Mess now...
All he wants to barrow more money from China and drive Americans farther into debt...
Beware Americans..he is the most un-American president the USA has EVER had...
In the simplest terms, the way this is supposed to work is that the executive branch puts together a program and sets it before congress for funding.
Congress monkeys with it and approves a final budget which it then passes back to the executive branch for execution.
There are two current problems with this cycle that have resulted in the sequester nonsense.
First, the executive branch has no idea where money comes from (no, Barack, I do not mean the printing presses over at the fed), what a budget is or that it needs congressional authorization to spend money.
Second, about half of congress is as giddy over blowing the taxpayers money on projects aimed at getting themselves reelected as the executive branch and the rest are being bullheaded about not letting them.
The executive branch needs to understand that its head is not Idi Amin Dada, dictator for life, but just the most recently anointed president.
Congress needs to get out the Webster's and look up COMPROMISE, in all of its shades and nuances and to apply it to getting cracking on passing a real budget for a change.
Fun and games is over kiddies, get to work.
And by the way, Barack, COMPROMISE does not mean "my way or the highway".
Here's a few facts. If America were to reduce the debt by 1% over a 5-7 year period we would be back on track.
Every night America pays it's bills, yes bill are paid in the evening. We take in about $6.5 billion every day but our debt in $11 billion, we borrow about $4.5 billion every single day to pay for our spending. On top of this every single day we borrow $40-50 billion to pay off old debt............ It is vital that this country stops the increased spending.................
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