GorT made his predictions back in September and while not 100% accurate, I still believe that sequestration is a real possibility. There is growing sentiment that it might not be such a bad thing. The Federal government grew, sequestration just lessens how much it grows. The devil, however, is in the details. The way sequestration is structured, each individual budget account will take a cut. The accounts are not fungible, meaning that if one has accounts for training, labor (personnel), equipment, and facilities, one cannot reallocate money OR CUTS between them. So while a 10% cut to training might not have a significant impact, a 10% cut to the labor pool would be. There are friends and coworkers of GorT who are likely going to have to shift to a partial furlough. This means that they’ll work 4 out of 5 days and take a corresponding pay cut. Some have asked what 20% of their job doesn’t need to be done. A political appointee briefed a group with a rah-rah attitude and was summarily bombarded with very specific and pointed questions like that. He had no answers. This is the government we live with currently and this is the problem with the way sequestration was structured. GorT fully believes, as many sane people working in, around, or for the federal government do, that one could cut 10% of the federal budget expenditures and the result would actually be beneficial – a leaner, more streamlined government. However, this broad brush approach doesn’t accomplish that. Lopping 10% off of a critical program budget area while only taking 10% from a bloated, inefficient budget area makes no sense.
Ideally, I’d like to see sequestration pass but with an amended implementation plan that allows some reallocation of the cuts within a larger budget group. The department-level is probably too high. The problem with this idea is two-fold: (1) politicians will never go for it or propose it and (2) it would take too long to implement. Already the 45-day notice of furloughs have been sent and the 30-day notices are coming soon. All those liberals who said that sequestration and the associated layoffs within private companies (and President Obama’s promise to bypass the WARN Act) was a bunch of nonsense. And what layoffs didn’t happen, I’m sure those companies cut back on hiring which has not helped the economy – just look at the 4Q2012 GDP number.
It would be interesting to see what would have happened had we had a federal budget for the last three years that provided some controls over the federal spending and allowed for some future planning by both the federal government and private industry. Somehow, I think that the economy would be in a better place and sequestration would not be an issue. Not that I’m pointing fingers.