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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sequestration is nearing

Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012, at 8:21 AM

I'm getting increasingly worried about the process of sequestration -- a word everybody needs to know. Essentially, it's a government form of armageddon and it is rapidly approaching.

Sequestration arises out of the "budget crisis" in Congress last year. Forget that the debt ceiling has been raised more than 40 times since WWII (with Reagan doing so more than any other president). For a while, it was manageable, then like a consumer's credit card, in recent decadesit started to spiral out of control. There have been calls to do something about it since the 1960s -- but nobody did. It was far easier to rob Peter in order to give a handout or tax break to Paul. Both parties have held power during that time and neither one wanted to give up their pet projects. A decision delayed is a political victory.

Then last year a bunch of radical Republicans (mainly Tea Party nuts), decided to hold the government hostage unless the debt was immediately reined in. Although they were now government policy makers, they had little idea about how the government works or is financed. To change the patterns on the dishes in the china shop they sent in a bull. The actual "crisis" at the time was fabricated, but it had some very real effects and will lead to a very real crisis later this year.

One of those real effects was a reduction in the U.S. bond rating, which had a serious impact on borrowing rates. It helped weaken and already fragile European economy, and that's important because of how deeply the American and European economies are tied to each other. It's actually important to know how or if the Spanish banks are going to be bailed out and everyone should send a card of thanks to the Germans for saving Europe by serving as the reluctant banker for those bailouts. So, the phony crisis had a major impact on the world economy.

Then there was the joke of the supercommittee. To keep the government running, Congress agreed to create a "bipartisan" supercommittee to come up with recommendations on how to fix the budget (even though there already where some viable plans on the table being pushed by congressmen like Idaho's Mike Simpson and Mike Crapo). The supercommittee started off with its Republican leaders announcing they would be willing to compromise -- as long as the Democrats gave them everything they wanted. The word compromise apparently means something different in Washington, D.C., than it does anywhere else in the world. The Democrats responded by promptly digging in their heels just as deep and the supercommittee quickly became just a soap box for politicians and another waste of the taxpayer's money.

Which left sequestration. As part of the deal struck to continue the government Congress agreed to create a Sword of Damocles over its own head. If, by the end of this year, Congress hasn't created a plan to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, a whole bunch of very bad things will happen -- alll things that nobody really wants to see happen.

For example, look at the military. DoD did more than it's part when it agreed to cut more than $400 billion from its expenditures over the next four years. No other federal agency or department did such a good job of responding to President Obama's call for some belt tightening. Those cuts will leave us with a small, but capable force.

However, if sequestration cuts in, another half a trillion dollars will automatically be cut. We'll become a paper tiger, a hollow force that a well-armed Boy Scout troop could take on. R&D programs would be shut down, costing us the long-term edge in future weapons we've always enjoyed. Development of new weapon systems will be halted. We'll wind up, for example, selling F-35s overseas, while being unable to buy them for ourselves. Right now, we've got the grandchildren of the original pilots flying F-15s, and those planes will have to last us a lot longer than originally intended, despite having had the wings flown off them during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Already, concerned about sequestration, DoD is warning its contractors that a lot of FY13 contracts may be forced to be put on hold or canceled altogether. There is massive confusion and uncertainty in the military industrial complex that forms the backbone of our economy. We may have planes on the ramp out here, but there may not be any gas to fly them.

From Medicare, Medicaid to Social Security and on down through meat and food inspections, national park services and subsidizes to local and state governments, everything is going to get slashed.

Talk to any government employee or official and they're worried.

Yet, with less than 30 days left on the working calendar for Congress between now and the end of the year (the number of days they'll actually be in session) a problem that has been debated without a successful resolution for decades must be resolved. If, of course, anyone were actually talking about it in Congress -- which they're not, as they all jockey for re-election, instead.

Best guess? They'll "delay" sequestration, raise the debt ceiling again and, once again, pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running using a budget first approved four years ago. In effect, they'll bail out once again on their responsibilities.

But then, we should be used to that, shouldn't we?

The definition of insanity is trying something over and over again and expecting different results. The halls of Congress must be filled with rubber rooms because what they're doing these days is downright crazy.


Comments
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NEVER WOULD HAVE WORN THE UNIFORM THAT LONG IF IT WERE ANYTHING ELSE BUT...... DUTY HONOR COUNTRY....MY mom stayed pissed for years she said I wasted my life in the military.she said I HAD BETTER THINGS TO DO AND THAT THE COMMUNITY NEEDED ME..........I SAID THEY HAD HER THAT WAS ENOUGH..........SMILE.........She was and activist till the day she died.....playing today......soul food festival....julia davis bandshell.......hope it's not to hot.....have a great show .....later

-- Posted by lamont on Sat, Aug 4, 2012, at 8:29 AM

I DONT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH DISTRUST THERE IS GROUNDS FOR IT.As far as the other religions are concerned they have all had there time.

Blaming the few for the many......stereotyping is alive and well I KNOW.I wont get into the guns rights business because it is a loose loose situation,literal interpretation is great but this is not 1776 and our society has changed.

Those F-15's wouldnt be better equiped if we had not decided to buy the F-35.We went for newer technology,priority's biggest bang for the buck.That is what happens.I havnt read on the air the air capabilities but my guess would be that it can out turn and climb an F-15.I would also assume it can do that combat loaded.THE F-15 TAKES A HIT COMBAT LOADED,IT WASNT BUILT FOR IT EVEN THE E model.WHAT I AM SAYING IS WE HAVE THE SUPERIOR ACFT UP TO WHAT I HAVE READ SO FAR.

MUSLIMS or not they have proven there mettle and that comes to light when Iran says they will attack Saudia Araba if they are attacked.eNOUGH SAID.......IT wasnt only Al-Jazzera.......LATER

-- Posted by lamont on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 7:31 PM

ZOOK.....are you paranoid....I made no mention of anyone in particular about what appeared in forgien papers.WHAT APPEARED HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING "PC" as it had to do with how the community felt about certain people.Funny thing islam is a major religion in singapore.Just thought I would mention that.ALSO we might try to remember that the Saudies were the only ones to step up after 9/11 and they are still supporting our operations in the mideast.They have one of the largest acft orders in for f-35's,I would think they count.COULD BE SO DID DEFENSE.The rehetoric could also have been a contributer to what kept us from getting the f-35.I THINK THE TRADE MAGS ARE SAYING THEY BOUGHT 140 ACFT FIRST ORDER......that's not to be sneezed at.You can think what you want,but the saudies have more than passed the, your either with us or against us test.That is my opinion you have yours.

WH 67.......THE BOISE PEOPLE DONT WANT THE MILITARY HERE PERIOD.There part of the group that wants to be defended they just dont want to do the defending.YES they did come to the hearings here and I dont feel that they should have anything to say about it when it pertains to MHAFB.FOR INFO PURPOSE.......WE AVG 363 AVAILABLE FLYING DAYS.THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION.

ARE we STILL condemming the many for the actions of a few??I would think we had that sorted out by now.........

-- Posted by lamont on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 3:10 PM

My Dad was the postmaster on base from 1953 to 1965.

Whenever a new closure rumor popped up, he would quietly note a few simple facts:

There were MORE days in the year when planes can fly from MHAFB than most other airfields in the world. The facilities (runways) could handle any aircraft in our arsenal. The surrounding geography can replicate nearly every terrain and weather condition on the planet.

If I were to lay blame for the F-35 issue, I would place it on a very vocal few Boiseans that believe the noise is unpleasant and harmful to the environment.

To me, like the sound of the old JATO bottle on the B-47s, it's just the sound of freedom.

-- Posted by wh67 on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 12:48 PM

THEY were never going to come here.We complain to much about and entity that is ten miles in the middle of nowhere.Plus LUKE has a long history of training forgien pilots no matter what country of origin.We were lucky to get singapore.What we need is a mission which then would give us the assets for that mission.WE close some bases and we will see that happen.I THINK WE WILL GET THAT PLUS,BECAUSE more than one branch of service on and installation will become more and more the way to go.AS A PERSON WHO SERVED AT MTN HOME I REALLY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SOMONE CALLING THE BASE WELFARE.MAYBE THEY SHOULD TAKE THERE TOYS AND GO, AND THE JOBS AND THE MONEY THAT FLOWS INTO THE COMMUNITY WILL GO ALSO.....THERE ARE APPROX 500 FULL TIME CIVILIAN JOBS ON BASE.avg WAGE PROBALLY ABOUT 45 THOU. THAT'S A LOT OF WELFARE.Some of us have railed for more diversified economy for years and it falls on deaf ears so maybe you should join the fight for that.The president has nothing to do with wether we get a fighter wing or not.....you want to lay Blame, Blame your senator who was senior and had some pull who coudnt keep his sex life to himself,that,s a place to start if you need to.

Also consider this....some of our comments on THIS BLOG have been read in forgien papers and news organizations and that is real.YOU CAN BET IT WAS NOT THE MOST FLATTERING ONES EITHER AT LEAST I WOULDNT CONSIDER THEM THAT WAY, THE ONES I READ.I hope you get my point.

I think the American people are leaning towards looking harder at who was working and who wasnt regardless of the issues.Ideaology will have a place but I resent paying someone who is not doing the job .I WOULD TELL MY PEOPLE YOU WILL OPERATE COMMENSURATE WITH YOUR RANK OR I WILL START CONSIDERING DEMOTING YOU TO THE RANK YOU OPERATE AS.tHAT USUALLY GOT SOME ATTENTION.

OUR CONGRESS AND SENATE ARE SELF SERVING AND THAT IS NOT WHY WE SENT THEM THERE........WELL GOT TO RUN LATER

-- Posted by lamont on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 11:40 AM

I just heard on the news that Luke AFB in Arizona got selected for the F-35s.

It seems that our beloved Air Base that this town relies so heavily on for its welfare just got passed over, once again, for choice assignments. Idaho doesn't have the political power to get these missions from DOD, and I'm sure that won't change with Obama and a Democratic regime in the White House. All the more reason to support getting non-government businesses to locate here.

-- Posted by Second Wind on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 8:07 AM

Lamont.

I actually agree with you on this. Lets hold back their wages until they get the job done.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 8:35 PM

THEY CONGRESS KNEW.....SEQUESTRATION WAS COMMING .....THEY PUT IT IN PLACE THEMSELVES.

I call garbage that we should have this argument BOTH SIDES KNEW THEY NEEDED TO GET TO THE TABLE AND GET IT DONE,they knew what would happen if they didnt.

That includes the cuts to the military which has done it's share with voluntary cuts.Again we the people are being bounced around.

SOME OF THE THINGS KELLEY put in his article are not true.THE f-15 first flew in 1972 as and operational asset 1st ftr wing LANGLEY VA.UPGRADES in avionics and structure of the acft has given it a long life.IT is still very capable acft.

MY suggestion would be we the people say we are not going to pay the congress and senate until they get it done.I wonder how long it would take them if we threatened to lay them off or better still FIRE them all.

Welfare needs local administrators who will do there job,and stop the redundancy that is nothing More than a CYA.I said all I need to on that subject before.......

Politically this going right were they wanted it to go........and we are paying the bill.

-- Posted by lamont on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 5:26 PM

Okay, this 3% increase is an option for the WECRD to decide on every year. In the last several years, the Directors have NOT decided to take this option because the economy is in a recession. But by law they have to bring it on the table every year for discussion. With the economy still weak, I don't see them taking the increase this year either.

-- Posted by Second Wind on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 10:44 AM

Right from the WECRD web site under June Minutes:

Continuing Business

A. YMCA --

B. Shaw/Snow Capital Campaign progress

C. Budget for 2012-2013 -- Board needs to decide if they are not going to take the 3%

increase and this must be decided this summer. Treasurer Erwin showed them

some proposed figures. She explained that the 3% increase is 3% of the total

amount levied last year. There has been no increase for the last several years. The

foregone amount sits in the state for a limited number of years until the WECRD

decides to pick it up. There is currently $39,000 in the WECRD foregone amount.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 9:48 AM

Mike, cuts have to be made, we agree. How can you justify 1 civilian employee to every 1.5 members of our active duty personnel? How about government subsidized insurance for agribusiness? How about all forms of corporate welfare? Welfare for citizens bad, welfare for corporations good. Is that your stand?

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 8:53 AM

I know, Observer, but thought I'd ask anyway.

-- Posted by Second Wind on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 6:52 PM

I think that the only people that have been "held" hostage are the American People. We are clearly not getting any kind of bargain with those who are in public service.

Again, I will say that we must insist that our elected officials quit playing store and do their jobs instead of running for re-election.

If we made budget cuts with their salaries and demanded that each federal employee be accountable for their agency budget. Make them pay their share of taxes that are in arrears.

We would finally be making a start instead of all this shoving back and forth. And if we had a President who wanted to be a leader and do the job he was elected to do instead of making campaign speeches and attending fundraisers, there might have been a chance that things would have turned around.

Instead we have a bunch of babies who want to keep their piece of the birthday cake and not be reasonable about how it is distributed. Thus, the people who need more than frosting only get the crumbs and those who are entitled to eat the cake are denied the frosting.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 2:57 PM

OM, can you please site your sources for your assertion that the WECRD is considering raising taxes. What source did you get this information from, how much will the increase be and when will it take place? I'm very familiar with the WECRD and have never heard this.

-- Posted by Second Wind on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 2:23 PM

Yeah, and it is the same paper that puts a positive spin on being taxed for 10 (plus years) and then a group of people being asked to "donate" another 600K so that something can be built. Politicians, reporters and car sales people...not much difference.

Do not report on that fact that the group also is talking about raising taxes...yet again...for the private country club that will be used by the few but paid for by all.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 1:35 PM


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