The Sequester is Coming

It appears that the federal “doomsday” sequester will go into effect on March 1, 2013.  For those of you without a calendar, that is Friday of this week.  In addition, the current continuing resolution that is financing the federal government will expire about four weeks from now on March 27, 2013.  The most recent information indicates that neither the U.S. Senate nor the U.S. House of Representatives has the will to negotiate a deal to avert it—and neither has plans to even try.  A brief film clip from the 1962 movie The Longest Day about sums it all up.  Just insert the word “sequester” for the word “invasion.”  Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFzdleJarI0

The sequester is an $85 billion annual cut in federal discretionary spending each year for the next 10 years.  For those of you who do not do numbers, that is $85,000 million.  The term “discretionary spending” refers to that small piece of the federal pie other than the mandatory spending on entitlement programs, which takes up most of the federal pie in any given year, and interest on the national debt.  The discretionary pie pays for such things as federal funding for research in anthropology and archaeology.  For those of you who do Section 106 compliance projects for a living, the discretionary pie also pays for those federally funded construction projects that may no longer have sufficient funding to proceed on Friday.  How will this all shake out?  I have no idea and neither do you.  We are just going to have to wait and see.  Frankly, I am very worried.

The news media are going to have a field day with this, starting tomorrow, but especially on Friday.  I can pretty much guarantee you that they will have their fingers on the pulse of every gloomy story they can find and will be painitng a sensationalistic picture entitled “The End of the World” as we have known it.

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