Dear Madame L,
Don't you think you're being a little harsh about the "sequestration" that Congress seems to be getting ready to subject federal agencies and departments to? For one thing, unless you're a federal employee or a family member of a federal employee, it won't affect you, right?
Not So Worried
Dear Not Worried,
Madame L doesn't think she's being harsh or overly concerned --- or anything except painfully realistic --- about what may happen if March 1 comes and goes without Congress discharging its duty to take care of the federal budget and all those who are affected by it (i.e., every single American).
An official of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) explained last Friday, as reported by Federal Daily, that there is "no way" to avoid furloughing "hundreds of thousands" of federal employees if a sequester goes into effect.
Every program and every account will be affected equally. Even those hypocritical Republicans who keep wanting us to find new wars to fight and new funding for Dept. of Defense-related projects in their districts will not be able to save the DOD and its military and civilian employees and its contractors.
OMB Federal Controller Danny Werfel said the $85 billion in mandatory cuts would be applied to every federal government account, each one being forced to be cut by a certain percentage. The agencies won't be able to move money from one account to another that seems more important. And that's because "the way the sequester law is written....underneath the account, even at the Program, Project and Activity [level], they all need to be cut by that same percentage."
Werfel said the cuts would create "a serious crisis in military readiness and pose the risk of creating a hollow force."
On the domestic side, he said, "The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture would have to cut back on food inspections, leaving the country more vulnerable to public health risks due to food-borne illnesse. The FBI would have to reduce its law enforcement capacity. FEMA would have to eliminate funding for firefighters and other emergency personnel. And the Justice Department would have to furlough hundreds of federal prosecutors."
Madame L wonders if any Republicans are listening. In case they are, and in case You, Dear Reader, have a Republican Member of Congress, please write to him/her to let him/her know how displeased you are with the Republican Party's malfeasance.