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How Sequestration Will Affect Federal Research Agencies 277

Posted by samzenpus
from the turning-the-lights-off dept.
carmendrahl writes "Unless Congress and the White House act before March 1, the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester will kick in. And federal agencies are bracing for the fiscal impact. Federal agencies and the White House are releasing details about how these cuts will affect their operations. If the cuts take effect, expect fewer inspections to the food supply, cuts to programs that support cleanups at former nuclear plants, and plenty of researcher layoffs, among other things."
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How Sequestration Will Affect Federal Research Agencies

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  • spring time... flu season [reuters.com], isn't it? Comes summer with increased risk of food poisoning?
  • Monthly dance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:34AM (#42977609)

    You know they will somehow extend this hard deadline, just like the last.. three times? I lost count.

    • Re:Monthly dance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hsmith (818216) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:53AM (#42978315)
      How terrible - we go back to spending levels of 2011! It was like we were a third world then!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by halltk1983 (855209)
        Well, kids, unless Dad and I can get another credit card I think we might have to cut back on your toy purchases, cause God knows we're not cutting back on cigarettes or McDonalds! It's all those damn credit card companies fault you're not getting birthday presents, and definitely not our budgeting ability!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Weak metaphor, mostly because the US has no issue raising money, alas our rates are at record lows. Additionally, comparing government finances to personal finances is completely assinine and shows incredible ignorance on the subject.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by grep_rocks (1182831)
          Insightful? - well fuck me, people are idiots -low interest rates mean people _want_ to loan you money, Greece has _high_ interest rates because they are tied to the euro and people are unsure whether they will have enough euros to pay their debt, wheras in the US we have low interest rates because people need a safe place to put their money where they know they will be paid back, if fact rates are so low we pay less servicing our "exploding debt" than we did 10 years ago when nobody cared about the debt -
          • Just because we have people wanting to lend us money doesn't mean we should take it. Do you sign up for every credit card offer that is sent to you just because it means that you could buy a 4th TV for the kid's bedroom? Just because I have banks wanting to lend me money doesn't mean I should take it. Instead, I try to balance my personal budget, keep my overall debt low, and only buy niceties when they are directly affordable. My point above was that while people want to lend us money, we're at the tip
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by grep_rocks (1182831)
              We are - we are at the tipping point? how do you know? When the economy starts to recover interest rates will go up and so will tax income, the reason we are running a deficit is because people are unemployed, not paying taxes and collecting benefits, the deficit was much smaller before the recesssion even with the bush tax cuts and war spending and it went up because people stopped paying taxes because they didn't have a fucking job and the government had to pay them unemployment - when people get jobs the
        • Great in theory, but the question then comes "What are toy purchases and what are cigarettes? And what's actually healthy food and shelter?" Everyone sees areas of government we'd like to cut, the problem is my vision rarely corresponds with yours.

          Or, in other words, I'd like our government to hurt and kill people less, and help people about the same or maybe even a little more. Such nice liberal sentiments are, however, not shared by 50% of the population.

          • Families have these same issues. The stay at home mom needs the cable for the kids to sit in front of the disney channel, the dad needs a BMW so that his coworkers don't talk about him around the water cooler, Johnny needs nikes and Suzy has to have the latest pre-ripped jeans.

            Budgeting sucks. No one is going to be happy. Cuts have to happen across the board. Mom gets netflix, Dad gets a focus, Johnny gets New Balance and suzy gets Target jeans that rip on their own. Everyone is unhappy, but at leas
      • How terrible - we go back to spending levels of 2011! It was like we were a third world then!

        Not only that but if Government spending, which is ultimately wealth taken out of the economy after the productive parts of the economy produced it, is so bloody important that we're all going to starve and die if it is lost then that is both extremely sad and scary.

  • by MrDoh! (71235) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:39AM (#42977635) Homepage Journal
    So there'll be the inevitable food poisoning outbreak, nuke reactors not getting the full checks (one would hope they were doing it right before, anything less...), oh, and the weather warnings will be heavy hit with "NOAA expects 1,400 contractors would be let go, 2,700 positions would not be filled, and 2,600 employees would be furloughed." Well, that's one way for people to help deny climate change "What hurricane? I see no hurricane"

    Sheer bloody idiots. They couldn't get their act together to get sensible budgets, so now we end up with this. Shame it's not tied into Politicians' pay, but they're probably getting their cuts of the pie from the people who will benefit from all this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sooner Boomer (96864)

      Shame it's not tied into Politicians' pay,

      Actually, their pay (Congress/Senate) is supposed to be withheld until the sequestration ends.
      If this is the end of the civilized world, as some are fearmongering it, why was Obama out on a golf vacation instead of working on the budget? Does this show how seriously he takes it? Sequestration was his idea after all.

      • Re:Chaos (Score:5, Informative)

        by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:49AM (#42978289) Homepage Journal

        Actually, their pay (Congress/Senate) is supposed to be withheld until the sequestration ends.

        Unlike the rest of federal employees who won't get their pay back after sequestration ends, congressmen/senators will.

        If this is the end of the civilized world, as some are fearmongering it, why was Obama out on a golf vacation instead of working on the budget?

        It is the legislative branch who has failed to act, not the executive.

        Does this show how seriously he takes it? Sequestration was his idea after all.

        Though Obama proposed the idea, 174 House Republicans, a majority of the majority, joined 95 Democrats to pass the plan. So Republicans arguably own the sequester as much as Obama, if not more so, since Obama never wanted to link spending cuts to the debt ceiling.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fifedrum (611338)

          oh bullshit. Stop regurgitating the party line. Though, you're probably getting paid to do so.

          The level of cuts are miniscule, so minor as to be meaningless. The whole story is propaganda to try and shore up Obama's numbers and lay the blame for the entirety of the failed economy on someone else. That's right, let's blame the minority in the legislature, not the leader. There's no way the tiny level of spending cuts are going to impact every single person working for the government. It's complete bullshit a

      • The pay withholding is just a whole 'hey, look at how determined we are to make this right!' political ploy. That part of the law is unconstitutional (directly violates the 27th amendment), so it would never be upheld under scrutiny. Congress has no power to affect their own pay until the next session comes into play (so if you don't like them getting a huge raise, you can vote in different people).

        While I agree it's not the end of the civilized world, it is a sad state of affairs when the only way to get

      • If this is the end of the civilized world, as some are fearmongering it, why was Obama out on a golf vacation instead of working on the budget? Does this show how seriously he takes it?

        Work on? What work is there to be done on it? More sitting in a room with Boehner et al with everyones arms folded glaring at each other? Suggesting a few more times that they cut each other's pet projects? Suggest again that taxes be raised, and say again "no! We took a sacred blood oath to Norquist!"

        There's no work to be done besides convincing the other that they're not going to cave. Going on vacation might be the best way to show republicans he's not budging. Though it seems like terrible PR

    • Re:Chaos (Score:5, Funny)

      by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:50AM (#42977703)

      "expect fewer inspections to the food supply..."

      Over here in Europe we have tons of Horse-Lasagne that we can finally drop off then.

    • by medcalf (68293)
      But the bunny inspectors will continue to be fully funded (yes, we pay people to inspect stage magicians' rabbits) and the money will keep flowing to the cronies of the President and various congressvermin.
  • Same old same old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:41AM (#42977653)

    Whenever a government department is threatened with cuts, they announce that they'll cut front-line staff and not overpaid managers or worthless paper-pushers. That's why government spending expands forever until the economy collapses.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      Unfortunately, the same can be said about private companies, or any other human organisation. Humans will be humans, you know.
      • by JWW (79176) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:59AM (#42978347)

        Bullshit. Private companies, when faced with budget shortfalls, make across the board budget cuts all the time. It's a very common tactic.

        This fear mongering is making me sick. $80 billion in cuts is going to "cripple" our $3.4 Trillion government? They are they lying their asses off.

        • Re:Same old same old (Score:5, Informative)

          by john.r.strohm (586791) on Friday February 22, 2013 @09:09AM (#42978413)

          From a David Casey online newsletter, courtesy of a friend's blog:

          Lesson #1

          US Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
          Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
          New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
          National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
          Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000

          Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

          * Annual family income: $21,700
          * Money the family spent: $38,200
          * New debt on the credit card: $16,500
          * Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
          * Total budget cuts so far: $385

          • Sorry, that should be Doug Casey. The URL for his piece is http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/lessons-argentine [caseyresearch.com], the table is near the end.

            I got it from http://howardleeharkness.com/2013/01/how-did-we-get-in-this-mess/ [howardleeharkness.com]. He's an old friend. Note that he corrected one of Casey's numbers, where Casey slipped a decimal point.

          • Re:Same old same old (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Celarent Darii (1561999) on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:23AM (#42979037)

            The analogy is interesting, but it fails in one crucial aspect. A family doesn't really own the money that they spend - their resources are necessarily limited as they do not own the source of the means of exchange (namely the money). If a family was to operate like the government does, it wouldn't last very long.

            However, by definition, a government is there to regulate the means of exchange, and thus is not limited to a budget in the same sense as a family is. The government can print money for instance, or regulate its worth by modifying the exchange rate with other economies, or even mandating fixed pricing on certain goods like gasoline. The government doesn't pay bills in the same way that a family does. So the question of a budget is not applicable in the same sense as for a family.

            So it might be an interesting analogy, but fails at the most crucial point - a government is responsible for the value of the currency, a family merely uses the currency of the government.

            • by JWW (79176)

              That the government is responsible for the currency only makes their current way of doing things even more reprehensible.

              Every time the government borrows they are shrinking the value of the dollars in our pockets.

            • So it might be an interesting analogy, but fails at the most crucial point - a government is responsible for the value of the currency, a family merely uses the currency of the government.

              A gov't has limited control of the "value" of currency.

              If the gov't is printing money like there's no tomorrow, it triggers this effect called "hyperinflation" - and the value of money drops based both on the current amount in the market, and the expectation it will continue to drop in value.

              The gov't *can* use inflation pay its own bills; but it does tremendous economic harm to society because it really boils down to an obfuscated wealth tax. (That hits the poor and middle class the most)

          • perfectly true - except for the fact that the "family" can borrow money at a rate below inflation and can print money at will - there is no comparison between family finances and a goverment that controls its own money - what a crock of shit
        • Like many rich folks, the government extended its budget so that it could barely get by on what it brings in. They need to learn to live within our means. Sure, it'll be a hard lesson to learn, but I'd rather make the sacrifice now than leave it to my kids to clean up in 30 years. Where are all the "think of the children" folks on things that actually matter?
    • Similarly worthless school boards cut busses first to irritate the hell out of parents who then have to drive their kids.

      Every dollar is somebody's sob story, or some job we will all die without. Yet somehow we didn't have people dying in the streets a few years ago spending a trillion a year less.

      There are publicly-funded universities where the number of positions not related to teaching are over 50%. These are sinecure positions, a wonderful word borrowed from midieval religion to describe graft to feed

    • Whenever a government department is threatened with cuts, they announce that they'll cut front-line staff and not overpaid managers or worthless paper-pushers. That's why government spending expands forever until the economy collapses.

      That's not how it works at all. First almost everyone is furloughed, that is, gets unpaid holidays. DoD will furlough their 800,000 civilian employees one day a week starting April 1. So 800,000 will loose 20% of their pay! Other Departments/Agencies my furlough more or less days per week or delay until after April 1. Of course employees don't spend what they don't get and the deductions for health plans and retirement stay the same. AFAIK the furloughs can last only 22 workdays or 30 calendar days and

      • It should be noted: “relative to the private sector, the federal workforce is less than half the size it was back in the 1950s and 1960s”

        Does the "federal workforce" reffered to in that article reffer only to people who work directly for the government? Afaict there has been a trend away from the government directly paying people to do work for them and towards the government paying contractors to do it.

  • by khallow (566160) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:42AM (#42977657)
    It's worth noting that all this discomfort only results in a drop of $85 billion. In part, that is because mandatory spending, which is something like 60% of the budget, isn't affected.

    Still, looking at the list, there's a number of worthy budget cuts, such as the oversized federal law enforcement, small business loans, and various "government service" rent seeking. And one really has a hard time arguing against a 13% cut back in defense spending.

    As I see it, the problem with sequestering isn't that it cuts government services, but that by its nature it can't target less effective spending or any mandatory spending at all.
    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:12AM (#42977781)
      But do you really want congress to micromanage cuts? Think about that for a bit.

      The way this is working out, the secretaries and/or chiefs of each major department are going to make the choice of what is going to get cut within their department and thats surely better than having congress micromanage the cuts. The only time this isnt the case is with earmarked spending, and fuck most of that spending anyways.

      This is the only way cuts should be done, and cuts are much needed pretty much everywhere. Every department aside from NASA has ballooned out of control, and even in NASA's case some of the spending is highly dubious ($8 billion on the Webb telescope? Some serious, possibly criminal, inefficiency is happening here.)

      I think we would all like to see the DoD budget cut a lot more, but than in no way means that the DoE, DoA, DHS, FDA, .. and so forth should not also see major cuts.
      • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:43AM (#42977925) Journal
        The problem, as pointed out by others, is that the department heads tend to cut the wrong things, deliberately. They make sure that it's the public rather than the department itself feeling necessity's sharp pinch. The Trashmaster General will not cut redundant management layers or cancel the 70 man junket to GarbageCon'13, but will instead reduce service levels and let the trash pile up in the streets. Not because it is easier (which it is), but because it will cause a public outcry so that, with a little luck, his budget will be back to its former levels the next year.

        Congress shouln't micromanage these cuts, but isn't it their job to make sure the secretaries cut the right things in the right way, and set them straight if they don't? (Not sure how that works; I am not from the US But don't worry, we're in the same boat over here).
        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          The problem, as pointed out by others, is that the department heads tend to cut the wrong things, deliberately.

          There is a difference between conjecture and "pointing out." Most of these departments have never seen a budget cut through their entire history, where the oft-used term "cut" has historically meant a reduction in the rate of increase of their budgets rather than any actual budget cut.

          So as far as I can tell, you are just conjecturing that these departments will "cut the wrong things", that they have never actually been forced to cut before.

          • I'm speaking from experience, which is not in the US. Budget cuts are common here, and the reaction of budget holders is frequently as described, though I should have written "threaten to" rather than "tend to", because those inappropriate measures are rarely actually carried out after the desired public outcry.
          • by khallow (566160)

            So as far as I can tell, you are just conjecturing that these departments will "cut the wrong things", that they have never actually been forced to cut before.

            I have to agree with JaredOfEuropa. It's a classic move. To give an example related to what you mentioned earlier, NASA has on occasion threatened to cut more important or high profile programs in order to save their funding. For example, they've threatened to end Hubble Space Telescope on more than one occasion.

            • by medcalf (68293) on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:56AM (#42979375) Homepage
              It's called the Washington Monument defense, after the Interior Department's scheme to avoid being cut back in the Reagan administration. Reagan proposed cutting something like 5 or 10% of the Interior Department's budget, and getting rid of a lot of the small parcels of parkland that no one visits and that have no unique ecology or real value. The US government owns something like 25% of the land area of the US directly, and Reagan's idea was to get rid of a lot of the bits that didn't actually have value. Because the smart thing to do is to let the bureaucrats who know the ins and outs of all of this land pick what would go, Reagan deferred to the bureaucrats at Interior for a list of lands to sell off or give away. For example, there is a "park" that consists of something like 350 square feet of land, between two private parcels of land, in the middle of the Nevada desert, that the government owns because of a surveying error when the land was originally titled. This "park" has to be inspected regularly (required by law and policy), and there are maintenance costs (because of access right of ways, if I'm remembering correctly). There is zero value to the government in owning this, so naturally it should be on a list of land to be gotten rid of, right? Nope. The top of the list of things to close if these budget cuts went into effect was the Washington Monument.

              Keep that in mind when the Air Force says 2/3 of its aircraft would be grounded in months. Note that they don't mention laying off the valets who serve the general officers, or closing golf courses for senior officers, or getting rid of some of the fleet of executive jets that the Air Force maintains. It's called a "gold watch" in the military, but it's basically identical to the Washington Monument defense.

        • by msauve (701917)
          "Congress shouln't micromanage these cuts, but isn't it their job to make sure the secretaries cut the right things in the right way,"

          No, that's the President's responsibility - he is, after all, head of the Executive branch of government.
        • by SirGarlon (845873)

          They make sure that it's the public rather than the department itself feeling necessity's sharp pinch.

          All that is required to counteract this tactic is to anticipate it and be willing to fire bureaucrats. How does this sound:

          Year 1: Budget cut is announced, director of agency embarks on campaign of collective punishment against the public. There is public outcry.

          Year 2: Congress refuses to restore budget to pre-cut levels. Director continues his punitive war on productivity instead of cleaning house.

          Year 3:

        • by imac.usr (58845)

          > the 70 man junket to GarbageCon'13

          Can you imagine the cosplay outfits? Yuck.

      • And, even with sequestration, Washington would still be spending over TWICE as much as they did during the Clinton administration. Sequestration is means "cutting" about 4% from the planned budget. (While still spending more than last year.)

        It's widely believed that Clinton-style budgets were good. If you believe that, you should ask for sequestration times fifteen, cutting the projected budget by 60% to get back to Clinton-like spending.
      • There is an, unwritten, rule in Government that whenever you get cut you cut the thing that hurts the public the most. Sounds cynical but the logic is the quicker the pain for the public becomes unbearable they quicker they will accept a tax hike. I had a friend that worked at the DMV here. The state government cut their budget. What did the heads of DMV do they cut the front desk staff to the bone. So that people had hours long lines, even more than normal, and started complaining to the state government a
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CAIMLAS (41445)

      It's worth noting that all this discomfort only results in a drop of $85 billion.

      As someone else said in this thread:

      It is a scam.
      They make sure the thing people care about get cut first.
      The things that really should be cut never get touched.
      We all get cowed into giving them more and more money.
      See how much of an automatic cut your senators pay gets.
      No, wait they still get an automatic raise

      It's structured for the very purpose of making 'budget cuts' seem like a waste of time. You'll never get to the creamy center because there's so much hard, baked on crud you've got to scrape off first - like a boiled lobster which is covered in coral growth.

      This is why we'll never see a de-funding of things like the IRS, anything else related to core government operations, or "governing body" luxuries. Why do we not talk about cutting money from Health and Human Services?

      • by bogjobber (880402)

        There's a lot of talk about the military, but the military and all DoD related spending isn't even half what these two are combined, and we've got precious little to show for it (and seemingly less year by year, as defense spending remains historically consistently flat, but shrinking slightly (since WWII).

        How do you figure? Military spending was less than $300 billion in 2000 and in the proposed 2013 budget is $672 billion. It's shrunk slightly since last year, but certainly not on a downward trend o

        • by medcalf (68293)
          He's likely speaking as a percentage of GDP, rather than absolute dollar terms.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        By law, the cuts must be equally applied to each program, project, and activity within an account, thereby not allowing agencies to use their discretion.

        You seem to be implicitly assuming that there is XY% of each program within every agency that can be trivially cut.
        You would be the hero of Washington if you could write down a list of all the people that can be fired without reducing each program's ability to meet its goals.

        This is why we'll never see a de-funding of things like the IRS, anything else related to core government operations, or "governing body" luxuries. Why do we not talk about cutting money from Health and Human Services? Why do we not talk about defunding the Social Security Administration (even though the bulk of the funding to the SSA doesn't even make it to recipients of SS?)

        Holy fucking shit. Who the hell defunds the IRS?
        Do you have another suggestion on h

    • Still, looking at the list, there's a number of worthy budget cuts, such as the oversized federal law enforcement, small business loans, and various "government service" rent seeking. And one really has a hard time arguing against a 13% cut back in defense spending.

      Except that cutting spending now is like applying leeches to a sick patient. You cut spending when the economy is healthy to promote action by the private sector. You increase spending when the economy is unhealthy to backstop the potential for long term unemployment, which can ruin entire generations. An across-the-board spending cut to almost any government agency will do far more harm than good, but research--because it draws so heavily on international talent--is the most vulnerable.

      After nearly a deca

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        Except that cutting spending now is like applying leeches to a sick patient. You cut spending when the economy is healthy to promote action by the private sector.

        Better hurry and get in your time machine and go back to warn Presidents Coolidge and Harding that their ~46% cut in Federal spending won't really kick off the "roaring '20s" and end the post-WW1 recession of 1920-21.

        Strat

        • Except that cutting spending now is like applying leeches to a sick patient. You cut spending when the economy is healthy to promote action by the private sector.

          Better hurry and get in your time machine and go back to warn Presidents Coolidge and Harding that their ~46% cut in Federal spending won't really kick off the "roaring '20s" and end the post-WW1 recession of 1920-21.

          Strat

          You're comparing a 7-month recession to the meltdown of the entire global economy? Alright, then why didn't the end of the Iraq war lead to booming economy like WWII? I mean, if we're making false equivalencies... At any rate it was Coolidge that slashed spending and taxes after he took office 1923, when the economy was going gangbusters thanks in large part to the automobile and electrification, which was exactly the right time to cut; the economy was healthy and taxes were still stuck at high war-time lev

    • Furthermore, this budget cut takes us back to the federal spending level of, what, 2011? Was our country in such horrible shape a couple of years ago before we spent even more?

  • It's a scam. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beer_Smurf (700116) on Friday February 22, 2013 @06:54AM (#42977715) Homepage
    It is a scam.
    They make sure the thing people care about get cut first.
    The things that really should be cut never get touched.
    We all get cowed into giving them more and more money.
    See how much of an automatic cut your senators pay gets.
    No, wait they still get an automatic raise
    Makes me crazy.
  • TSA/HL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Loki_666 (824073) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:00AM (#42977731)

    So when do they disband the TSA and Fatherland^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Homeland security?

  • Notice how whenever there is a push to raise taxes, or pass some budget, how the people are always threatened with sacrifices to core services. Airport security, food safety, firefighter equipment, books for school children and so on. Never are absurd government programs in any such danger. They always grab you by the balls and squeeze. Pay up or else.
  • There are going to be a lot of defense contractors being laid off. Great time for China and other countries to go on a hiring spree! These are the guys insuring America's technological superiority in that segment, and I'm sure a lot of them would jump at an opportunity to continue feeding their families!
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@ao[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:26AM (#42977831) Journal

    Just a few years ago, the budget was 2/3 of what it is now, so how were food inspections paid for then?

    Most people don't realize that this big deficit spending problem started when the $787B "one time stimulus" became part of the baseline budget and was re-spent (and then some) year after year after year on the biggest government expansion ever seen on this Earth. That $787B is STILL being spent over and over again.

    Bond Bubble Ben is still printing Bernanke Bucks at a rate of about $1T/year as well, because the FED is the only entity willing to buy new US debt anymore.

    When are Americans going to wake up and realize that you can't spend money you don't have on things you neither want nor need and expect to come out ahead at the end of the day?

    I guess "as long as I'm getting mine" is the new American Dream.

    Here are some gross, as in disgusting, numbers for US Government Spending:

    2006: 2655.1B
    2007: 2728.7B
    2008: 2982.5B
    2009: 3517.7B
    2010: 3456.2B
    2011: 3598.1B

    2001: 1862.8B

    If you take the 2001 spending figure and adjust it for inflation, it is 2411B, so in 2011 dollars we're spending 1186B more than we were in 2001.

    1.2T in government growth, people. That's 49%. And that's just government growth at the federal level. Government is taking fully 50% more money from us (and our kids, and their kids, and probably also their kids after that) than they were 10 years ago.

    Sources:

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/HistoricalBudgetData.xls [cbo.gov]

    ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt [bls.gov]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:46AM (#42977947)

      Now be intellectually honest and admit a bunch of that money increase is simply that black spending is now not removed from the books like it was in Bush' time. Once you add black spending in, the amount spent as a % of GDP has been dropping.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First of all, as the sibling notes, those budget numbers don't include Bush's war budgets, which were designated as a "supplemental" budget. Bush's budgets were much higher than published. And 2001 was still at the height of the dot-com bubble, when the economy was very strong.

      And the economy is still relatively weak. Ask most economists; during a recession, do you cut spending, or increase spending to stimulate the economy? Most would agree that deficit spending is necessary to prevent a bigger crash.

    • "How could I be overdrawn? I still have checks in my checkbook!"
      "How could we still be in a recession? We're still stimulating it!"
    • by dwpro (520418)

      The majority of the budget deficit and increase in spending can be blamed on 4 major items:

      1. The war in iraq
      2. Bush era tax cuts
      3. Financial collapse and related stimulus spending
      4. Ever increasing health care costs

      http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24editorial_graph2/24editorial_graph2-popup.gif [nytimes.com]

      This isn't a democratic only spending spree though they're to blame as well. I'd say more blame could be heaped on the government for poor decisions on which risks/investments are worth

    • Funny that before the 2009 budget year, the wars in Iraq and Afganistan were not part of the federal budget. Every year since 2001, they were part of a separate "emergency" spending bill. The current president thought that was not proper, and put them into the actual defense budget.

  • Sounds like plenty of American engineers will be looking for work.

  • The economic payout of federal research investment averages around 8:1 in terms of job creation, new revenue, trade, etc. Even research that doesn't lead to new therapeutic modalities still puts people to work and can aid in other research endeavors. There are places in the federal budget with poor payout that deserve to be explored for savings, but research is not one.
    • by gatkinso (15975)

      Well, had you been keeping up with events, you would know that the cuts are basically across the board, not just focused on R&D.

      The entire concept was a blunt instrument that was meant to be too draconian and indiscriminate to even consider going into effect. Well, we see how that worked.

      • Well, had you been keeping up with events, you would know that the cuts are basically across the board, not just focused on R&D.

        I am well aware of that. However this summary is talking about how the budget sequestration will affect research agencies, so I wanted to point out what an epically stupid idea it is to cut research funding at any point. A few things are distinct to the research funding agencies that cannot be said about other federal agencies:

        • Research agencies have not had a budgetary increase that even met the rate of inflation for several years
        • Research dollars directly create jobs and save lives
        • As mentioned before, t
  • Not $85 billion (Score:5, Informative)

    by blogagog (1223986) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:41AM (#42978259)
    The automatic sequestration will only remove $44 billion from this year's budget. Bigger cuts will occur in later years. But you should know that the government will still spend more this year than last, despite the sequestration. It's just that the increase won't be as much. The crying of poverty is just political BS.
    • Mod parent up. In Washington-speak, a "catastrophic" budget cut means a cut to the rate of increase. The rollback of the $44B of planned increased spending in this year's budget is just slightly over 1% of the total. Heck, every wage-earner in the country just had their taxes increase by double that amount with the ending of the payroll tax holiday, so cry me a river. I have zero sympathy.
  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Friday February 22, 2013 @08:49AM (#42978287)

    They aren't really cutting spending. Spending will still increase, just not as much as they wanted. And for that we get to listen to the Ruling Class whine and moan and act all theatrical about what a terrible panic will ensue because they can't overspend as much as they want.
    What a load of bullshit.
    And what a load of idiots we are when we let them get away with it. Any program manager who cuts anything critical instead of his own paycheck should be fired immediatly without recourse. And any politician who plays the false panic card during the next few months should get a nice present come next primary season - a challenger who won't sit and take all the bullshit that'll get thrown around.

  • Folks aren't out rioting in the streets over these cuts like they did in Athens, Madrid, London, Paris....

  • If the elected officials can't do this then they should resign.

    Rightfully killing the F35 would fix all the DODs obligations. Raising the retirement age would fix other budget issues.

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Friday February 22, 2013 @09:52AM (#42978753) Homepage

    per the most recent CBO estimates. The total budget is $4T. Anybody who is crying tears over any part of the federal government losing a whopping 1% of its budget really needs to re-examine where they are coming from. How many individuals and families deal with far larger swings in income on a weekly basis? How many people have had to abruptly make swift changes to their personal outlays because they or another family member has lost a job? Become ill?

    Worse still, are these even real cuts? Or are they just slowing the rate of increase in the growth of spending?

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