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How Sequestration Will Affect Federal Research Agencies 277

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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:18AM (#42977805) Homepage

    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? 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?) Government pensions are by far the biggest money soak - but of course, these will never be touched. God help our children and their children (due to the drastic increase in size/number of government employees in the past 4 years, there'll be a lot more people waiting in line for their pensions and fewer people to fill 'em).

    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).

  • 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 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.

  • 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!
  • 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:Monthly dance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halltk1983 ( 855209 ) <> on Friday February 22, 2013 @09:09AM (#42978415) Homepage Journal
    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:Chaos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:01AM (#42978827)

    If by "always" you mean "whenever a Democrat is president", sure. They gave precisely zero fucks about deficit spending for the past three Republican presidents.

  • Re:Monthly dance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:04AM (#42978843)

    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:Monthly dance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:11AM (#42978923)

    If people thought they were too risky, they wouldn't buy. Our interest rates are low because of the safety of the almight dollar, not because our government unilaterally dicates that the private market will buy them.

  • Re:Chaos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:16AM (#42978971)

    The "credit" is only available because the government has the ability to raise its own limits. Until the day when everyone stops buying bonds. I'm saying that we should stop needing to sell bonds before they become worthless.

    The interest on government bonds is less than inflation and they still sell well, which is an indication that the market is quite far from considering them worthless.

    The other thing that the low rates suggests is that lowering taxes wouldn't create a flood of private sector investments. Right now there's a metric fuckton of money tied on bonds that lose money every day and no one is in a rush to employ it more productively so there isn't a good reason to believe that tax cut money would end up funding innovation.

  • Re:Monthly dance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grep_rocks ( 1182831 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:00AM (#42979433)
    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 - amazing how people commenting about debt and interest rates (like comparing the US goverment to dad with a credit card) are so stupid that they don't understand the basics - yes I said stupid there is no excuse after years of recession.
  • Re:Chaos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fifedrum ( 611338 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:10AM (#42979547) Journal

    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 and you know it.

  • Re:Monthly dance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grep_rocks ( 1182831 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:51AM (#42980099)
    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 deficit goes down (as it has been for the past several years! but nobody mentions that) - we are running a smaller deficit now than we did two years ago, this will continue as employment improves - this is standard fucking stuff, but people keep repeating this nonsense about spending, people need to get a clue.
  • Re:Monthly dance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:12PM (#42985787)

    Oh? First, there is generally a 2-3 year delay between inflationary influences and the start of inflation actually hitting the market. So most of it won't have hit the market yet anyway. But some. Have you checked your grocery bill lately? I don't know about yours, but mine has been up somewhere around 50% over just the last couple of years. And short-term commodities like that are usually the first to see a major hit.

    My grocery bill has been more stable; your personal anecdotes (and mine) may not be indicative of overall economic trends. Maybe inflation is about to go through the roof? Nonetheless, folks with billions to invest are still volunteering to buy long-term treasury bonds at worse interest than my checking account. Not that billionaire investors can't be terribly wrong.

    If inflation isn't significantly above the government-claimed "approximately 2%", why do they want to raise the minimum wage 24%? Just an arbitrary figure in a misguided attempt to "legislate prosperity"? Or an attempt to cover actual costs of living the government lied about? Either one is bad news.

    Maybe because the minimum wage is down by more than 50% from when it was introduced many decades ago? You realize that proposed 24% increases aren't just covering for one year of stagnant wages?

    Investors always have been "pretty sure". They were sure of that in 1929... that's why the markets were at an all-time high, just before the big crash. They were just as sure in 1999-2000. And they were just as sure in 2007-2008. Look at the YouTube clips from both periods, of people saying "Come on in! The economy has never been better! The market has never been higher!"

    And investors holding government bonds during the recent crash did quite well. Investments based on the private sector tanked, but no one lost a cent on Treasury bonds. The private sector is notoriously unstable; the US government has historically managed to produce a rather stable currency with well-defined slow inflation, which is why investors are eager to buy (at interest rates that lose to inflation) in economically unstable times.

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