Beating A Dead Horse


Robert Reich:

The Stealth Sequester

So far, the much-dreaded “sequester” — some $85 billion in federal spending cuts between March and September 30 — hasn’t been evident to most Americans.

The dire warnings that had issued from the White House beforehand — threatening that Social Security checks would be delayed, airport security checks would be clogged, and other federal facilities closed — seem to have been overblown.

Sure, March’s employment report was a big disappointment. But it’s hard to see any direct connection between those poor job numbers and the sequester. The government has been shedding jobs for years. Most of the losses in March were from the Postal Service.

Take a closer look, though, and Americans are starting to feel the pain. They just don’t know it yet.

That’s because so much of what the government does affects the nation in local, decentralized ways. Federal funds find their way to community housing authorities, state unemployment offices, local school districts, private universities, and companies. So it’s hard for most Americans to know the sequester is responsible for the lost funding, lost jobs, or just plain inconvenience.

A tiny sampling: Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts is bracing for a cut of about $51 million in its $685 million of annual federal research grants and contracts. The public schools of Syracuse, New York, will lose over $1 million. The housing authority of Joliet, Illinois, will take a hit of nearly $900,000. Northrop Grumman Information Systems just issued layoff notices to 26 employees at its plant in Lawton, Oklahoma. Unemployment benefits are being cut in Pennsylvania and Utah.

The cuts — and thousands like them — are so particular and localized they don’t feel as if they’re the result of a change in national policy.

It’s just like what happened with the big federal stimulus of 2009 and 2010, but in reverse. Then, money flowed out to so many different places and institutions that most Americans weren’t aware of the stimulus program as a whole.

A second reason the sequester hasn’t been visible is a large share of the cuts are in programs directed at the poor — and America’s poor are often invisible.

One more time:

Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts is bracing for a cut of about $51 million in its $685 million of annual federal research grants and contracts.

Oh my, poor Brandeis University, having to struggle to make ends meet with only $634 million from Uncle Sugar. What will they do?

The dire warnings did not seem overblown, they were overblown. The Sequester arrived but the apocalypse never showed up. Mr. Reich is beating a dead horse.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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91 Responses to Beating A Dead Horse

  1. votermom says:

    …sequester … yeah

  2. DandyTiger says:

    The facts don’t matter. The Obama sequester has to bring the apocalypse. It just has too. So then they can blame the Obama sequester on the Republicans. Somehow. If you try to understand the mind of an Obot, you can get hurt.

  3. Somebody says:

    Well I never thought the sequester was going to be the apocalypse, but I do think it is being implemented in a harmful way. There is plenty of waste to cut, without cutting essential services.

    That being said the furloughs that will result in air travel slow downs or the furloughs of federal law enforcement, border patrol, etc. Those do not go into effect until April 21. So as to the entire effect I would withold judgement until somtime in May.

  4. votermom says:

    I’m puzzled why no one has claimed “credit” for the bombing.

    • DandyTiger says:

      That is very puzzling. That makes me think it’s a crazy person. Because if it’s political or religious, the person or group usually wants talk.

      • votermom says:

        I’m kind of afraid it may be indicate that this is a test run for a bigger bombing plot.

        Even craxyy persons usually have a manifesto.

      • Jadzia says:

        My fear is that it’s a rollout of the kind of terrorism that will REALLY kill not only people, but the U.S. economy: unpredictable dates and smaller targets. Like Boston-sized bomb attacks in shopping centers and subway stations and office buildings, possibly in places that don’t really have much symbolic or iconic significance (i.e., aging industrial cities like Cleveland and Buffalo, smaller cities throughout the country). Nothing spectacular like bombing the Golden Gate Bridge or the Space Needle or a federal courthouse or the Johnson Space Center, to give a few examples. And if I’m right, then lots of Americans (and people who still have loved ones in the U.S.) will REALLY be terrorized in a more profound way than they were after (the initial shock of) 9/11.

    • elliesmom says:

      My dog-walking friends had some speculations on that today. One is that it is a lone bomber who is in the hospital recovering from his injuries because he stayed too close to see his handiwork, and the other is this was just a practice run for a bigger attack, and the group responsible doesn’t want to give itself away. The one guy in the group thinks it was an attack from a “leftie nut” who is enjoying seeing the speculation the Tea Party did it because it was his goal to smear the right, which explains choosing Boston and Tax Day. We have no “insider” information. It would just be irresponsible of us not to speculate.

    • Somebody says:

      The fact that nobody has does trend more toward a domestic suspect. Most of the overseas operations love to take credit, except Hezbollah from what I understand they don’t. I doubt it was Hezbollah they have their hands full in Syria and why risk ticking us off so we’d up the ante with the rebels over there???

      The fact that authorities aren’t picking up any chatter also trends more toward something domestic. It could be a lone Jihadi, someone from either end of the political spectrum with an axe to grind or somebody that just wants to cause chaos.

  5. votermom says:

    Another great column from Taranto
    The Banality of Bias
    Journalists are awfully liberal, Arendt they?

  6. votermom says:


  7. votermom says:

    Are the ricin letters connected to the bombing …

    • DandyTiger says:

      I don’t think they are connected.

      • votermom says:

        I hope not, since I think the ricin letter are probably from a right wing nut, seeing as one was addressed to Obama.

        • DandyTiger says:

          I think you’re right about the ricin letter being a right-wing person. Possibly relating to the gun-control issue since the congressman is an R who voted to let the bill be debated. Just a guess still. Of course the Boston bombing could also be right-wing related, who knows. We don’t know about either. And when we do, it could be a nut from any direction or point of view. That won’t mean they crazy bomber actually represents any normal people from those groups. But we’ll see how people spin it after we know.

        • Somebody says:

          Ditto I agree, I think the ricin stuff is right wing. I posted something similar to Dandy last night about the gun bill and the particular Senator targeted. I think the ricin is related to the gun bill.

          Although we say right wing, it could be some straight up Libertarians.

        • Constance says:

          I still go with the left wing nut trying to make Republicans look bad. As if the nut involved belongs to a political party.

      • myiq2xu says:

        That’s a helluva coinky-dink. The ricin letter had to be mailed NLT than Monday, which means it was either mailed before the bombing or it was hastily prepared afterwards.

        2 terrorist attacks at the same time, but not connected to each other?

        • votermom says:

          Remember all the anthrax letters after 9/11? None of them connected to AQ or 9/11, iirc.
          Reports say they arrested a man hand-delivering these letters today.

  8. elliesmom says:

    Last night I baked a ham, and this morning I baked a loaf of Swedish rye bread, the kind with lots of caraway seeds. I’m about to make some “Fred Flintstone” ham sandwiches, and Elliesdad and I are going for a picnic in a daffodil field. Unfortunately, too many pet owners are irresponsible so Ellie can’t come, but we did take her to the dog park yesterday, and she did get a long walk this morning. Here’s where we’re going:

  9. votermom says:

    Maybe just an opportunist

    • Jadzia says:

      Oh, great. France of course has a LOT of pissed off people who hate it, primarily from places it used to colonize, but this is not good news. I am wondering if this is the same Egyptian cleric who put a fatwa on my (final!!!!) client’s head.

  10. votermom says:

  11. driguana says:

    Believe that’s a dead mule in the picture.

  12. votermom says:

  13. votermom says:

  14. HELENK says:

    guess the congresscritters will not have time to read the immigration bill with the ricin threats. sorry but it is just too convenient putting on tin foil hat

    • 49erDweet (D) says:

      First CA became a one party state and now US is a one party country. We have been dorked.

      • 49erDweet (D) says:

        And basic food prices are climbing faster and faster. Are we entering the final stages?

    • Mt.Laurel says:

      You are not the only person who’s thoughts went in that direction. Kill two birds with a few letters. No time to read the latest crap filled legislation before voting and get to blame (opps I mean suggest the possibility) that those who do not agree are responsible.

      That or there are just going to be lots of little things to deflect attention away from the stage.. Axe does not like to let a good tragedy go to waste.

  15. HELENK says:

    for these poor colleges, how much did tuition go up after government approved student loans went into effect? I think they used to call that price gouging. The student loans are the next bubble to burst from what I have been reading.
    cost a fortune to go to school then no jobs when you get out, therefore can not pay back loans

    • Jadzia says:

      Hear, hear! I was encouraging my teenager towards a community college (he’s smart, but school just really isn’t his thing, and I have no intention of spending all my savings and going into debt for him to have a 4 year party), but the CCs are so underfunded in California that in LA it’s taking people 7 years to get a 2 year degree simply because the classes aren’t available. Unfortunately, he is also unwilling to come to Europe to get a free college education. And you know why that education is free here? The way we choose to use our tax revenues (and the tax rates) are only one part of the story. The other part of the story is that university here is NO FRILLS. No student centers, no fancy gym with a rock climbing wall, no “directors” of ridiculous things, no PR employees. It’s professors, students, and a few secretaries. For the most part, there aren’t even dorms, so you either live at home or you and/or your parents pay for a cheap apartment with roommates.

      I have NO SYMPATHY for these colleges and universities that are sitting on BILLIONS in endowments crying poverty, while they create more and more of it among their students. Who among their alumni is going to donate to increase that endowment in the future when they are still paying off their loans in their 40s?????

      For some good reading on this subject (U.S. university excesses, not the European model), read “The Five Year Party.” I used to work at a school like the ones described in the book, and if the parents knew what really went on there, they would have been appalled.

  16. myiq2xu says:

    Walter Russell Mead:

    Since 1979, inflation-adjusted hourly wages fell 20 percent for men ages 25–39 with only a high school diploma, while wages for their female counterparts rose by one percent. In the same timeframe, the number of male high school graduates with jobs fell by nine percent and rose for women by nine percent.

    Part of this is due to the evaporation of jobs in industries that were previously filled by less educated men, like manufacturing and construction. But women have adapted much more quickly to a world in which a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important for landing a job. In 2010, among 35 year olds, women were 17 percent more likely than men to have attended college. Lower- and middle-class men lag behind women in their social class in education, employment, and wages.

    If the gender roles were reversed here and a generation of women has suffered huge setbacks, we would have a great hue and cry with blue-ribbon panels, academic roundtables, and a lot of national soul-searching. But men’s problems don’t seem to interest anyone much, not even men.

    Could that possibly be a mistake?

    • Jadzia says:

      It’s not that these problems are not interesting (they are interesting, not to mention tragic). But I think that a lot of companies are under the impression that (a) they can pay their female employees less and get away with it (at my last law firm, telling anybody your salary was a firing offense–long after I left, that is to say, a convenient week or so after the expiration of the statute of limitations, a partner at that firm who had the inside scoop told me that if I had sued them for sex discrimination I probably wouldn’t have to work anymore); and (b) women will put up with more crap than men will.

      YMMV, because there are a lot of take-no-crap women out there, including most of the women who post and comment on this blog, but the stereotype lives on and I think that it is part of the reason (along with the loss of most of the heavy industry and manufacturing jobs that were once the backbond of the economy) that we have seen this prolonged “mancession.”

  17. HELENK says:

    it is interesting on just how disinterested backtrack is on intelligence briefings

  18. SHV says:

    ” I think they used to call that price gouging. The student loans are the next bubble to burst from what I have been reading.”
    One trillion plus. “Open enrollment, on-line schools, etc.. students and families with little hope of succeeding are going into endless debt for zip. A student loan can’t be voided by bankruptcy. Last number that I read showed that “diploma mills” make up 8% of schools getting loans. They receive 25% of the money and >50% of the defaults. IIRC, University of Phoenix is one of the largest, is owned by Leon Black of the Apollo Group. Goldman Sachs is also a big player in the market. Of course all of “higher education” is trying to grab all the Fed dollars that they can before the gravy train derails.

    The student loan business is turning into another tax dollar laundering scam like food stamps, Obamacare, ethanol, and soon Medicaid.

  19. votermom says:

  20. votermom says:

    Hope this is true

  21. myiq2xu says:
  22. HELENK says:

    will be taken to Federal court not state court

  23. DeniseVB says:

    Megyn’s being very cautious confirming arrest because CBS is only network not confirming it. LOL. I think this is the Adam Lanza effect.

    Looks like a big crowd gathering at court house.

  24. HELENK says:

    now two sources saying NO arrest made.

    both stories are from law enforcement sources. crazy

  25. HELENK says:

    something that should not be lost in the confusion. the number of people who ran to help and did not run away.
    If there is anything good that can come from the horror it should be this.

  26. HELENK says:

    FBI no arrests made

  27. DeniseVB says:

    😀 FBI statement at 5pm, I think. Maybe.

  28. HELENK says:

    US Marshalls at Boston Federal Courthouse

  29. votermom says:

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