Cut and dried

"Cut and dried" Continued...

Issue: "Moneymaker," March 23, 2013

Meanwhile, the “deeply destructive” cuts in the 70-page report the White House attached to the sequestration order included: $3 million less for Pacific salmon recovery in the Pacific; $1 million less for the Defense Department’s support for international sporting competitions; and $1 million cut from the Interior Department’s helium fund. 

Beltway tightening

Most conservatives agree that across-the-board cuts are a crude way to budget, and no one is arguing that squeezing into the last seven months of the fiscal year cuts totaling 9 percent of nonmilitary programs and 13 percent of defense programs will go unfelt by everyone.

With the defense budget bearing an unequal burden, states with a large military footprint will see challenges. About 800,000 Defense Department civilian employees are facing unpaid leave days that could cut their pay by 20 percent for the remainder of the year.

Sequestration’s ax will fall hardest in the area surrounding the nation’s capital. But the hub of federal government that includes Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland will get little sympathy from the rest of the country.

The region has enjoyed a government-fueled boom in the midst of the recession. It has escaped the large drop in employment felt by the nation. (In January, the unemployment rate for government workers stood at 4.2 percent compared to 8.6 percent for the private sector.) And of the nation’s 15 counties with the highest percentages of households in the top-tier income bracket (incomes $191,469 and higher), seven are in the greater Washington area. Five of those seven are in the top 10. —E.L.P.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.


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