The drastic $85 billion in automatic spending cuts Congress approved in hopes of heading off another deficit showdown may or may not occur, but federal agencies say the threat has been disrupting government for months as officials take costly and inefficient steps to prepare.
A National Weather Service official is planning to shut down radars on sunny days in the South — and crossing his fingers that no unexpected storms pass through. New federal grants for medical research are being postponed, resulting in layoffs now and costly paperwork later. And military leaders, who are delaying training for active and reserve forces, are trying to negotiate millions of dollars in penalties that the Defense Department is incurring from canceled contracts. ...WaPo
What we know as "sequestration" will actually take place in a month if the House doesn't act quickly. But real cuts, really damaging cuts, will take place in preparation -- before the Republican drowning of the "baby in the bathtub" actually takes place. Worst of all, the preparation for cuts account for an actual increase in government debt.
... While the price tag of all this is — well, uncertain — the 2011 fight over the debt limit cost taxpayers more than $1.3 billion in additional borrowing costs, government auditors found. On top of that, Treasury Department employees responsible for avoiding default logged more than 400 hours of overtime and comp time. ...WaPo
Stupid is as stupid does. (See also below..)
Paul Ryan seems to have lost even the last shreds of political and moral responsibility.
During an interview on Meet The Press on Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) predicted that the sequester cuts are “going to happen” and made no concrete proposals for how to avoid the reductions. The tone represents a sharp rhetorical and policy shift for the onetime GOP vice presidential nominee, who warned during the 2012 presidential campaign that the cuts would “devastate” the country and undermine job growth...
...The comments represent another retreat for Ryan, who backed Mitt Romney’s proposal to raise revenues by eliminating tax loopholes and deductions for the wealthiest Americans. Those reforms were not included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act and could be part of a package that reforms tax breaks for high-income individuals and corporations, generating “$1 trillion in potential savings over 10 years” — more than enough to replace the sequester. ...Think Progress
"It's not my fault," says little Paulie Ryan, his face crumpling, his little fists clenched in frustration and fury. "Blame the Democrats."