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In our opinion: Sequestration warnings sound a lot like crying wolf

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  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 14, 2013 12:14 a.m.

    Not crying wolf here, but howling just a little in our business office because some very valuable gov't contracts have now been canceled. People forget how interlinked business is with gov't.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2013 12:49 a.m.

    Yes, but it is not a good idea to cut government expenditures while still in recession - and we are still in recession big time (~7.5% unemployment).

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    July 14, 2013 4:59 a.m.

    We have had one very good scientist, PhD in Physics, quit our branch before Furlough's started. If furloughs go past October every decent PhD/scientist/engineer will be leaving the branch due to the 20% pay cut and 100% increase in red tape. Would you stay in your job if you were forced to take a 20% pay cut, put up with a bunch of red tape, and have valuable skills that people will pay you more?

    I'm at least staying though October, as we are just starting up a neat program for the Marine Corps. I am hoping that things turn around on the political front, and at least full time will be restored to the project I am working on, and other high priority projects in my branch.

    However, extending the cuts past October would be a disaster for the scientific and engineering manpower of the military. Cool projects don't pay the mortgage. Any decent PhD would be stupid to stay around and watch their income and career die.

  • Common-Tator Saint Paul, MN
    July 14, 2013 5:23 a.m.

    It may be "crying wolf" ... unless you happen to be one of the several million that this has affected personally. Training has been cancelled for a large portion of the Army. Contracts have been cut (my job along with thousands of others put on the chopping block). Military retiree medical availability has been trimmed significantly (with more looming). And millions of government workers (including the gentleman next to me) has his paycheck reduced by 10% for the next several months as "furlough" sets in.

    Having spent 34 years in uniform, and in several jobs, being responsible for either training others or keeping my units trained / ready, that is the greatest effect of this situation.

    Again, it's not personal ... until it is.

  • Fibonacci Centerville, UT
    July 14, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    I know that for some, the stereotypical federal employee is someone who is undereducated and over paid. From where I sit at HAFB that characterization is simply unfair. I have a graduate degree in engineering from a big 12 conference university. I took a pay cut to leave industry and take a civil service job because I felt strongly about the mission of the organization I work for. For 3 years there have been no cost of living raises (to say noting of performance awards) and now our pay has been cut by 20% for the last 3 months of the fiscal year. Critical work is being deferred to be sure, but more importantly, the morale of the workforce has been shattered.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 14, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    There are 300+ cancer research grants that are not being funded this year, a few of them here in Utah.

    One could shrug this off with a smirk, like "well, we all have to die, anyway", but those jobs will probably be moving more & more overseas as researchers seek nations more atrongly committed to the research effort.

    One of the most promising researchers, a superstar in the research world, is packing up and headed to Germany, and taking his portfolio of collaborations with him to the German pharmaceutical companies. Educated by US tax dollars, now benefitting another nation. I'd imagine research and investment will follow him out of the country, along with quite a few Reaearch jobs. He specifically cited funding instability as the reason he was leaving, even though his situation was solid. He wants to collaborate with researchers who don't spend their time trying to chase money.

    On the other hand, I don't really have a history of cancer in my family, so why should I care? Lower taxes means more toys for me! Yippy!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 14, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Hey, don't be rushing summer into fall here...

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 14, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    Government is the enemy of business! Regulations, restrictions, taxes, ridiculous and redundant laws like Obamacare have and will kill more businesses and jobs than any other challenge business face or will ever face. Anyone who think differently never ran a business!

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    July 14, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    What pary of broke do people not understand. The federal government is like a guy who makes 100k per year but spends 140k. Now he is crying because he has to pack a lunch. Here is a radical idea, those governmeny scientists can use WebEx and save $1 mil this year. Yes there will be some pain, but nothing compared to what will happen if Government spending is not brought back to rational levels. If interest rates were to rise to 8 percent, HALF the federal budget would go to paying the interest on the debt.

    Here are a few radical ideas to avoid a financial collapse. Raise the retirement age to 70. Tighten the requirements for food stamps. Close military bases in Europe. Stop corporate welfare. Lower the corporate tax rate on overseas profits to 15 percent for money repatriated within 1 year. Fix the tax code so companies like GE do not avoid taxes on huge profits.

    Right now the only thing keeping investment money coming into the US is that Europe is even more messed up than we are.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    The sequester and its consequences are the result of politicians' incompetence. We have elected them to manage the country's finances and they have failed.

  • John Wilson Idaho Falls, 00
    July 14, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    I worked for the Federal government for 30 years in the area of finance and budgeting. A one to two percent cut to an increase in the budget could have been absorbed easily. The current administration is choosing to force Federal agencies to absorb this miniscule cut to their increased budget in a manner that is the most painful. Let each agency deal with the amount budged for them, and there will be no furloughs or cuts in pay. There are lots of places an agency can make cuts this small, without any real pain. If you are a Federal employee or contractor who has been affected, then blame Obama, not the sequestration.

  • robtal bordentown, NJ
    July 14, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    Something fishy here federal reserve can print up 85 billion month as economic stimulas and at the same time government cuts 85 billion from military and other programs. Is there something wrong somewhere.

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    July 14, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    As Irony Guy and Rappahannock suggest, it is easy to say that sequestration hasn't been harmful when you live thousands of miles from the folks who are most effective. A 20% pay cut to civilian military and other government workers has to hurt when people are living month to month and yet we continue to make the weapons of war that put millions in the pockets of Lockheed Martin executives. As the article suggested, the Secretary of Defense was most like being disingenuous to suggest the cuts would be draconian when he made the decision to impact people first and weapons last. After all, a contract is a contract, right? What about the contract, written or implied, with the workers?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 14, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    I'll try again -- seeing how the DN monitor didn't like how I worded my comment [which followed the GUIDELINES precisely earlier...

    =====

    Said from a LDS church owned newspaper.

    How about a 20% mandatory across the board cut - with NO exceptions,
    [staff, computers, lights, pay, ect]
    1 out of every 5 GONE.

    and

    STILL be expected by your customers to produce the same level of quality and service?

    I'd bet the Deseret News staff would be singing a different tune then!

    BTW --
    The 20 millions jobs being lost aren't WalMart jobs.

    They are America's leading Scientists, Engineers, Computer Scientists [this thing we call the InterNet was a DoD project] , Pilots, and Research and Development teams.

    Nothing could be making Communist China more excited.

    I'm a Liberal Socialist,
    And here we have the Deseret News supporting the Communists.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    Not to the people affected by the cuts.

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    July 14, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    Let a Geriatric Physician tell you what I have seen. Good American Seniors are DYING because they have been cut off or cut short in their health care. Chemotherapy ends unfinished, and they die. Who can justify that? Not a Physician doing his/her duty to God and Country. What Conservative Politician are actually saying is "if you are poor or powerless, you deserve what you get." Christlike?

  • Mont Pugmire Fairview, UT
    July 14, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    I recognize that cutting run away spending will have consequences that will be difficult for some. This is a simple 7% budget cut of an entity that has wasted billions of dollars with its poor procurement and management practices. If we are to survive as a nation, these and many more tough cuts will be necessary. As a retiree who depends partly on Soc. Sec. and Medicare, I will also feel some pain but I am willing and hope our pathetic congress and presidency will also be willing to do the hard things. Our very survival depends on it!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 14, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    DN,
    The automatic budget cuts CONGRESS?? enacted? Aren’t you forgetting BO was deeply involved in this and it was his idea in the first place? Don’t let BO off the hook!

    Chuck Hagel warned of cuts to the military, including passing more health care costs on to servicemembers, but liberals posting on these board BRAG about military personnel being on food stamps.

    Marxist,
    The definition of recession is the economy is shrinking. That is not happening, though the rate of growth is abysmal thanks to BO and his anti-business policies. You are correct that BO has made it difficult to make significant reductions in the unemployment rate; it is NOT coming down to where it needs to be and too many people are under-employed.

    The solution is simple, get BO and the dems to be serious at the negotiating table. I think BO tried, but harry and chuck schumer sabotaged him.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    July 14, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    It's far too early to weigh the effects of sequestration. This is a slow-burning fuse.

    I'm a contracting officer in DOD. Tomorrow I'll take an unpaid day off, and will continue to take Mondays off for several more months along with nearly 700,000 DOD colleagues. No one has determined whether this pattern continues into the next fiscal year that starts in October, but we're pessimistic.

    My job gives me a fairly good view of how sequestration impacts DOD workers, programs, missions, and contracts. It is not crying wolf. Whatever budget savings there may be are more than offset by the inefficiencies created by the manner in which they're being taken. Ultimately they will result in programs costing more over their lifetimes or creating waste because of being cancelled partway through.

    We need to do something about spending, no question. Sequestration is not the answer, particularly in a sluggish economy.

    Most of us signed on to serve our country, often sacrificing more lucrative careers in the private sector. It disturbs me to see the indifference, lack of compassion, and even glee on the part of some that we are being asked to shoulder more sacrifice.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 14, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    Actually, I agree with Mont Pugmire.

    What people don't understand is that median household incomes in the US have *declined* since 2007, before the Great Recession, from $54,000 a year to $50,000. New college graduates have a very lousy job market to look forward to, in part because of fierce international wage competition. People with PhDs in India make about $15,000 a year. Good luck getting American youth to strive for a PhD for those wages.

    50 years ago, GM was the largest employer, and wages were (adjusted for inflation) about $50 an hour. Today the largest sector of the economy is retail sales, where Walmart is the largest employer. Walmart's average wage = $8.81 per hour, and Walmart is *reducing* employment, even as they open new stores, because the Internet has largely replaced a function of previous retail workers, ie, to help customers decide what they want to buy. People shop online, even if they make their purchase at Walmart.

    A gap between productivity (profits) and employment has grown since 2000. Companies don't need workers as much, but workers pay taxes.

    More cuts are coming.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 14, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    " If you are a Federal employee or contractor who has been affected, then blame Obama, not the sequestration."

    Huh?

    Have you ever taken a basic civics class? Congress is in charge of the budget. If we are making cuts because our budget it out of control why then would we blame the president and not those in charge of the budget?

    Once again, the party of accountability refuses to take any. Why can't house repubs be accountable?

  • RoHan WP, UT
    July 14, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    You're a bit premature in your conclusion. Sequestration and more taxing furloughs started for the DOD this month. You may be of the opinion that the furlough is a good thing. How can losing 20% of your pay be a good thing? Especially when contractors doing the same work as I make on average 15% more than I do. I invite you to try and live off 80% of your pay for the next 3 months without any impact on your family, community, small businesses, etc. I've had to refinance my mortgage, auto loan, cancel dish and reduce food budget by 40% to make it through the furlough. There are several restaurants and small businesses that live or die from patronage by military and civil servants. Their jobs are in jeopardy as fewer Americans can afford to eat lunch out or dinner for that matter. Furlough hurts the economy. As soon as the congress, house and president start taking their turn (notice they are immune from the furlough), stop giving away money to other countries, and fix THE MESS they got us into, we will never get out of this hole.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    July 14, 2013 5:41 p.m.

    Nice compassionate editorial DN!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 14, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    The sequestration is like running in soft sand. The runner (the economy) will not likely trip, but will go slower and slower as the sand underfoot becomes softer and softer.

    Contrary to what many think, the agencies I am aware of worked to push the effects of sequestration back (in hopes Congress would be able to cut a deal). This will be something seen over the long term. The effects will slowly become more and more pervasive with the economic effects slowly becoming more pronounced.

  • Atalya Stansbury Park, UT
    July 14, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    Wow! How callous! How does sequestration impact us? Let's see--take 20% of YOUR income, and burn it. Then you will start to see how it impacts your budget, your life, your ability to pay bills, make necessary repairs, and yes, spend money in the community. Meanwhile, the people that created this mess (Congress, et al) have no penalty at all because it is "beneath the dignity of the office." They don't care. Actually coming up with a budget (#1 task for Congress) is probably still very low priority when they could be busy sniping at each other. Meanwhile, those of us government and contract personnel who are trying to keep our country safer and give our armed forces a chance to come home alive are taking it in the neck. If these things aren't impacting you right now, just wait, they probably will impact you in the future--after all, it's the other guy that is hurting, isn't it? Write your Congressmen and tell them to stop bickering like schoolchildren and get the job done.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2013 8:33 p.m.

    The DesNews EdBd shows itself to be uneducated on how government spending operates. Most of the results of the cuts in military spending will not be noticed for months other than the reduction of salaries of employees. I find the cavalier attitude most offensive.

    A 20% reduction in pay for a significant portion of Weber and Davis County employees, and probably Salt Lake County is a personal crisis that has ripple effects in loss of discretionary spending.

    Procurement of supplies and services will be reduced if not eliminated which will show up in the manufacturing and service sector.

    The effects will not be seen for months, and if not corrected, will take years to recover from and the cost will be excessive.

    I recall how the paper touted it's nationally based editorial board with a broad scope of experience. An editorial like this shows the paper to be ill informed, and ignorant of basic understanding on how government purchases goods and services.

    I'm in Wichita Falls, TX for the next 14 months, and probably will renew my subscription but will have to buy a parrot to find use for the editorial page.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 14, 2013 10:42 p.m.

    "Hill AFB is the largest single site employer in the state. It accounts for nearly 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, pumps approximately $3.6 billion annually into the Utah economy, creating $2.3 billion in personal income and annual state tax revenue of $192 million, according to estimates for 2009 from the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research".

    ========

    So tell us Deseret News EdBd....

    How is instantly loosing 20% of the State's LARGEST single site employer,
    and
    Loosing $720,000,000 [That's nearly a Billion dollars, for those of you who can't count that many zeros] to the State's economy a such a GOOD thing?

    BTW -- Didn't Orrin Hatch hang his entire re-re-re-(x7) election hat on keeping those Defense Contracts so vital to Utah in tact?
    Looks like the population voted in an 84 year old do-nothing.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 15, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    maverick,
    either way you look at it BO is to blame. Sequestration was HIS idea.

    the house PASSED a budget, the senate will not.

    as I said before, BO does get some credit for trying to work with the house; too bad harry and chuckie pulled the rug out from under him when he looked like he was reaching agreement with boehner. too bad harry and chuckie are too busy trying to sabotage our government for partisan ends.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    @lost in DC
    "the house PASSED a budget"

    A budget that keeps and expands the sequstration cuts... except of course for the military spending aspect which they want to increase spending to.

    "the senate will not."

    Oh, and the senate did pass a budget this year (google senate passes budget and you'll get Mar. 23, 2013 headlines), they're waiting for the house to agree to bring it to conference. McCain has even complained about his republican colleagues in the house not getting around to that.

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    July 15, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    Let me see cant allow white house visits have to cut back services to vets, have to listen to how the mail hasn't enough people, airports lay off flight controllers, no money, however the President takes a 100 million dollar trip to Africa, the IRS people that audited the conservatives got several hundred million for doing a great job. What a total tradjedy we face when we have what we have as leaders. I would hope come election time they all are cleaned out and we start with all new, there is no possible way it could be worse.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 15, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    atl134,
    thanks for the correction

    however, the point is, it takes more than 1 party to play, and BO and the dems will not.

    as noted before, BO tried, but harry and chuckie said if BO agreed with boehner, they'd shoot it down in the senate.

    while BO is responsible for sequestration - it was his idea - harry and chuckie and the rest of the senate dems are the ones playing obstructionist to acutally getting any sort of budget deal done.

    you remember chuckie from NY? he's the one who caused the run on Indymac, costing the FDIC millions of dollars in excess costs when it failed.

  • Mrs. Bonner FPO, AE
    July 17, 2013 2:48 a.m.

    How I wish my husband didn't have to be furloughed and lose 20% of his income. He was promised a salary, and now one fifth of that salary has been arbitrarily cut. We don't even know if this will end in the Fall or go on and on. The DOD sent us abroad, and we live in a foreign country. All of our financial goals are now being delayed indefinitely. This is negatively impacting our present as well as our future.

    The government spends a LOT of money, and not all of it is spent wisely. I've seen firsthand how exploitation is rampant, because rules are put in place without anyone watching to protect the government from being cheated. Government spending can and should be trimmed down drastically.

    Unfortunately, the sequester does very little to help the government to prioritize. Instead of being allowed to cut the big company party and keep payroll intact, departments are required to keep 80% of the company party and cut 20% of the payroll. The sequester is a very bad law. Very unwise. Our senators really let us down by allowing this to happen. Nobody should be happy or satisfied with it.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 6:47 a.m.

    Much of our military exists to protect global trade, especially the oil trade. We have agreed with the oil producing countries that if they will accept (only) American dollars in exchange for their oil, our military will be there to protect them.

    Might I suggest an alternative what will keep us from continual war. Learn to rely on our own resources and the resources that are available to us without having to go to war to secure them. For example, we can make use of Yellowstone and other geothermal to supply our energy needs. The electricity provided can make liquid fuel (diesel fuel and gasoline) from carbon dioxide. We have alternatives to continual war and sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

    We could put a tax on imported oil sufficient to pay for the military necessary to ensure its continued supply. This way we won't get the false sense that oil is so much cheaper than the alternatives.