Friday, March 1, 2013

2013 Sequestration

I blogged about religion this week (the pope). I bet he's glad to be gone from the Vatican's financial dramas and cover-ups. Italy Jobless Rate Jumps to Record High of 11.7 Percent in January   CNBC - March 1, 2013

Let's move to the US economy and the sequester. Well, something has to be done, but is this our best choice?

    The Sequestration (or Sequester) is the automatic "across the board" spending reductions enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and delayed by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 from January 1 to March 1, 2013. Cuts of approximately $85.4 billion during fiscal year 2013 came into effect on March 1, 2013. The cuts are split evenly (by dollar amounts) between the defense and non-defense categories. Some major programs like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay (including military pay and pensions) and veterans' benefits are exempt. Medicare spending will be reduced by only 2% per year versus the planned levels. Over the 2013-2021 period, the sequester would reduce planned spending by $1.0 trillion with interest savings of approximately $170 billion, for a total of nearly $1.2 trillion in debt reduction or avoidance. The blunt nature of the cuts has been criticized, with some favoring more tailored cuts and others arguing for postponement while the economy improves.

Sequester deadline day is here, but the effects won't be instantaneous   MSNBC - March 1, 2013
It's Friday, March 1, and that means the federal government has crossed the much-hyped and dreaded deadline for the fiscal reductions known as the "sequester." The members of Congress who for voted for the Budget Control Act - and the budget cuts contained within - and President Barack Obama who signed it into law on Aug. 2, 2011, may not have believed the day would arrive, but now it has. But today is only the beginning of the beginning.

First Thoughts: Sequester Day caps off an absurd week   MSNBC - March 1, 2013
It's Sequester Day, and what an absurd week it's been ... The GOP's mixed message: Some in the party are denouncing the cuts, while others are cheering them on ... What happens next? Folks, Bill Bolling WANTS to run in Virginia's gubernatorial contest ... This week's 2016 news ... Newsy nuggets from our NBC/WSJ poll ... And Romney on the roller coaster of 2012.

Who will the 'sequester' budget cuts hurt?   BBC - March 1, 2013
On Friday night, the US government may slash $1.2tn from the federal budget over the next decade. Who will these cuts hurt? Congress has until 23:59 EST on Friday (04:59 GMT on Saturday) to come up with an alternate budget plan that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on. If that fails to happen - and the consensus in Washington DC right now is that it will not - the entire country will default to what was considered a worst-case scenario. That means automatic budget cuts designed to inflict maximum pain.

Sequester deadline looms as US faces $85bn cuts   BBC - March 1, 2013
US political leaders are to meet for last-ditch talks at the White House, amid the prospect of steep budget cuts. Cuts worth $85bn originally passed in an effort to push Congress to strike a budget deal, are due become law by the end of Friday.

For Americans, Income Falls But Spending Goes Up   CNBC - March 1, 2013
U.S. consumers increased spending modestly in January from December. Income plunged by the most in two decades, although the decline followed a one-time surge in December. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January. The gain was driven by an increase in spending on services, primarily reflecting higher heating bills. Spending on durable goods such as cars and non-durable goods such as clothing actually fell.

Spinning Sequestration: Both Sides Are Doing It   CNBC - March 1, 2013
To hear President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet tell it, the mandatory budget cuts known as the sequester will be disastrous. "The sequester will weaken America's economic recovery," Obama said at a Virginia shipyard this week. "It will weaken our military readiness. And it will weaken the basic services that the American people depend on every single day."

Spending cuts due to ground Navy's Blue Angels flying team   Reuters - March 1, 2013
Blue Angels pilot Dave Tickle said he is focused on practicing maneuvers for an upcoming show in California instead of worrying about how federal spending cuts will threaten performances this year by the U.S. Navy's renowned flight demonstration squadron. With $85 billion in automatic cuts due to take effect on Friday, millions of fans across the country will likely miss out on the precision flying team's thrilling shows this year.