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The Wages of Sequestration

[ 127 ] March 11, 2013 |

Most of us might not see the direct impact of the sequester on our lives yet. But for those reliant on the federal government, it’s already hurting bad. The Post has a good piece on how Yellowstone National Park is adapting. The answer is that it’s tough. Faced with a number of terrible choices, Yellowstone administrators have decided not to plow the roads, thus delaying the general opening of the park by at least 2 weeks. That means a lot less tourist dollars for the surrounding communities reliant upon Yellowstone for their survival.

The real crux of the article though is exposing the utter hypocrisy of people who rail on the federal government, yet completely rely on that the same government for survival. The basic attitude–cut waste, but I demand every dollar I have ever received! This hypocrisy is most stark in the American West. Home of the Sagebrush Rebellion, Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan, rural Westerners have long combined talk about government waste with demands for expensive water projects, road building programs, tourist infrastructure, and ensuring that the Mining Act of 1872 not be repealed. It’s the classic “Get the government out of my Medicare” scenario.

We really see this in Yellowstone. Turns out that mandated budget cuts force hard decisions. Who knew! So the local politicians and business owners are furious, while at the same time continue to talk about government waste. Well folks, eventually the “government waste” is you and the programs that you need to survive. I know we have this image of bloated bureaucrats in Washington, but that’s not based in reality. It’s you. You are the big government waste.

Of course, I don’t believe these people are big government waste. I think we should expand the National Park Service and give it a ton of funding. But if you talk about how much you hate big government and you receive government subsidies, whether direct or indirect, then you are the big government you hate. And the austerity you champion comes out of your paycheck.

On the other hand, I guess closing Yellowstone entirely next winter, a very real possibility, means a closure to the endless snowmobile debates that have riven park politics for 2 decades.

Comments (127)

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  1. Cody says:

    Probably a lot better for Yellowstone if we keep those nasty humans out of it any ways.

    • The problem is that the next step after closing it to visitors is to open it to developers and the extraction industry.

      And because citizens don’t have the opportunity to visit, they won’t care as much, so there will be less outcry.

      It’s ACTUALLY a slippery slope, not the fake ones the anti-sex folks or the pro-gun folks talk about.

  2. c u n d gulag says:

    Austerity – ‘The Grapes of Rand.’
    Sour grapes, at that…

    Why don’t they ask their local John Galt’s to fund their parks, so tourist money can come flowing in.
    Now, that would be ideal, no?

    • state says:

      I empathize with the federal employees but state employees in half the country have been living with a 20% wage cut via furlough for five years in some instances and access to state parks/increased user fees were some of the first policies implemented at that level. The National Parks are much more likely to remain open than state parks out in the hinterlands.

  3. J. Otto Pohl says:

    A lot of government subsidies in the West, particularly regarding agriculture are bad policy. California’s water policies are about on par with those of Uzbekistan for being the most wasteful in the world. Now might be a good time to think about getting rid of a lot of the agricultural subsidies including those related to irrigation that are given to big agricultural businesses. It would not only save US taxpayers money, but it would also help people outside the US. Eliminating US cotton subsidies would do more to help African nations like Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, and others that grow cotton then all the foreign aid they have received so far from the US. In fact it would do an awful lot more to help them since conditional aid in the form of IMF and World Bank loans is more harmful than helpful overall.

    • Shakezula says:

      Golf courses in Nevada. Enough. Said.

    • Yes, Otto, it’s just funny how you’re echoing what California farmers say about the federal government.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        California farmers want their federal subsidies ended? Your comment makes no sense.

        • No, farmers complain about the water diverted to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from ‘their’ water to preserve the ecology of the Delta:

          Faced with growing dry spell and water pumping cuts to protect fish, west San Joaquin Valley farmers can expect only a quarter of their water deliveries, federal authorities said Monday.

          West-side water leaders say if the federal allocation does not increase, 200,000 acres will not be in production, and the region will take a $1.5 billion hit.

          They acknowledged the dry spell but blame the problem on the pumping cutbacks to protect delta smelt at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

          “This insanity has to stop,” said general manager Thomas Birmingham of Westlands Water District, a 600,000 acre farm district and the largest customer on the project.

          http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/02/25/3188347/dry-spell-delta-fish-protection.html#storylink=cpy

    • Confused says:

      The vast majority of World Bank loans are not conditional on anything. The Bank is a quite different institution from what it was 20-30 years ago.

      “World Bank loans [are] more harmful than helpful overall” needs a citation.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Right that is why the WB and IMF just made Ghana slash its fuel subsidies raising prices for things here like egg sandwiches, laundry, and soda. See for instance.

        ghanaonline.org/2012/06/ghana-isodec-denounces-threat-of-fuel-subsidy-withdrawl/

        It clearly notes that the reduction of fuel subsidies was being forced upon Ghana by the IMF.

        • Confused says:

          Your link doesn’t work for me.

          But you do understand that the IMF and the World Bank are not the same institution, right? You can’t use them interchangably and blame one for the actions of the other.

          And you also understand that encouraging subsidy policy reform is not the same as a loan (there are some World Bank loans “development policy operations” that do have prior actions like progress on subsidy reforms as a prior action, but most loans have no such requirements).

          And you also understand that fuel subsidies end up being horribly regressive: they use a large amount of the national budget to shift resources towards the middle class and upper middle class. The poor can’t afford appliances that use fuel; they don’t own their own generators, they don’t own cars, they don’t own appliances. So the poor would be much better served by cutting the energy subsidies and redirecting the money towards services that actually benefit the poor (cash transfers, public education, public health, etc.)

          See, well, a *huge* literature on energy subsidies.

          So your claim that Bank loans do more harm than good seems to be lacking evidence.

          Take a look at the World Bank program for Ghana:
          http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ghana/projects/all

          Exactly which of these do you object to?
          Supporting education service delivery?
          Improving market access and extension services for farmers?
          Increasing access to water for the urban poor?
          Increasing access to finance for smallholder farmers?

          I’m always amazed how much smack people are willing to talk about the Bank because of that one thing they did one time, and generalize that to say that every project they support is bad.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            The fuel subsidies definitely help the poor because all the stuff they buy has to be transported. They also have to take tro-tros. The egg sandwiches I eat went from 2 cedis to 2.20 cedis immediately after the fuel subsidy was cut. The price went up because of the petrol increase. She has to transport the eggs and bread. Rich people do not eat those sandwiches. I have seen no plans by the Ghanaian government to do anything with the money saved from fuel subsidies other than pay off debt. If I took away 20% of your purchasing power in a day like the IMF just did here you would not be so smug.

            • Confused says:

              Nobody ever claimed that the poor got no benefit from the fuel subsidies. They claim that the rich got a larger benefit than the poor did. And that there are alternative ways of spending the same amount of money that *don’t* benefit the rich more than the poor.

              If the government is in a situation where it feels like it has to cut spending because of budget difficulties, isn’t it better that it cuts spending that mostly benefits the rich than to cut spending from programs that mostly benefit the poor?

              Why do you hate poor people?

              The alternative to cutting subsidies isn’t not cutting subsidies, its cutting something else, or going deeper into debt.

              And more importantly: what happened to the claim that World Bank loans do more harm than good? I don’t see any World Bank loan here, and you don’t seem interested in commenting on any of the actual World Bank lending projects.

            • 2 to 2.20 is a change of 10 percent, not 20 percent. If you’re going to argue, at least get the math right.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                The sandwich went up 10% so far. But, it is predicted that overall price increases as a result of the loss of the subsidies could be 20%. My guess is the number does not matter at all to anybody here but me. You don’t care if it is 1000% as long as you people at LGM denounce crackers in Mississippi then you are good people.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Here is another article on the IMF forcing Ghana to remove fuel subsidies.

        wwww.modernghana.com/news/445174/1/removal-of-fuel-subsidy-is-draconianafag-laments.html

        Again one of the prime movers of this bad policy mentioned is the IMF.

        • Hogan says:

          Well, and also rising oil prices and a rapidly increasing government budget deficit.

          But won’t somebody think of the egg sandwiches?

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            The fuel prices went up because the IMF forced the subsidy to be removed. The idiot IMF claimed that the subsidy only helped rich people because poor people do not own cars. But, poor people eat and food has to be transported. I know you think it is funny that 23 million black people are now 10%-20% poorer than they were because of policies backed by the liberal and progressive Obama administration. But, you know what if it were White Canadians being subjected to this policy I think it would be different. I know the racists at Crooked Timber shed a lot of tears over the very rich white Greeks being slightly poorer. But, hey Africans we can do anything we want to them and laugh at it. As long as we condemn crackers in Mississippi we are not racists. You people are far worse racists than the crackers.

            • Confused says:

              “The idiot IMF claimed that the subsidy only helped rich people because poor people do not own cars. ”

              I doubt that. I think it more likely that the IMF claimed that the subsidy was overall regressive: that rich people consumed a larger portion of the benefits of the subsidy per capita than the poor did. Not that the poor didn’t benefit from it at all, but that the rich benefited more, and that there are better alternative uses of the money that would actually be progressive.

            • Hogan says:

              Yes, suggesting that you’re not presenting all the facts on this issue is something only a stone cold racist would do. Thank you for pointing this out.

              • Malaclypse says:

                A stone cold Stalinist racist, you mean.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                Here is an article that mentions the World Bank as putting pressure on Ghana to slash fuel subsidies.

                nationalmirroronline.net/new/ghana-government-cuts-fuel-subsidies-prices-jump/

                • Confused says:

                  I have no difficulty believing that the World Bank put pressure on the Ghanaian government to reduce/end fuel subsidies.

                  I do have difficulty believing that this somehow meant that their entire lending portfolio was conditional on subsidy reform, and that this thus meant that on net Bank lending did more harm than good. Which was your claim.

                  I also don’t think that removing energy subsidies is a bad thing. There are more effective ways to help the poor. But even if I were wrong on this, that still doesn’t somehow eliminate the benefits from the Bank’s lending program.

            • Anonymous says:

              I know you think it is funny that 23 million black people are now 10%-20% poorer than they were because of policies backed by the liberal and progressive Obama administration.

              Yes. We think it’s absolutely fucking hilarious.

            • Malaclypse says:

              I know you think it is funny that 23 million black people are now 10%-20% poorer than they were because of policies backed by the liberal and progressive Obama administration.

              Obama runs the IMF now? Man, that is one hell of a BULLY PULPIT he has.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                Do you really think that the US President has absolutely no influence over the IMF which is after all a US created institution?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Well, Meg Lundsager, who controls a whopping 16.75% of the votes of the IMF Board, was appointed in 2007. So tell me again how Obama controls the IMF. Is it the BULLY PULPIT? Or is it more along the lines of you wanting to keep fucking that walrus?

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  How exactly has Obama done anything to change US policy towards Africa since 2007 for the better?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Wow, those goalposts are moving so fast I can barely see them.

                  Still waiting to hear how, exactly, Obama controls the IMF. Please be specific and use examples.

                • Hogan says:

                  the IMF which is after all a US created institution?

                  Yeah, I’ve never heard of the Bretton Woods agreement either.

        • Hogan says:

          Also, nothing in that article about the World Bank.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Bear with me – the DST shift always leaves me a bit loopy, so I just want to be sure I understand:

          Ending subsidies for oil in Ghana = bad.
          Ending subsidies for water in Calif = good.

          Is that your position?

            • Hogan says:

              After all, most farmers in California are white.

            • Malaclypse says:

              So, your position on subsidies is driven by how much it affects you personally. Um, okay. Hard to believe people find you narcissistic.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                No, it is on what is good policy. The fuel subsidies here are supported by almost all labor unions and civil society organizations. Unlike the IMF, they believe that the subsidies help poor people a lot more than the alternative. Which contrary to the comments here is not to spend it some other way on poor people. It is to overall reduce social spending something the IMF and WB have been aiming for in Africa for a long time. That is it won’t get spent on poor people. Some might go into the pockets of politicians, some will be used to pay interest on IMF and WB loans, but so far I don’t see any proposals to use it in a way better than it currently is being spent. Why do you oppose the existence of social democratic policies in Africa when you champion them in the US?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I don’t. Why do you support subsidies in Ghana, but dislike them in the US?

                • Confused says:

                  “It is to overall reduce social spending something the IMF and WB have been aiming for in Africa for a long time.”

                  At least as far as WB is concerned: citation needed. The Bank has championed all kinds of social programs throughout the world. Indeed the biggest problem that the Bank usually encounters is in getting the government to spend enough to sustain the programs that are supported by Bank-financed projects.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Because the cotton subsidies in the US are bad policy. They enrich already rich corporations at the expense of farmers in Africa and other places. They are also a bad allocation of resources. The water could be far better used elsewhere.

              • Stag Party Palin says:

                Not so fast Mac. I’m a Cal resident and 1000% in favor of eliminating water subsidies (or more correctly the 50-year sweetheart water deals that allow farmers to grow rice in the desert). J Otto may not have all his facts right, but the case against water prices here is solid.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Perhaps, but I doubt you and Otto share many reasons for wanting the subsidies ended. Notice he has not actually provided any.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Not true. I said it provided aid to corporate agriculture that was already rich, allocated a scarce resource that could be better used elsewhere, and caused economic distress to poor countries growing cotton who can not compete with US subsidized crops.

        • Confused says:

          Removing subsidies hurts. But if you don’t remove the subsidies, you have to do something else: raise taxes, cut other spending, or borrow more. Those all hurt too. It’s not self-evident that continuing the subsidies is better than the others.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Also one final article on the role of the IMF in removing fuel subsidies in Ghana. It is quite clear that the government of Ghana did this at the behest of the IMF. I notice, however, your cowardly anonymous comment had no citations or evidence what so ever.

        allafrica.com/stories/20120694.html

        • Hogan says:

          IMF =/= World Bank.

        • Cody says:

          Couldn’t Ghana just move the oil subsidy to say – food subsidies for the poor? Or subsidizing water?

          Instead they chose to pay down debt. Seems like the government has clear priorities here. Find subsidies that benefit the rich more than the poor, when that’s not an option payback debt.

          If they don’t want to help the poor, there doesn’t seem to be any recourse.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            No the IMF and WB have clear priorities. The government of Ghana seems incapable of acting independently on this matter. Which is why the IMF and WB loans are bad they are like heroin to a drug addict. They take away all of the abusers agency regarding the substance. The IMF and WB made Ghana remove the food subsidies long ago. We used to have them under Rawlings.

            • Hogan says:

              The government of Ghana seems incapable of acting independently on this matter.

              I’m sure the government of Ghana finds that belief extremely convenient.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                They do, but Nkrumah is dead and the NDC and NPP are radically different from the old CPP. The fact is that the two main political parties today are addicted to foreign aid in a way that like other addictions is detrimental. But, remember that when Nkrumah did act independently the ultra liberal Johnson administration had him thrown out of power in a military coup.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                Well just to show I am not the only person who believes this. Jonathan Glennie writes,

                “Studies in other countries have drawn similar conclusions. Ghana’s budget has been described as a ‘facade’ and a ‘deceptive mirage’ directed towards satisfying donors rather than being a genuine and thought-through spending plan.”

                Jonathan Glennie, The Trouble with Aid: Why Less Could Mean More for Africa (London: Zed Book, 2008), p. 61.

  4. LeeEsq says:

    The sequester might end up giving me an inadvertent holiday. I represent immigrants and USCIS and the immigration courts might end up going on furlough anywhere between a couple of days to two weeks to deal with the sequester cuts. This means that several of my client’s cases are going to be adjourned. If their cases are adjourned than it will be two weeks without clients paying bills to the firm. Fun times, fun times.

  5. Shakezula says:

    I think the split braining on Government = bad/Well maintained roads = good, is just a frustrating facet of human nature. Everyone wants to eat his cake while maintaining the same amount of cake. Maybe this will lead to a giant “Ah-ha!” moment and we’ll all be a bit smarter.

    Maybe I’ll get two sparkle ponies for Easter.

    What I object to are people who should know better encouraging the “common man” to think he can continue to eat his cake without cakeloss if they take the tiny slice on defenseless sucker’s plate. See for example the GOP.

    • catclub says:

      I think for Easter you should get a Trinity of Sparkle Ponies.
      Although maybe the third will arrive in time for Pentecost.

    • brewmn says:

      On the bright side, five plus years of Obamian reasonableness to a fault combined with utter batshit craziness from the right does seem to be waking people up to the fact that a government that does nothing but advance the interests of obscenely rich people may not lead to the Galtian paradise Rionald Reagan spoke of thirty-odd years ago.

      • somethingblue says:

        Lead to? I thought government doing nothing but advance the interests of obscenely rich people was already the Galtian paradise.

        • brewmn says:

          Well, we had nowhere to go but up after the socialist hell of the post-war years. Galtian paradises aren’t built overnight; it takes time for the withdrawal of the masses off of their addiction to government-funded healthcare and retirement to take effect.

        • Shakezula says:

          I think paradise isn’t complete until we beg them to come out of Galt’s Gulch and deliver the heads of all union members as proof of our contrition.

  6. It seems to me likely that the cuts are going to hurt the worst in the reddest states, since they tend to be the states that are net importers of federal tax dollars. I wonder how long it will take the people who live in those places to dope out the connection? About forever is my guess.

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      Yep…the “connection” that will be made in a great many minds (including many in my extended family) will be “This is Obama taking necessary services away from decent hard-working people like me so he can give more welfare to the lazy blahs.”

    • Joshua says:

      The sequester is designed to make government work worse than before. This is a feature, maybe the main feature. The Republicans who always talk about how government doesn’t work are the ones who went along with it. Those Republicans overwhelmingly come from those same red states.

      This just goes along with that worldview.

  7. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “exposing the utter hypocrisy of people who rail on the federal government, yet completely rely on that the same government for survival.”

    Arguing sensibly with such people is akin to arguing with two-year-olds to get them to eat their damn beets.

    The difference is that two-year-olds eventually grow up.

  8. DrDick says:

    I would feel a lot more sympathy for the folks around Yellowstone if they were not the epitome of the phenomenon you cite. All those folks are solid Tea Party Republicans hoist upon their own whackaloon petard. Unfortunately, the rest of us who use the parks (my grandson is coming up to visit this summer and we are going to Yellowstone and Glacier) also have to suffer for their idiocy.

  9. jon says:

    Yep. the main effect of the Sequester will be felt in the wider economy from the lack of economic multiplier effects from reduced Federal spending. There is waste in the budget, but the Sequester is not designed to address that in any way. The most positive aspect of the Sequester is in the reductions to Defense spending, where too much of the budget already is spent, there is outsized bloat and waste, and the jobs multiplier for Federal spending is the smallest among nearly all classes of government spending.

    The road plowing in Yellowstone being referenced is to open the full extent of the roads within the park. Yellowstone does have portions open throughout the winter, only accessible from one direction or another. It is reasonable to consider snow plowing reductions which have the effect of reducing through traffic in shoulder seasons, when there are far fewer tourists than in the summer peak. This also opens opportunities for the snowmobile industry, backcountry skiers, and expedition guides, when those are the only ways to gain access to the majority of the park.

  10. actor212 says:

    My favorite is how Republicans, Inc are whining about the White House closing to the public.

    You just can’t buy this kind of chootspah.

  11. actor212 says:

    By the way, do those closings apply to cattle, too?

  12. Green Caboose says:

    It’s the old “I didn’t mean me – I’m different” syndrome.

    The folks around Yellowstone aren’t bitching about the money spent on their stuff – it’s all those trillions going to Obama’s lazy brothas in the ‘hood so they can eat t-bone steaks in their cadillacs while talking on free cell phones.

    We see this all the time – especially on the right wing. It’s like those pro-life women who sneak into abortion clinics and profess that their situation is different, unlike those sluts who enjoy abortions.

  13. Just Me says:

    I’ve worked in the field of NSF-funded astronomy for quite a number of years
    now, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of my co-workers are
    anti-government Republicans. This despite many of them having been directly or
    indirectly paid by governmental funding for most of their lives. Our local
    Congressional representative is quite the Teabagger, but there are more than a
    few bumper stickers in the parking lot supporting him. I live in a small, rural
    town, and if this observatory (a significant, truly world-class facility) were
    shut down, not only would the impact on the local economy be severe, but many
    highly technically trained people would be out of a job with no good alternative
    nearby. As much as I love working in astronomy, I’m under no illusion about its
    importance in the lives of most people, or how easily it could be cut from the
    Federal budget. I can only imagine that the Republican supporters here believe
    that nothing bad will happen to the observatory because they are so important
    and deserving, not like the wasteful spending by the Federal government on other
    folks.

    • I have noticed over the years that fans of Small Government are generally fans of Small Government only when the government is spending money on Stuff That They Disapprove Of. When the government spends money on Stuff That They Approve Of, they are fans of Big Government. Or, to put it another way, there is Spending on The Deserving (me) and Spending on The Undeserving (all of those other moochers, freeloaders and parasites).

  14. Data Tutashkhia says:

    But if you talk about how much you hate big government and you receive government subsidies, whether direct or indirect, then you are the big government you hate.

    This is a caricature. One could believe that a big part of the government spending is a total waste, and yet the rest of it is absolutely essential.

    • John (not McCain) says:

      Of course. The part of government spending that comes to me is essential; the part that goes to you is waste. Makes perfect sense.

      • Data Tutashkhia says:

        You seem to believe that this necessarily amounts to hypocrisy, but doesn’t. One could (and most often does) feel that a part of the government spending is a waste and another part is absolutely essential regardless of what comes or doesn’t come to them. There are many other reasons to feel that way.

        • NonyNony says:

          Name one bit of government funding that you support that you don’t benefit from.

          Show your work. There will be an exam later.

          (The idea that anyone anywhere supports government spending that doesn’t benefit them is laughable, and can only be uttered by a person who doesn’t understand the phrase “enlightened self-interest” to explain why people are willing to pay taxes to make sure that other people below the poverty line aren’t dying in ditches).

          • Data Tutashkhia says:

            Well, exactly, they may believe that some spending is beneficial for the society, and that some other spending (which could be most of it) is a waste.

            And so they complain about the spending. There is no hypocrisy in it, it’s perfectly normal.

            IOW, if you like some spending, it doesn’t follow that you should like all the spending.

            Is this so hard to understand?

            • NonyNony says:

              Okay, it’s clear that you are just trolling, and not actually someone who wants to have a real discussion at all or you are incredibly un-self aware about what you’re writing.

              Because this:

              Well, exactly, they may believe that some spending is beneficial for the society, and that some other spending (which could be most of it) is a waste.

              And so they complain about the spending. There is no hypocrisy in it, it’s perfectly normal.

              Is the kind of waste that liberals complain about. The conservative idiots who have gotten us into this sequester mess complain about generic “government waste” and then are surprised to find out that the subsidies that they depend on for their livelihood are considered to be “government waste” by other people.

              I’ll make a note of this and put you into the same bucket that Neirporent swims around in in the future. You’re either a troll or you have severe reading comprehension issues.

              • Data Tutashkhia says:

                I got the impression that both parties have gotten you into this sequester mess (your words), exactly because they couldn’t agree on what to cut and what to spare.

                Again, I repeat: accusing people who complain, simultaneously, about government waste and cutting programs they like of hypocrisy is fallacious reasoning.

                But you don’t sound like you are capable of understanding this simple proposition, so go ahead, have the last word.

    • NonyNony says:

      Which is exactly what Erik is saying.

      Let me put it more pithily for you – “one man’s essential subsidy is another man’s government waste.” Does that help with the reading comprehension?

    • Joshua says:

      It’s not a caricature.

      Every dollar of government spending – every dollar – has someone on the receiving end who feels it is absolutely essential.

      Of course, all those people deserve to have their views heard. The point is that those people do not deserve to whine about how their view is so much more important than the other people getting federal dollars.

  15. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    patience… president scott walker will sell yellowstone, on mostly secret terms (but the ones we learn about make obvious the sweetheart nature of the deal) to donald trump. *that* will fix things

  16. [...] with Dean Baker that the 7.7% unemployment rate is likely a blip that will rise right back up with the cascading impact of the sequester and continued decline in public sector work. Not to mention other fundamental issues such as people [...]

  17. basement cat says:

    Around here, the TSA has responded to the sequester by closing the special airport security lanes for first class/status passengers. The whining about this in the (now slightly longer) security lines has been epic.

  18. jon says:

    This might also be a good moment to remember that the National Park system was created in large part to provide destination for rich tourists and sportsmen, who would be brought to the parks by the major railroad companies. And not for free. So, public investment in order to stimulate demand for a private service. All in all, it seems to have been a pretty good deal all around.

  19. ironic irony says:

    So where were these folks when we were fighting two wars off books? Probably talking about how Bush was a real leader, blah blah blah.

  20. [...] and never got anyone to talk about it, I’m glad the workers are taking action. •The effects of sequestration. •Remember how we went into the Middle East for democracy and freedom? Somehow I [...]

  21. Mac says:

    I’m in the military and it is becoming painful to see the tortured logic of my “small government” conservative comrades as they try to justify the sequester since Obama is against it therefore they have to be for it, even though it totally bones them. I work with a gentleman who is the son of a retired general, he is retired military himself, and now he is a contractor who is payed entitrely by taxpayer dollars. Which is fine in the abstract, but he considers himself a small govt type. Who has a govt pension and healthcare for life. Who was raised on his father’s taxpayer provided salary. Who went to school on the GI Bill. Whose company takes a paycheck monthly from the government. When someone mentions the sequester in the office you can see the steam start to come from his ears as his preferred political philosophy and his personal well being crash into each other.

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