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Sequester exposes priorities

This Friday, the cuts will take effect. About half of the $85 billion will come from national defense. Besides reductions to military benefits, there will be additional reductions to airport security, border security and military research. Furloughs are expected to be delivered to 800,000 civilian members of the Defense Department. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been preparing his work force for these furloughs and what they would possibly look like. For now, it appears that each worker would stay home 1 day per week without pay.

Since the Sequester cuts take effect on Friday, and there has been little conversation yet, then it appears that this scenario is likely to take place. So here’s the question. If there’s been little attempt to work together, then should we assume it’s simply not important enough? In other words, if America can really live without 800,000 man days a week, and higher levels of security, perhaps Congress should let the deadline pass and then we can tighten our belts. Being in dire financial straits just may require Congress to spend money more wisely. That’s what takes place in families and corporations.

There is no argument that we can become more efficient. It sounds like a broken record, but in the absence of conversation, perhaps the best alternative is ‘finance by force’.

Mark Schuster, Partner

February 24, 2013

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