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Stay or Go?

Washington lawmakers have a dilemma. They are scheduled to go home for Easter Break on March 25th and the break lasts until April 7th. The White House budget which comes out in mid-February is not expected to come out until mid-March. If the budget does not address the necessary funding for to run the government, there will be a shutdown on March 28th.

There is also a deadline of March 1st for the ‘sequestration’. This is a federal statute that was signed into law by President Obama on August 2nd, 2011. Besides being a scary word that will become very familiar to America fairly soon, it signals approximately $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that will take place over the next several months.

Some federal agencies would be required to cut their budgets by up to 10%. For example, CNN reported that this means the Department of Defense would begin to furlough its 800,000 workers by having them stay home 1 day per week without pay. Other cuts would include 4 million less “Meals on Wheels” to our elderly. All of this is part of an effort to reduce federal deficits $1.2 trillion over ten years or $120 billion per year.

The debt that’s heading toward $17 trillion? That conversation will take place after Easter break. There’s no reason to discuss the dollars while the posturing over the pennies is heading for a showdown.

-Mark Schuster, Partner

February 10, 2013

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