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Now that Washington looks to have accepted the $85B sequestration, GOP legislators are looking...

Now that Washington looks to have accepted the $85B sequestration, GOP legislators are looking to see where they can apply the scalpel rather than the machete. Programs at risk include one for robotic squirrels that helps researchers understand how squirrels interact with rattlesnakes, and Nasa's research on feeding astronauts on Mars.
Comments (81)
  • From Merrill...


    "Sequester hits Republican leaning states harder
    In general, Republican-leaning states are facing larger spending cuts from the
    sequester than Democratic-leaning states . We do not believe that the
    extra pain in Republican districts will be enough to lead fiscal conservatives to
    scale back on the sequester. In our view, Republicans are likely to tolerate the
    extra pain because modifying the sequester would likely require giving in to
    Democratic demands for higher tax revenues.
    Politics makes strange bedfellows
    There is another irony here. Democrats have offered to reduce some of the
    sequester’s cuts in exchange for closing tax loopholes. However, that would likely
    fall on upper-income earners who are in greater concentrations in many
    Democratic-leaning states. So there you have it: if Republicans would agree to
    the Democratic plan, Republican leaning states would benefit at the expense of
    Democratic leaning states. A perfect illustration of unintended consequences in
    the budget debate. "
    10 Mar 2013, 09:13 AM Reply Like
  • Bbro.... Look at heat map of Medicare spending states on a per capita basis and you will see the same as you mentioned. Fraud is a decent portion of the costs in some of those states relative to other states.
    10 Mar 2013, 09:51 AM Reply Like
  • Please cite a source for the, "Democrats have offered to reduce some of the sequester’s cuts in exchange for closing tax loopholes." assertion. Thanks.
    10 Mar 2013, 10:43 AM Reply Like
  • Not sure but I believe it was Senate Bill 388....
    10 Mar 2013, 11:22 AM Reply Like


    "Closing tax loopholes" is under revenue.
    "Superlative CPI" is chained CPI, which reduces social security cost of living adjustments so that they rise in line with inflation, not with average wages.


    One can certainly dislike this offer, but it is an offer to reduce the sequester's custs and close tax loopholes. It is truly bizarre how many people seem genuinely unaware of its existence, even though Obama mentions it at least once a day.
    10 Mar 2013, 12:56 PM Reply Like
  • The thinking here is ALL backwards. STATES DO NOT PAY TAXES. People do. So it doesnt matter if new york is a loser, it matters WHO pays the tab. mostly its Republicans paying the tab for governmen,t, and the people vote pay for the higher taxes and still vote for spendthrift tax-and-spend democrats are called CHUMPS.


    As a taxpayer in a Republican state, I support the Republican position 100% as I know the Democrat spend-more tax-more position will hurt me, hurt my state and hurt the nation.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:31 PM Reply Like
  • Democrats have 'offered' to RAISE TAXES. These are not 'tax loopholes' thats political smoke up our rears, these are tax laws Congress wrote and now they want more skin off of taxpayers.


    That's the Democrat cure-all solution to all ills... beat up on taxpayers ever more.


    After over a TRILLION in tax hikes at the beginning of this year the Democrat proposals are a slap in the face to everyone who got a tax hike - which is everyone who works btw, since even the payroll tax was raised. Somehow people can get a 2% cut and thats ok but the govt would just DIE if given a 2% cut.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:45 PM Reply Like
  • What bull. Get any "Joe from Main Street" and he could cut billions of dollars in wasteful spending in a heartbeat.


    Truth is that the politicians simply don't want to cut anything.
    10 Mar 2013, 09:16 AM Reply Like
  • Then the first thing that needs to be cut is that obsolete and exhorbiantly expensive F-35.


    But Lockheed has bought off so many congressmen that this colossal waste of money will never be cut.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • Wyo old buddy, there are several online apps that let people do just that.


    You should give it a go :-)




    It truly isn't that hard, but there are invariably some unpopular choices that must be made.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • The problem, wyo, is that no two "Joes from Main Street" will agree on what is wasteful spending.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:20 PM Reply Like
  • Cash Subsidies/Aid to All Foreign Nations and the United Nations.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:23 PM Reply Like
  • For those astronauts,can't we just give them Mars Bars and be done with it? Why does everything have to be so complicated?
    10 Mar 2013, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • I would like to see them cut some of their fat, ie, benefits and pay, prior to cutting "entitlements" that have been paid into for decades by working taxpayers.
    10 Mar 2013, 09:47 AM Reply Like
  • bgold corporations don't want their money programs cut after paying millions i campaign contributions either. They feel "entitled" too. Which is why we have to build more ships and tanks that we don't need. (we still need planes)


    Robotic squirrels are sacred..
    10 Mar 2013, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • The U.S. should split up into red states and blue states, eliminate federal income taxes and see who goes broke first.
    10 Mar 2013, 10:02 AM Reply Like
  • I believe South Carolina owes New Jersey...billions...and Alabama would have to cut a sizable check to Massachusetts...
    10 Mar 2013, 10:49 AM Reply Like
  • States owe eachother nothing. Transfer payments are to people.Democrat voters owe Republican voters trillions.


    Idiot Democrat voters who dont want their states to export tax money need to stop sending tax-borrow-and-spend Democrats to DC.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:48 PM Reply Like
  • Several years ago the IMF (International Monetary Fund) suggested that the US could solve its fiscal imbalance with a national sales tax or value added tax, like Canada and the European nations have.
    Problem solved!
    Maybe we should stop spending $2.5 billion sending rockets to Mars to look for Martians when there are 55 million Americans with no health care, who need food stamps to keep body and soul together.
    10 Mar 2013, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • Jeez, what a radical idea. Take care of our people first, martians second...
    10 Mar 2013, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • Yeah, but then we have to deal with all those unemployed robots somehow.
    10 Mar 2013, 10:53 AM Reply Like
  • LOL!!
    10 Mar 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • > stop spending $2.5 billion sending rockets to Mars to look for
    > Martians when there are 55 million Americans with no health care
    > who need food stamps to keep body and soul together


    This is a good idea in principle, to favor immediate domestic needs over long-term research, but you might check your math.


    If universal healthcare and full empoyement only cost $2.5B, or even $25B or even as much as $250B, don't you think we would have done that by now? The big hurdle to these things is that they're not cheap. :-)


    I have no objection to cutting the small stuff too, but we have to realize that a few less rockets to Mars isn't something that's going to solve all our problems, at some point we need to look at the big chunks like defense and healthcare.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:14 AM Reply Like
  • d_v
    You and your minions always have the same answer for any proposal, the item is always too small to make a difference.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • > the item is always too small to make a difference.


    Is that why I said, "I have no objection to cutting the small stuff too"?


    Please at least attempt to be literate. :-)


    And I didn't say that it didn't make a difference, I just said it "isn't something that's going to solve all our problems". And I challenge you to disprove that statement.


    By all means, cut the low-priority small stuff -- but you have to realize that it's still not going to make a meaningful dent, at some point you have to make the hard choices.


    And we should make those hard choices sooner rather than later.


    Quibbling over which $2.5B to cut is just a distraction. Though as you say, we should probably make those cuts too.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • D_V...... We need to SOLVE the problem with healthcare in US which is cost. Why so grossly more expensive here with mostly less favorable outcomes than other countries? Each person has their own ideas as how to cut cost. Simply cutting people out of the health plan in an effort to save will only continue the rise in costs. Healthcare costs in the last 12-13 years is destroying middle class wealth.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:31 AM Reply Like
  • > We need to SOLVE the problem with healthcare in US which
    > is cost.


    I totally agree.


    And here's my latest favorite article on just that subject, just in case anyone hasn't seen it yet, it is excellent, it is actual journalism for a change:
    10 Mar 2013, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • What do you have against Martians?
    10 Mar 2013, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • uncle
    so you think that a national sales tax or a value added tax will solve the spending problem of the equation spending = expenses; I wouldn't be so naive to trust the politicians to use such ideas...the problem is with spending ...I have a better idea why not have a consumption tax to reduce consumption and the trade deficit and increase savings to create real jobs
    10 Mar 2013, 09:34 PM Reply Like
  • We are not taxing them yet for living in our galaxy.
    10 Mar 2013, 09:39 PM Reply Like
  • "Several years ago the IMF (International Monetary Fund) suggested..."


    well that's proof enough it would be a horrible idea.


    "Maybe we should stop spending $2.5 billion sending rockets to Mars to look for Martians when there are 55 million Americans with no health care"
    The Government spends $1.5 TRILLION on healthcare.
    So increasing that spending by another 0.5% would solve what exactly?


    "who need food stamps to keep body and soul together. "
    wow. Govt spending on welfare state spending is literally in the trillions. How much more do we have to spend to prove to you that it doesnt actually work?
    10 Mar 2013, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • "We need to SOLVE the problem with healthcare in US which is cost."


    Govt is the PROBLEM in healthcare costs, not the solution.
    That is the brutal plain fact. More govt spending, regulation and rules just make it worse not better. If tomorrow it was all blown way, down to ending rules forbidding import of cheap drugs and rules forbidding nurses from diagnosing us (forcing us to have doctros see us on routine care that doesnt require them), to the rules in Obmacare forbidding lowcost high deductible health insurance, we'd be blown away by how much cheaper healthcare would be.
    11 Mar 2013, 12:01 AM Reply Like
  • 1955
    so the 15M-25M illegal immigrants or whatever the number using health care do not materially increase its cost? is this an idea to overlook or what? how can this be overlooked to control cost? society is to the point that nothing can be solved anymore
    12 Mar 2013, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • I would like to see every US funded program put online and each
    citizen would get $1 to spend on the funding.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:14 AM Reply Like
  • There are those kinds of things out there:





    10 Mar 2013, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • Cutting the budget at my dining room table is easy enough. It's the unintended consequences that concern me. Cut defense spending - we lose defense spending related jobs, cut health care spending - we lose health care related jobs,....... I see a trend developing here. We're hooked on the Federal deficit fix. If we eliminate it as a country, will we find out we are not so far from Detroit as we think we are, financially speaking?
    10 Mar 2013, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • > Cut defense spending - we lose defense spending related jobs


    True, but if we are viewing defense as basically a jobs program (and this is arguably very true), are there perhaps other industries that those jobs could be applied to that are a better bang for the buck? Maybe infrastructure? Maybe various modernization efforts with good ROI? We could build things that actually get used. :-)


    > cut health care spending - we lose health care related jobs


    Not necessarily, arguably there is just too much profit going to supposedly non-profit organizations in healthcare:


    However, without reforming the system significantly, you are correct, jobs would be lost with simple cuts.
    10 Mar 2013, 12:30 PM Reply Like
  • D, I read the Time article last week. I highly recommend it (with a salt shaker nearby as it is a Time piece). Before one where to read it, here's a question, which entity spends more on lobbying DC, the defense industry or the health care industry?


    Defense - Rotate from bombing and rebuilding other countries to improving ours with an eye towards efforts to improve our economic competitiveness. Great concept, but one I struggle with as to what they might be. I would be very interested in hearing thoughtful suggestions.
    10 Mar 2013, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • > which entity spends more on lobbying DC, the defense industry
    > or the health care industry?


    Healthcare by more than 3 to 1:


    > efforts to improve our economic competitiveness


    Some suggestions:


    Real education improvement/reform -- don't just throw money at it to do more of it equally badly, but learn to scale the things that work and spread them to more Americans.


    Research and development -- become a powerhouse in The Next Big thing, maybe several Next Big Things. Additive manufacturing? Cloud computing (new applications of it)? Biotech? Others?


    Cost-of-living reduction could be a component of this too, to keep wages competitive without sacrificing quality of life. Specifically, could a good U.S. standard of living be achieved more cheaply? Certainly healthcare could. Housing? Energy? Food?


    Refocus away from financialism. Why are 30% of domestic profits made by the financial sector? ( That's a lot of so-called productivity wasted on work that arguably doesn't provide much real value. It's basically rent-extraction.
    10 Mar 2013, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • Um, even better, just let every taxpayer dictate where their tax dollars would go. that would be interesting to say the least.
    11 Mar 2013, 12:02 AM Reply Like
  • Once you let go of your belief in the myth that govt spending creates jobs, you'll realize the 'harm' you speak of is mythical as well.
    11 Mar 2013, 12:03 AM Reply Like
  • Every industry that is heavily regulated or govt-involved ends up needing lobbyists, which ends up leading to over-regulated, screwed up, corrupt, systems of governance.


    Nothing is more over-regulated, screwed up by Government, and harmed by govt meddling than healthcare.


    Repeal Obamacare. And keep going.
    11 Mar 2013, 12:12 AM Reply Like
  • You make excellent observations, D. It just seems that lately when we come up with a big thing, it's manufactured in China and imported, or biotech targets the captive market of the so-called non-profit health care system and we pay $5,000+ for a dose of life saving medicine that cost $300 to produce.


    Refocus away from financialism, or any other out of balance sector of the U. S. economy? Nice thought, that hedge fund managers will be satisfied with $5M/yr instead of $50M, or non-profit health care CEO's will give up their $4M/yr salaries for $400K. I won't be holding my breath. Some things can't be fixed, ask the Egytians, Romans, Spanish, English, etc..
    11 Mar 2013, 01:33 AM Reply Like
  • bug


    things can be fixed after a collapse with no questions asked, ifs or buts; it will be up to the people if they will be brain-dead still or have any backbone; by the way, the Roman empire fell but was split up into West and Eastern empires (any similarities to today?); the West empire fell into dark ages while the Eastern empire went on for another 1,000 years when it finally fell to the Ottomans; there is always hope and we can leave future generations a better world
    12 Mar 2013, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • Hello? NOTHING got cut by sequestration (other than the phony crap the Obama administration is doing to make it look as though the "cuts" were drastic and horrible like canceling White House tours).


    All together now...sequestration merely cut the rate of *increases* in spending by a miniscule amount. Spending *still* increases, just at slightly slower rate. Those "catastrophic" cuts are not really cuts at all. In other words, same all BS from DC about spending cuts that aren't really cuts at all.


    Actually, the money for robotic squirrels might be worth it if they were going to be used to replace politicians.
    10 Mar 2013, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • This is false. ACTUAL spending on discretionary programs declines in each of the next 2 years under sequestration:
    see table on page 9.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:29 PM Reply Like
  • Not by enough Chemy and while Taxation Increases.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:44 PM Reply Like
  • Scooter - Arguing that we should spend less is one thing. But when people lie ("NOTHING got cut by sequestration") I feel compelled to correct them. And show proof that they did.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:51 PM Reply Like
  • completely laughable that you refer to the CBO - they have been dead wrong on every prediction. there are NO real cuts and increased spending is soaring - but if you wish to believe in fairy tales
    10 Mar 2013, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • Mark,


    Are you suggesting the Congressional Budget Office doesn't know how much money Congress has spent over the past 18 months, and the Congressional Budget Office doesn't know what spending Congress has authorized for the next 6 months?


    Please, give me a better source.
    10 Mar 2013, 10:56 PM Reply Like
  • After the sequester happened, all the lies by Obama about how horrible it would be were exposed, but the media is silent. One of the other lies about 'discretionary spending is less' is pushed by those who fail to mention that large swathes of formerly discretionary spending were reclassified under Obama as 'entitlement', including for example student loan programs. So now Big Govt is on auto-pilot.


    The Democrat Senate Budget exposes their lies about the budget:
    1. It has no cuts
    2. It increases spending from $3.7 to $5.7 trillion by 2023
    3. It does NOT put us on a path to balance, but adds $5 trillion in debt by 2023.
    4. It UNDOES the sequester cuts AND adds more spending and 'pays' for it with ... yet more tax increases and bogus smoke-n-mirrors savings that are not real.
    17 Mar 2013, 12:32 PM Reply Like
  • "Merely cut the rate of *increases* in spending"


    Does that matter because CPI barely rises also?


    Or is Inflation actually a lot more than reported!!
    10 Mar 2013, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • Cut all foreign aid before cutting domestic programs.


    $70 billion to Egypt,
    $100 billion already spent in Iraq.


    Who knows how much is planned to rebuild Afghanistan?


    White House tours are pocket change compared with these wasteful spends which accomplish nothing for Americans in the long-term.
    10 Mar 2013, 12:21 PM Reply Like
  • I follow you for many reasons Paul, you just indicated one of them in your view!!


    Now how do we make money here, hear?
    10 Mar 2013, 05:04 PM Reply Like
  • Tang anyone?????? Come on! I thought that was developed during the apollo program.


    The sequester is nothing. And everyone with common sense understands that "cutting" 1% or 2% across the board can be done without blinking an eye - especially since its cutting 1% or 2% of a number that is usually 30% or 40% more than just three years ago.


    And since its "public service", why not just cut federal bureaucrat paychecks by 2% and pensions by 2%? And then put limits on federal salaries at 50-60% of what the president makes and limit it going forward to the rate of inflation. No reason any federal employee should be earning more than 200-250K - don't like it - no problem - leave and work in the private sector.


    Between the public sector and non-profits, people would be astonished at the amount of money being "earned" for doing "good". When the president talks about taxing all those millionaires and billionaires he's really talking about all the bureaucrats who are given pensions with net present values well over a million dollars - along with guaranteed health benefits worth another million. Its the dirty little secret that government doesn't want you to know - they are systemically taking your freedoms and liberties - along with claiming your children's and grandchildren's future earnings.
    10 Mar 2013, 02:27 PM Reply Like
  • "Across the board" is the key. If you cannot cut 2% from your department/program then maybe you need a new budget director or possibly elimination of your entire department/program. It is too easy to cut 2% and the hacking of specific programs is creating so much "pain". Such as the white house tours which we apparently pay $74,000 a week to run. However, it is important for the kids to see ONE of the buildings where corruption and ineptitude and partisan politics take place. Sarcasm off .... puke
    10 Mar 2013, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • So many points to respond to.


    1. "especially since its cutting 1% or 2% of a number that is usually 30% or 40% more than just three years ago." While this may be true of some programs, it's generally false. Let's take, for example, spending on R&D for human health: in fiscal year 2008, this spending was $29.7 billion. In FY 2013, it will be $33 billion. That's a 10% increase over 5 years, a rate far less than inflation. (see


    2. The only federal employees who make over $200k are the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House. Senators make $174k (, and the highest paid cabinet secretaries make $199.7k. In other words, congratulations! Your suggestions on federal pay have been law for decades!
    10 Mar 2013, 05:42 PM Reply Like
  • Oops. so many things to make up I guess.


    Wow, you found one group in one department that only has a 10% increase in 5 years. Not too analytical to just take one data point. I won't bother to list all the agencies and programs with 30% increases as its too vast to compile. And frankly, even if it was 10% - cutting 2% of a budget that includes travelling, entertainment, location compensation, training, flex-time, etc etc doesn't even require a second thought.


    Federal Employees - 1. the average federal employee was paid $83,679 according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2010 - adding benefits they were paid $126K. In 2009 383,000 federal employees were paid more than 100K in salary - 66,000 over $150 (same year).


    The General schedule is what your refering to - but unfortunately its been balkanized seriously over the years and now many agencies and departments have their own pay scales!!!! Oops. The SEC and Treasury have many employees over the $200K threshold. (and they aren't the only ones - I don't remember the number of folks making over 200K but its fairly substantial. Your statement was correct many many years ago.... but then all the arguments about "attacting the best and brightest" led Congress to hand over the keys to the public unions. Want to look at truly unbelievable things - look at how the average government worker could have had a salary increase of over 3,000 in a year when federal pay was "frozen"!


    So thanks for the Congratulation - but you might want to go read the actual laws on the books. Then you can investigate government contractors and their 300-500K salaries,
    10 Mar 2013, 11:44 PM Reply Like
  • The web site I gave you allowed you to look at spending over the last 5 years for the entire government. I'm happy to provide more examples. How many examples would you like me to give?


    The problem is that the spending cut is not across the board of the entire budget. It's across federal discretionary programs, which only accounts for about one-third of the budget. So the programs that are affected are seeing significant impacts.


    Your data on federal employees are great, but moved the goalpost. Your original point that I responded to was "And then put limits on federal salaries at 50-60% of what the president makes and limit it going forward to the rate of inflation. No reason any federal employee should be earning more than 200-250K - don't like it - no problem - leave and work in the private sector."
    You're correct that there are pay scales other than the general schedule, but there's still a mandatory cap on federal compensation regardless of pay scheme. See 5 U.S.C. 5307 and 5 CFR 530.203 to show that no one receive compensation from the Federal government beyond that of Level 1 of the Executive Schedule, which since 2010 has been frozen at $199,700.


    Oh, and I never mentioned government contractors, since they're not federal employees.
    11 Mar 2013, 12:14 AM Reply Like
  • Federal employees earning more than your 199,000.



    IN that article is a link to the Database listing Person and Title! More than 1000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES earning more than 200K SALARIES in 2011.



    So stop your drivel and quit spreading false information. Either your too lazy to do even a 20 second search or you just don't like the truth.


    So start giving some example with truth!!!!!!


    I've provided more than 1000 names and positions!!!!!!


    12 Mar 2013, 04:40 AM Reply Like
  • Looks like you're right. Title 42 209(f) is an exception I wasn't aware of. Looks like the NIH is allowed to hire doctors up to $250k, and $350k if they get the Secretary's approval.


    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I would be perfectly fine with bringing that pay scale into line with the rest of federal salaries. Of course, that total correction on about 0.1% of federal employees will only make a difference of about $50 million or so.
    12 Mar 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • And the number today is greater as more and more exceptions are granted to agencies and departments every year. And keep in mind that all the "extras" like location adjustments, etc aren't in those numbers (public unions do everything possible to report the lowest compensation numbers possible - partly due to the outrage and partly for the next pay increase request).


    Throw on all the State and local officials in the same category (many in higher education - and mostly in administrative positions), then put all the "non-profit" executives and you'll find there is a huge segment of our population getting rich for supposedly "going good" "public service" whatever moniker you want to call it. And those that work for them (ie the rank and file government employees) go along for the ride - getting paid far more than they would in the private sector and receiving benefits so out of touch with reality it isn't funny.


    We are systemically rewarding an administrative class of non-productive people. And they slowly and continually expand their reach and power by restricting and lessen our freedoms and liberty.


    In the year that Obama supposedly "froze" federal employees pay - the average employee received a more than $3,000 raise. Does that even make sense???? What was happening in the private sector??? Oh, layoffs, cutbacks, underemployement!!


    Government of the people, by the people, for the people..... has been replaced by government of the bureaucrat, by the politican, for the financial elite. And all three of those groups enrich themselves on the backs of our children and grandchildren.
    12 Mar 2013, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • What's your source for the $3,000 raise?
    12 Mar 2013, 12:06 PM Reply Like
  • Office of Personnel Management. They provided the data to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The quote provided to the committee was "the median federal employee pay increased by $3,164 during the pay freeze".


    Step raises are 2.6 to 3.3 percent a year. Benefit compensation increases each year with the rising cost of health care. And there are other GS type things that automatically happen to boost that. Plus all promotions meant higher classifications and thus higher salary.


    Verbatim the exclusions from the pay freezes are below:


    ◦Additional payments, such as performance awards and bonuses; recruitment, relocation and retention incentives; and premium payments such as overtime pay.
    ◦Promotions, periodic in-grade step increased based on fully successful level of performance, and quality step increases for outstanding performance.
    ◦Adjustments in foreign areas to maintain a constant salary rate in U.S. dollars or local currency or to respond to foreign labor laws.
    ◦Pay-setting flexibilities, such as the GS superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority for newly appointed employees under 5 Code of Federal Regulations 531.212 and the GS maximum payable rate rule under 5 CFR 531.221.


    Note the overtime part - you'd think with all the benefits that overtime wouldn't exist at all.
    12 Mar 2013, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • David
    911 resulted in the pendulum going forward with all the expansion in the federal workforce and now the pendulum is starting to swing back; sequestration is only the tip of the iceberg and if it is implemented it will only save an estimated $5B, a drop in the bucket; the DoD has serious money problems with major programs like F22 and F35 and rising cost of commodities, oil especially; for the first time in 4 decades we have only 1 aircraft carrier group in the Mediterranean and 1 in western Pacific and I wonder why? trying to save money like in the late 70s because of expensive oil to train? I think so!! when the troops come home, most of the equipment needs to be replaced because it was not designed for that environment; the world was kind to loan us $$ for the wars but will this continue? we are talking about $Ts here; just imagine the most powerful military in the world can't afford to fly planes when oil hits $150!!
    12 Mar 2013, 09:20 PM Reply Like
  • Ah, so it's total compensation then. Okay. One small point though - the step increases start out every year, but after a couple they move to every 2-3 years.


    And to my knowledge overtime only is applicable to hourly employees in the federal government, though I don't know who that would be.
    12 Mar 2013, 09:25 PM Reply Like
  • Yes its total compensation and its certainly not ok!


    During the economic crisis private sector employment declined 8% peak to trough. State and local government employment declines by between 3-4%. Federal Government employment actually slightly increased!!! And their compensation increased!!


    And that is public service??????????
    13 Mar 2013, 12:07 AM Reply Like
  • You know, if all these cuts are just sooo awful, we have a simple solution: REPEAL OBAMACARE.


    That adds $3.2 trillion to the debt in the next 10 years. Repeal it and we can save the white house tours.
    17 Mar 2013, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • "save the white house tours."


    Isn't Trump saving those?
    18 Mar 2013, 04:27 PM Reply Like
  • Cutting programs like these is called austerity, and can send the economy into a tailspin? Holy ....... what have we become?
    10 Mar 2013, 02:42 PM Reply Like
  • Cutting robotic squirrels seems so easy yet its so difficult for guys with incentives to not do what is right.
    10 Mar 2013, 04:03 PM Reply Like
  • 1. Cut defense spending on expensive toys. We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over.
    2. Close pro-super rich tax frauds like carried interest which Republican party wants to protect for the people who own and finance the GOP.
    3. Close as many wasteful federal programs you want.
    4. Reduce medicare payments to doctors and hospitals by 1% every year for next 5 years. They will adjust.
    10 Mar 2013, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • "Close pro-super rich tax frauds"


    ... audit all tax frauds, for the rich tax payers, upper middle class tax payers, middle class tax payers, lower middle class tax payers ...


    Why didn't Washington here Jerry Brown in 1992 call for a simple across the board VAT like the rest of the world.
    12 Mar 2013, 09:45 PM Reply Like
  • All these stories seem very funny, but unless the powers decide to tackle Social Security, Medicare or Defense spending you can cut the funding for all the "robotic squirrel" projects you want and it won't make any tangible difference at all to the overall budget. That's just a plain and simple fact. Don't believe me? Look it up.


    1) Raise the SS retirement ages to 67 and 70 for anyone under 30


    2) Set Medicare rate increases to a more manageable set amount for the next 30 years.


    3) Remove all "pork" defense projects while still ensuring that our troops have the weapons available to accomplish that tasks we ask of them.


    Do that, and you'll make a budget difference. Until then... don't bother me.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:15 PM Reply Like
  • How about we make it simple.
    1. FREEZE all spending for 5 years. NO BUDGET INCREASES AT ALL.
    2. Immediate pay freeze to all Federal employees. Only promotional increases allowed.
    3. FREEZE all COLA's for 5 years as well.
    4. Raise SS retirement age by 1 year every 5 years - until 5 years added to current retirement ages.
    5. Modify constitution (I believe 28th ammendment?) that prevents congress wages from going down.
    6. Modify congress retirement to banish any form of retirement pay for serving in Congress.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:35 PM Reply Like
  • Mark,


    To make #1 happen you'd have to apply the same to Social Security and Medicare. You willing to freeze those payouts for 5 years?
    10 Mar 2013, 11:43 PM Reply Like
  • Good question - raising ages, and no COLA's handles part of that. But if you are asking about allowing no new recipients - regardless of them becoming age eligible, then no - not as long as there is a surplus in the SS system until 2032 or so.
    10 Mar 2013, 11:53 PM Reply Like
  • I appreciate the response. As some people have noted, even with the sequester, federal spending for this fiscal year is still expected to increase 0.4%. So if you're keeping total federal spending constant, while not being willing to cut Social Security or Medicare, you would have to cut discretionary spending by more than 12% in each of the next 3 years.


    Still willing to do this? And if so, would you do it across the board, or would you have targeted cuts?
    11 Mar 2013, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • Chemist
    Sometimes I wonder if sequestration is only a diversion and this is only a drill for a default; if we don't bite the bullet, sooner or later the markets will decide for us
    12 Mar 2013, 12:47 PM Reply Like
  • I agree that it's a diversion, but I disagree from what. Japan shows that we could borrow a whole lot more if necessary (I don't think it is). But if we want to reduce spending, we need to talk about the whole federal budget - not the one-third that sequestration actually affects.
    12 Mar 2013, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • No foreigners own Japan's debt and that's why they have been able to get away for so long; the Fed today is buying 75% of our debt and foreign buyers are down but for how long can this continue until people stop buying our $$ and Ts; all this time Japan had a trade surplus and we keep printing just because we are privileged as world reserve
    12 Mar 2013, 01:41 PM Reply Like
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