Tag Archives: sequestration

Boeing lobbies for renewal of the Export-Import Bank

Boeing on Monday told its satellite workers that it will eventually lay off hundreds because of lost contracts due to the failure of Congress to renew the Export-Import Bank.

Boeing Co (BA.N) on Monday told its workers that it expected to cut as many as “several hundred” jobs in its satellite business through the end of 2015 due to a downturn in U.S. military spending and delays in commercial satellite orders. Multiple commercial orders were being delayed by recent failures of launch vehicles and uncertainties about the future availability of financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, whose government charter lapsed on June 30, the company told key managers in an internal communication.

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale confirmed the reductions and said the total number of people affected would be finalized in coming months. Some could find work in other parts of Boeing, he said. [emphasis mine]

This announcement is pure lobbying, no more. They might have to lay off workers, but they haven’t done it yet, and when they do the numbers are likely to be far less than they are implying. And even so, the layoffs will probably be good for the company, making it more lean and efficient.

The reason they have made this public now is to generate support for a renewal of the Export-Import Bank, which Congress allowed to expire last month. Boeing wants it back, because the company uses the low interest loans it provides (using government money) to get contracts abroad. However, they really don’t need it to do that. They could trim costs, work more efficiently, and get loans in the private sector, as every other private company is expected to do.

This announcement is really no different than the doom that was predicted prior to the arrival of sequestration. Those budget cuts were going to cause the destruction of the defense industry and the American military, while causing the airline industry to collapse because the TSA and the FAA wouldn’t have the staff to keep the planes in the air. Twas all a lie. Nothing happened, and by some miracle the government still had plenty of cash to keep things running smoothly. Similarly, Boeing can compete without the help of the government. They just have to stop whining and do it.

According to a GAO report, the sequester cuts that were going to destroy civilization as we know it resulted in exactly one layoff across the entire federal government.

According to a GAO report, the sequester cuts that were going to destroy civilization as we know it resulted in exactly one layoff across the entire federal government.

That is not a typo. Only one person total was laid off to meet the mandated cuts imposed by sequestration. Most agencies froze hiring or imposed furloughs, though even the number of furloughs was less than predicted.

Remember this fact the next time a politician screams dire warnings about any cuts in the federal budget.

Bolden and Mikulski hold a press conference to lobby for continuing funding for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Bolden and Mikulski hold a press conference to lobby for continuing funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Before JWST entered development, around the turn of the century, program officials projected it would cost $1 billion to $3.5 billion and launch between 2007 to 2011, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Jan. 8. Now, after lengthy delays [seven years] and billions in added costs [a real budget of $8.8 billion], JWST is entering its peak development years, in which major subsystems will be put together, tested, integrated with one another, and tested again. It will be, according to Bolden, one of the most difficult parts of JWST’s construction.

“This is our tough budget year,” Bolden said. It is also the most expensive, according to projections the White House released last April with its 2014 budget proposal. Bolden spoke to the press here after he and Mikulski, JWST’s biggest ally in Congress, held a town hall meeting at Goddard, the center in charge of building the massive infrared observatory. Both NASA employees and executives from some of JWST’s major industry contractors attended.

Mikulski told reporters that automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, which reduced NASA’s 2013 appropriation to about $16.9 billion, “resulted in furloughs, shutdowns, slowdowns [and] slamdown politics [which] are exactly what could derail or cause enormous cost overruns to the James Webb.”

I am especially entertained by the disasters Mikulski lists in the last paragraph, all of which she blames on sequestration. They are identical to the lies Democratic politicians like her told before sequestration took effect, none of which happened. That she now makes believe as if these disasters did happen and expects us to believe her new lies about the future illustrates how much in contempt she holds the general public. Does she really believe people are that stupid?

A House investigation has found that the Obama administration acted to make the sequestration cuts as “painful as possible” for rural schools.

A House investigation has found that the Obama administration acted to make the sequestration cuts as “painful as possible” for rural schools.

I have made no excuses for Chris Christie and the abuse his underlings heaped out in New Jersey against innocent citizens. It was wrong, and it makes me much less likely to support Christie in future campaigns. At the same time, it is also important to note that this one event pales in comparison to the number of similar abuse-of-power stories I’ve noted coming from the Obama administration. When it comes to improperly using the power of government to hurt innocent citizens, Obama and his underlings make Christie look like an amateur.

It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

Maybe not so stupid: It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

If the Republicans in the Senate can force some changes, to both the reduction in the sequester cuts over the next two years as well as the procedural change that ends the minority’s ability to block tax increases, then they will have accomplished something.

What I like about this is that they appear to be willing to fight, something Republicans all too often fail to do.

The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The stupid party: The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats’ budget that voids senators’ ability to raise a budget “point of order” against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases. The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that would be required under a point of order.

In other words, another example of a Republican getting hosed in negotiations.

Though I have read several conservative reports about this deal that outline some of its positive benefits, on the whole it appears to be another defeat for the right.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

I have to admit this analysis leaves me more hopeful, especially with this point:

That the Democrats would accept a deal like this is a pretty striking indication of how the Republican House has changed the conversation on the spending front since 2010. Think of it this way: In their first budget after re-taking the majority—the FY 2012 Ryan budget, passed in 2011—the House Republicans wanted discretionary spending to be $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015. These budgets were of course described by the Democrats and the political press (but I repeat myself) as some reversion to humanity’s barbaric past. Yet this proposed deal with the Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015—in both cases below that first House Republican budget.

Check out the graph at the link. It does illustrate bluntly that the Republicans are beginning to force the budget curve downward, if slowly. It also suggests that should they win big majorities in both Houses of Congress next November they will be posed to finally push for some real reductions in the size of the federal government, as they will have the votes in Congress and will be doing it with the strong endorsement of the voters.

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration.

The Republican leadership are fools. If anything, this is the moment to push harder, to not only demand that the sequestration cuts stay in place, but to demand a repeal of Obamacare.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Expect more articles like this. There are a lot of conservatives in the Republican House caucus who are no longer willing to lick the feet of Democrats, even if the Republican leadership is. And any deal that gives up sequestration is going to face their wrath.

Also, these kinds of articles serve to pressure Ryan so that he does not agree to a surrender.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

Senior aides familiar with the talks say the emerging agreement aims to partially repeal the sequester and raise agency spending to roughly $1.015 trillion in fiscal 2014 and 2015. That would bring agency budgets up to the target already in place for fiscal 2016. To cover the cost, Ryan and Murray are haggling over roughly $65 billion in alternative policies, including cuts to federal worker pensions and higher security fees for the nation’s airline passengers.

Republican leaders are also seeking additional savings to knock a small dent in deficits projected to exceed $6 trillion over the next decade. But the deal would do nothing to trim the debt, which is now larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any point in U.S. history except during World War II. [emphasis mine]

To me, the biggest disappointment of this surrender is that Paul Ryan is negotiating it, proof that he too is no fiscal conservative and worse is far more stupid than I had thought.

Rumors suggest that Republicans are moving to accept a budget deal that would end sequestration.

The stupid party strikes again! Rumors suggest that Republicans are moving to accept a budget deal that would end sequestration.

At issue are efforts to craft a compromise that would ease across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect in January, known as the sequester, and replace them with a mix of increased fees and cuts in mandatory spending programs.

As de Rugy notes:

The sequester, no matter how imperfect a policy, is arguably the only victory for fiscal conservatives in a very long time. Their victory is also president Obama’s biggest defeat (outside of the self-inflicted disastrous Obamacare rollout). It is also another opportunity to remind the American people that the alarmist predictions that we were all subjected to about the devastating impact sequestration would have on our economy didn’t materialize.

She adds:

So let’s sum this up: a massive and unnecessary surrender on the sequester, some tax hikes, and more unemployment benefits. It seems to me that the Republicans are learning their moves from the French army.

Not only do most Democrats have to be replaced, so do a significant number of Republicans. Too many of these politicians have no interest in serving the citizenry being crushed by this out-of-control federal government. Instead they serve that government instead.

Lockheed Martin announced today that it is closing down five facilities and laying off 4,000 employees.

Lockheed Martin announced today that it is closing down five facilities and laying off 4,000 employees.

This is actually good news for the company (reflected in a rise in its stock price today) as well as the taxpayer. Faced with less easy money from the federal government, the company is trimming some of its waste and unneeded fat. I am confident these cuts will have zero impact on their ability to operate and compete. If anything, they will improve the company’s abilities.

The cuts are also a recognition that the federal cuts from sequestration are not going away, even though those cuts have resulted in literally no visible problems in any federal program. To me, this is another demonstration that there was (and continues to be) plenty of fat in the federal government that can be trimmed away, without serious harm to any federal program.

Aerospace defense contractors Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon all show better than expected profits despite sequestration.

Chicken Little report: Aerospace defense contractors Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon all show better than expected profits despite sequestration.

It seems that each of these companies, finding their profits from defense pork to be relatively flat or dropping slightly, worked harder to sell their other products to other customers, and were generally successful. What a concept!

The defense industry has found that the cuts from sequestration have been far less painful than their lobbying had claimed.

Surprise, surprise! The defense industry has found that the cuts from sequestration have been far less painful than their lobbying had claimed.

Contractors seem pleasantly surprised that the automatic spending cuts are not hurting nearly as much as the industry’s lobbying arm warned they would in the months leading up to the sequester that took effect in March. [For example,] Lockheed Martin had predicted that sequestration would wipe out $825 million in revenue this year, but it no longer expects such a big hit. In fact, the company said, profit will be higher than initially projected. [emphasis mine]

The article specifically mentions the doomsday lobbying effort of the Aerospace Industries Association, As I noted back in December 2012, that lobbying was a lie. There is so much fat in the government that sequestration could have been three times bigger and it wouldn’t have done these contractors any serious harm. The inconsequential nature of those cuts now is illustrating the reality of this truth.

The Washington Post admits that most of the Democratic claims that sequestration would cause disaster were either outright lies or a gross exaggeration.

The Washington Post admits that most of the Democratic claims that sequestration would cause disaster were either outright lies or a gross exaggeration.

I said it then that they were lying about the consequence of sequestration. I say now that they will be lying again when the the next sequestration cuts arrive in October.

I suspect you could cut the federal budget by at least one third, bringing the numbers back to what they were about ten years ago, and not notice any loss of service.

After warning repeatedly last year that the sequester would damage the economy, NBC now says “Nevermind.”

Doing the work of the Democratic Party: After warning repeatedly last year that the sequester would damage the economy, NBC now says “Nevermind.”

It wasn’t just NBC. I can’t count the number of news sources and politicians that screamed “We’re all gonna die!” because sequestration was going to cut the federal budget a mere few percent. I said it then and I say it now: They were lying.

That news organizations participated in this lie however was particularly shameful. It didn’t take much research or thought to realize that these were lies. For NBC and other mainstream news organizations to not do that research tells us a great deal about how unreliable they are.

And by the way, remember the long lines threatened at the airports due to sequestration? We had those for about one day, and then things returned to normal. More evidence that it was all lying crap coming from this administration, forced upon travelers to make some dishonest political points, which were further aided and abetted by a lapdog press.

New estimates of the 2013 federal deficit show it will be the lowest deficit since 2008.

Good news? New estimates of the 2013 federal deficit show it will be the lowest deficit since 2008.

The CBO claims that much of the reduction comes from new revenue, but I suspect that the real cause was sequestration, which actually forced real cuts in federal programs for the first time since Obama took office.

I put a question mark on the “good news” above in that the deficit will still be higher than $600 billion, and that spending is still out of control. This drop is merely the tiniest glimmer of hope in a black storm of disaster.

One week before the sequester cuts took effect, the TSA issued a $50 million contract for new uniforms.

Someone’s lying: One week before the sequester cuts took effect, the TSA issued a $50 million contract for new uniforms.

I find these quotes from the article most interesting:

The TSA employs 50,000 security officers, inspectors, air marshals and managers. That means that the uniform contract will pay the equivalent of $1,000 per TSA employee over the course of the year.

The TSA provides uniforms to new employees, but requires its employees to buy their own replacements. “You will be measured for your new uniforms at your first orientation session,” the fact sheet says. “TSA will provide your initial uniform issue consisting of 3 long sleeve shirts, 3 short sleeve shirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 2 ties, and one belt, sweater, socks, and jacket.”

$1,000 per uniform? And only for first time employees? At a time Janet Napolitano is claiming they will be forced to lay off workers because of sequestration? As I said, someone is lying. Or they are so incompetent words fail me.

The Democratically controlled Senate is about to mark up its first budget in four years!

Gasp! The Democratically controlled Senate is about to mark up its first budget in four years!

It appears that sequestration and the expiration at the end of this month of the most recent continuing resolution is finally forcing the Democrats to act responsibly and actually do their job. If (and that’s a very big word) the Republicans stand firm in the House, they might be able to force the Democrats in the Senate to write a reasonable budget. For one thing, if a real budget is passed instead of the continuing resolutions we’ve been stuck with for the past four years — because of the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget — we might finally be able to stop paying for Obama’s so-called onetime 2009 stimulus bill, year after year after year.

Hail Armageddon

“Hail Armageddon.”

The Obama administration has every incentive to make the sky fall, lest we suffer that terrible calamity — cuts the nation survives. Are they threatening to pare back consultants, conferences, travel and other nonessential fluff? Hardly. It shall be air-traffic control. Meat inspection. Weather forecasting.

A 2011 Government Accountability Office report gave a sampling of the vastness of what could be cut, consolidated and rationalized in Washington: 44 overlapping job training programs, 18 for nutrition assistance, 82 (!) on teacher quality, 56 dealing with financial literacy, more than 20 for homelessness, etc. Total annual cost: $100 billion-$200 billion, about two to five times the entire domestic sequester.

Are these on the chopping block? No sir. It’s firemen first. That’s the phrase coined in 1976 by legendary Washington Monthly editor Charlie Peters to describe the way government functionaries beat back budget cuts. Dare suggest a nick in the city budget, and the mayor immediately shuts down the firehouse. The DMV back office, stacked with nepotistic incompetents, remains intact. Shrink it and no one would notice. Sell the firetruck — the people scream and the city council falls silent about any future cuts.

After all, the sequester is just one-half of 1 percent of GDP. It amounts to 1.4 cents on the dollar of nondefense spending, 2 cents overall.

The only reason sequestration will cause a shut down of government services will because Barack Obama and his administration choose to do so. Keep that in mind if you discover that lines at the airport have suddenly grow to hours.

Bob Woodward said today that a senior White House official threatened him for his critical reporting of Obama concerning sequestration.

Transparency! Bob Woodward said today that a senior White House official threatened him for his critical reporting of Obama concerning sequestration.

A more detailed report can be found here, with this quote:

The Obama aide, Woodward told Politico, “yelled at me for about a half hour” as well. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people,” Woodward said. “But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years – or 10 years’ – experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”

Update: The White Office has backed down, making public an email written by that senior official to Woodward, apologizing for the above-mentioned threats.

Update #2: Meanwhile, partisan Democrat Lanny Davis has said that he too has been threatened by a senior White House official for writing columns that are critical of Obama.

The head of the Transportation Department threatens long delays if the sequestration cuts take place March 1.

Chicken Little report: The head of the Transportation Department today threatened long delays if the sequestration cuts take place March 1.

Either he is lying or he has decided to make the most harmful cuts to hurt the public the most. Sequestration will lower the budget of the FAA by 8.2 percent, which will cut that agency’s budget from $18.7 to $17.2 billion, which is still more than the FAA got in 2009, by $300 million. I don’t remember long delays and limited airport operations at that time, do you? See here for my sources.

There is no reason to shut down operations or cause significant travel delays, unless LaHood wants to cause pain so that the money flow keeps pouring in.

Update: One more comment. It took me all of five minutes of research to come up with the past budgets of the FAA to give the sequestration cuts some context. I think it disgraceful that the reporter for this story couldn’t do the same.

An outline of the cuts NASA would do if sequestration occurs on March 1 includes shutting down commercial crew while leaving the Space Launch System untouched.

An outline of the cuts NASA proposes if sequestration occurs on March 1 includes shutting down commercial crew while leaving the Space Launch System untouched.

I am in favor of sequestration, as it will only bring NASA’s budget back to the numbers the agency received in 2005, numbers that were then totally sufficient to build Constellation and fly the shuttle. Now that the cost of the shuttle is gone there should be sufficient cash today for everything NASA wants to do.

To favor the very expensive and not very useful SLS system over the new commercial crew contracts however is madness. I suspect this letter is meant as a lobbying sledge hammer to try to convince Congress to cancel sequestration. If it is serious, however, than say good-bye to any manned American spacecraft for at least another few years, as I expect the new private companies will not disappear, but their effort will be slowed significantly as they search for alternative funding.

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