The military and federal contractors and other businesses that depend on income from government spending must be feeling the impending doom of lay-offs as we enter into the sequester. This will no doubt be a slow process of employers reacting to budget cuts. I often think of Whitcraft in Eastford that depends on contracts that probably stem from government spending. This business seems to have grown dramatically in the last decade by the looks of the growth in buildings. I am wondering if people who are concerned about being laid off will express their concern here, and what it’s like.
I remember what it was like in the few last months of 1980 and early 1981 just before Reagan took the Presidency. Reagan had campaigned fearcely on cutting back in our inflated government. He was so convincing that everyone in government believed him. I had been hired into government in the fall of 1977 as a Senior Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda MD as an employee of the Food & Drug Administration (NIH); then I was converted to a career civil service position in the early spring of 1980. I distinctly recall the dark cloud that hung over the NIH campus – the fear of being RIF’ed was palpable (RIF=Reduction in Force). I myself was not too concerned because I was already considering moving on but being in that depressed environment is sustained in my memory. This came on the heals of Carter demanding that all federal employees must pay to park because gov’t employees should be treated like everyone else – so we all had to purchase an NIH parking permit. It did not matter that there was a large empty field on the campus were everyone could park who could not find a parking place near their building. I thought this Carter mandate was so petty that I refused to get a parking permit and acquired a pile of parking tickets that I never paid. The cost of the bureaucracy to enforce the parking rules was simply not worth it. After Reagan took office in January 1981, no RIFs occurred that I can recall and the government went back to business as usual. Happily I moved on from NIH to Palo Alto California much to the amazement of the government employees around me who could not understand my rejection of a stable job for life (manditory retirement at the age of 70). After I left, I never looked back and later realized that things were even better on the outside. Perhaps the recession of the early 80s had something to do with the lack of government cut-backs. Afterall we had to be ready for the armed invasion of Grenada.
Now we have a situation where Obama has extracted us from the second disastrous war in Iraq and the war in Afganistan. Those wars (one unnecessary) cost us billions and led us into the Great Recession that technically began in December 2007 a year and a month before Obama took office. But the stock market began to crash in the final stages of the Presidential campaign. This inspired John McCain to stop campaigning in order to rush back to Washington to save us all from a Depression. It would have been interesting if McCain won the election and then Palin had to take over the job of pulling us out of the Great Recession, Iraq, and Afganistan.
Doesn’t it make sense to cut back on our military now that we are essentially out of wars? – that is if there are no more Grenada’s on the agenda. It’s a shame that this can’t be done intelligently rather than by across the board cuts. It turns out that our gov’t spending today is the lowest since World War Two if inflation is factored in. Don’t kid yourself if you think the sequester is Obama’s fault. America doesn’t have a deficit problem, it has a healthcare spending problem. As for Social Security, I’ve put into Social Security since January 1964 so I deserve my loan to the feds back.
I believe in the need to maintain our military infrastructure having been to Norfolk several times in the last two years; and there is that nuclear submarine that Mariah’s Zane is running. These ships, and our air force too, need constant maintanance and their crews need constant training so that we can defend ourself if an attack occurs.