Sequester: This is Supposed to be Scary?
By David Henderson
My local newspaper linked to a badly written story about the sequester. The author is Ryan Teague Beckwith of Digital First Media and the piece is titled “Sequester: Seven Specific Cuts the Government is Considering.” My comments follow on each.
1. The USS Truman and the USS Gettysburg are staying in port and both were scheduled to leave for the Middle East.
DRH: OMG. That means that the U.S. government will be less able to attack Iran. Count me worried.
2. Airport security lines will be longer starting in April.
DRH: That one does bother me since I travel on average at least once a month. Of course, I would rather that they adjust to fewer Thousands Standing Around workers by reducing the percent of people they check, but they probably won’t do that. In fact, I can imagine them going even more slowly than their lower numbers would predict, as a way of inconveniencing passengers so that the passengers will complain to their Congressional reps.
3. Unemployment benefits checks will be cut 9.4 percent.
DRH: This is good. People will have an increased incentive to find work.
Note, by the way, what Beckwith writes by way of explanation: “Starting on March 3, weekly benefit checks for long-term unemployed Americans will be cut by 9.4 percent, an average of more than $400.” A cut of 9.4 percent in weekly benefits is an average of $400? So the average long-term unemployed person gets benefits of $4255 a week??!! Of course not. Clicking on the link takes you to an Obama administration estimate that the average long-term unemployed person will lose $400 in total, not just weekly.
4. Yellowstone National Park will open three weeks late.
DRH: That is too bad. But if it’s known in advance, people can substitute.
5. More than 400,000 fewer HIV tests will be conducted.
DRH: The main people hurt by HIV are those who have it. So they have an incentive to get tested. It’s true that there’s an externality aspect if they spread it. Fortunately, those to whom they might spread it can take precautions.
6. Health care for military families would be cut. TRICARE would be cut by $3 billion.
DRH: TRICARE is one of the most out-of-control aspects of the DoD budget. Congress has been scared of reining it in. Finally it will be reined in.
7. NASA could cancel the Deep Space Atomic Clock project.
DRH: How will we get along without a Deep Space Atomic Clock? After all, our parents absolutely needed a Deep Space Atomic Clock. Oh, wait.