Howard County, along with the rest of the country, will go off the sequester cliff on March 1 as automatic across-the-board spending cuts kick in. Although observers will notice few if any changes immediately, the cuts will have effects that are far-reaching and cumulative over time. Howard County Executive Ken Ullman and other officials have expressed concern about the harm the cuts will do locally, and particularly about their inability to get specific information about their nature that will enable them to plan adjustments. Business leaders have expressed similar concerns. http://columbia.patch.com/articles/lack-of-predictability-in-sequester-has-county-leaders-worried
Howard County is particularly vulnerable to federal spending cuts because it is home to large numbers of federal government employees. In addition, many of the businesses in the county are federal government contractors.
Prospects for replacing the blunderbuss sequester spending cuts with a balanced package of targeted cuts and revenue enhancements (read tax increases) as President Obama and many Democrats urge or even with targeted cuts alone as many Republicans wish do not appear good. The sequester was adopted on the rationale that it would be so frightening to both parties that they would compromise to avoid it. However, it appears that many Republicans have come to believe that across-the-board cuts of military and civilian spending are better than no cuts at all or targeted cuts that would be linked to tax increases for the rich.
Moreover, some Republicans consider efforts to test their beliefs against reality as ultra-liberal conspiracies. They are likely to be slow to admit that any economic problems we encounter are the result of the sequester cuts. Thus, they will not be quick to compromise even after the effects of the cuts begin to be apparent to most of us.
So, we here in Howard County, and our fellow citizens across the United States, had better fasten our seat belts. We're in for a rough ride.