So the worst has happened, and the U.S. government failed to avert the budget calamity known as the sequestration. Effective immediately, major automatic across-the-board cuts will be taken, but these cuts will not impact all people equally. According to an article in the New York Times on March 2, half of the cuts ($43 million) will have to come from defense spending.
President Obama has said that he will not allow the cuts to directly affect military personnel, so that leaves the cuts to be made from spending on national security operations and other military costs.
First up are the Defense Department furloughs, which will begin as soon as late April if Congress does not settle the situation by then. New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid out steps that are already being taken, including thousands of unpaid furloughs for civilians, with pay reduced by up to 20%.
And the area that will be hit the hardest will be Virginia/Maryland/Washington, DC, with nearly 150,000 potential employees to be furloughed.
The area’s non-DOD workers will also suffer significantly, as it is estimated that nearly 20% of the Virginia/Maryland/DC area’s GDP is made up of federal spending on wages, salaries and procurement.
Add together the DOD furloughs and the private contractor job losses from spending cutbacks, and the employment situation in the nation’s capital looks grim.
Oh, and don’t forget about the 10% cut in benefits for the long-term unemployed.
While much of the nation yawns over the sequestration situation, it is doubtful that those in the DOD are sleeping easy.