Some pundits think that allowing the sequestration spending cuts to take effect will have a positive effect on the political process and could lead to real spending reform and fiscal responsibility in Washington.
I am not sure about that.
I do think that there are serious needs for spending cuts, as well as increased revenue, in order to right the fiscal ship we call the USA.
But if the sequestration cuts take effect as scheduled in March, 2013 the effects will be dramatic and some say dangerous to national security.
With no lifelines in sight, the Defense Department has started preparing for the reality of 9.4% budget cuts kicking in next month by laying off up to 46,000 temporary workers.
-- The department has a civilian hiring freeze in place, which is a big deal for an agency that hires 1,000 to 2,000 a week.
-- The Navy has canceled plans to tune up 30 ships scheduled for maintenance later this year.
-- The Air Force is only entering into short-term contracts for supplies.
-- The Navy has cut all conferences and nonessential travel, according to a Navy memo.
If the budget cuts actually kick in, some 800,000 employees will have to stay home -- and with no pay one day each week -- from late April through September. That amounts to a 20% pay cut for civilian workers.