Saturday, 2 March 2013

ab in beurlaubt

The US executive and legislative branches were unable to reach or fake a compromise, which triggers a count-down, sort of like a Rube Goldberg contraption, towards budgetary sequestration across most of America’s federal programmes, mandatorily paring funding and raising the spectre of furloughs (unpaid absences) for hundreds of thousands of government workers world-wide.

It is wholly excusable, I think, for most of the international public to be aghast at the dysfunction while thinking that a temporary curtailment of the sticky wickets of bureaucracy won’t cause any significant damage. It’s an embarrassing situation and a disservice to populace, to be sure, but I think blame and hyperbolic overtures to the boogeymen of security and the already prevalent attitude (in perception and in fact) regarding faded glory do really overlook the cascading effects of the situation. Though the expected cost-cutting measures, immediately and projected out over the next decade, represent only a tiny, tiny fraction of the larger deficiency, some 85 billion dollars out of an either four, eleven, 15 (or exponentially higher) trillion dollar debt, cutting back work on the proposed scales could mean a twenty percent drop in the purchasing power of the federal work force and those associated with it, not to mention those indirectly affected by delay and errors, all of whom will probably never be fully redressed.
This fifth does is not a chuck out of the whole of the abstract US economy, mostly conjuring money out of the movement of money and pushing paper, but—and perhaps even more urgently, this reduction is a double-decimation, not just in terms of income and employment and delivery, but a realignment, like annexing twenty percent of the America’s smaller communities, absorbing them into larger neighbours with an even more massive yet over-burdened civil institutions. It is like the pettiness and gridlock of the Congress leaking out of the Beltway and set loose on all aspects of the American public.  The wheels of government will continue to turn with skeleton-crews, more work pressed out of staff remaining, rotating singly through the work week with less continuity and more matters overcome in the transition because it will have to. Authorities, in spite or because of the knock-on effects, may realize that adjustments (austerity American-style) can be accommodated and can make do with a scaled back government—or, and probably heralded by flagging spending and all around timidity, essential and uniting services both will become untenable under a reorganization that excised too much stability, functional determination and assuredness, whether or not misplaced, out of communities too quickly.