Sequestration - What Our Teabag Congress has Wrought
Fairfax County, VA, lies just outside Washington, DC in northern Virginia, and even though “government doesn’t create jobs”, workers and families in this county (and undoubtedly others across the country) are already being affected by the demand by the Teabag Congress that sweeping cuts in government spending were necessary to raise the debt ceiling.
‘We’re already seeing the chill,’ said economist Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. ‘And it will get worse.’
While communities across the country are bracing for the cuts, known as sequestration, the threat is looming especially large in Fairfax, where an overwhelming portion of the economy relies on federal jobs and contracts. Although the county gets only 1 percent of its general fund money from the federal government, the indirect effects would be significant. In 2011, federal procurement contracts totaled more than $26 billion in Fairfax, more than anywhere else in the country.
In his presentation to the commission, Fuller called sequestration a ‘poison pill’ and warned that if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to avoid the reductions, they will drive the nation into an economic recession. In Fairfax, he said, the effects would be felt by everyone — shopping centers, hair salons, landlords, restaurants — in ways that few are even considering.
‘It will show up everywhere,’ he said. ‘A lot of workers don’t even know’ that their jobs are dependent on federal spending.
Fuller said the uncertainty created by sequestration has been playing out for months in the form of decreased consumer confidence, delayed car and home purchases, and precautionary cuts by nervous companies and business owners.
‘We’re already seeing businesses hold off on expansions,’ said Sharon Bulova (D), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, one of three supervisors who was present.
Doug Koelemay, with SAIC, a federal contracting giant headquartered in McLean, told the commission that his company already is seeing the effects of the sequestration threat — what he called ‘soft sequestration.’ Among other reductions, the government is cutting the scope of contracts, trying to renegotiate prices and exercising fewer options.
In turn, he said, SAIC has laid off workers, divested certain parts of the company, taken work back from subcontractors and started looking for new, non-government business.
But sure, voters, please go ahead and blame Obama for the economy. /