Jolley: Will sequestration force the sky to fall?

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I woke up Saturday morning, fearing the first day of sequestration, remembering that it rhymes with unpleasant things like castration.  I thought I would check Facebook before I peeked outside to see if the sky was falling.  Lots of people get up before I do so I was looking for an early weather report from some of my rancher friends.

First thing that popped up was Texas Farm Bureau’s Gene Hall who proudly proclaimed “The republic still stands. Burger King still served me a biscuit, my paper was on the drive and my Internet still works. A thing called a sequester did not destroy us after all.”

Now Gene and I stand on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  I prefer Hardee’s biscuits.  They are far superior to those leaden lumps doled out by Burger King and I can only hope he has to visit BK because the nearest Hardee’s is too far away.  But I agree the sequester hasn’t destroyed the republic.  Yet.

One of the interesting things left on the table was the Senate Democrats' $110 billion sequester replacement bill which proposed $3.5 billion in new farm program spending. What doomed it to extinction, of course, were a few lines that suggested $54 billion in new taxes on millionaires. No way Boehner, Cantor, et al would be able to accept that little nugget.

There was another catch.  To get $3.5 billion in new farm spending, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) agreed to cut $27.5 billion in farm subsidies known as direct payments.

Stabenow said, “I support moving forward with eliminating direct payments.  At the same time, I have written this and negotiated this to make sure we are providing disaster assistance to our farmers and ranchers which do need it for 2013.”

She also worked two excellent provisions into the bill. The first was tied to her “Bring Jobs Home Act” and it would have ended the practice of companies deducting relocation expenses when they move operations out of the United States.  Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, the idea of using tax money to help move American jobs overseas should make you cringe.

The Stabenow bill also closed some gaps by including disaster assistance for agriculture sectors left out of the "fiscal cliff" deal passed in early January and funded energy, conservation and specialty crop programs that were not part of the short-term farm bill extension.

All water under the dam, now.  Despite Gene Hall’s good cheer, almost everyone thought the sky would not fall Saturday morning.  Instead, the sequester would perform like a very slow moving blizzard, gridlocking massive amounts of our economy inch-by-painful inch over several months.  As we all work hard to clear our financial streets, the detritus would have to be piled up on the sidewalks and it would stay there for months – maybe years – afterwards.

It was two weeks ago that The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed “severely disappointed” with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s statement about the possible 15-day furlough of all Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) employees, including meat inspectors at the nation’s beef processing plants.

Because inspection is required before meat can be shipped to interstate commerce, Vilsack’s comment meant we were looking at shutting down every meat plant of consequence for 15 days.  No work for tens of thousands of employees, no meat on the dinner table, empty shelves at the super market.  Even Whole Foods would have to shut down.  By the time inspectors return, many of those plants will be bankrupt and unable to reopen.  And don’t expect to stock up on Australian or Brazilian meat.  Inspection in foreign plants will cease, too.

We will become a nation of vegetarians almost overnight.

NCBA president Scott George accused Vilsack of “using America’s cattlemen and women as pawns in the agency’s political wrangling with Congress.”

Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for NCBA, euphemistically called it “an unfortunate situation.” He said, “We think there are a lot of non-essential cuts that could be made at USDA to cover whatever budget restrictions are going to be required.”

Woodall’s next point should be well-taken, though.  “We feel that inspection is an essential function and component of USDA, and should be maintained.”

A careful reading of the sequestration bill, though, shows Vilsack probably doesn’t have a choice.  The cuts are to be made across the board with no thought to the consequences.  The frivolous as well as the vital will be made to suffer the consequences equally.

Indeed, stopping inspection could mean killing an industry.  If meat and poultry plants are forced to close for even a few weeks, it would cause a complete and immediate stoppage in the flow of cattle and poultry, all the way to the producer level, costing animal agriculture and the farm-to-fork supply chain hundreds of millions of dollars.

And it is at that point that Chicken Little would be right.  The sky would fall.  The economic cave-in would be devastating.  Our landfills could soon be awash in a tsunami of uninspected meat and poultry carcasses.

Helena Bottemiller, writing for Food Safety News, quoted Vilsack’s recent statement at the Commodity Classic, a convention of corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers. “Make no mistake about it, there is not enough flexibility in the sequester language for me to move money around to avoid furloughs of food inspectors,” he said.

“It is not something I want to do, it’s not something I like doing, but it’s the law and it’s something I am going to have to do, unless this thing gets resolved,” he added.

“The way this is structured, every line item of our budget and every account that’s not (specifically) exempted by Congress has to be cut by a certain percentage,” he said, and “it won’t just be the roughly 8,000 meat inspectors in more than 6,000 plants that are impacted, but also the 250,000 people who work in the plants.”

Of course one option might be the immediate change to the HIMP guidelines first proposed over a year ago and pushed relentlessly by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza.  A ferocious backer of the plan, he has hammered home the advantages of the program during several discussions I’ve had with him.  “Fewer inspectors, faster production, safer product,” is his constant litany which he says is absolutely proven by the data.

HIMP, the HAACP-Based Inspection Models Project, shifts responsibility from government inspectors at poultry processing plants to company personnel. Data gleaned from several years of testing at poultry plants back up Almanza’s claim but expansion to over 200 facilities raised red flags and hackles among foodies and their watch dog organizations.  Several USDA inspectors also called it an immediate threat to food safety.

Bravely talking out of class, Vilsack said, “This shouldn’t happen. In a functioning democracy, this shouldn’t happen. People should recognize that we have fiscal issues and we should address them – it’s a combination of additional revenue and cuts.”

Shutting down the entire meat industry would take a huge amount of food out of the system, putting an unbearable strain on the items that could still find their way to your neighborhood Piggly Wiggly.  Paying $10 for a head of lettuce and breakfasting on year old corn flakes soaked in reconstituted dry milk powder will make even a sausage biscuit from BK sound like a culinary treat. 

So here’s the deal.  A compromise on the budget can be made anytime the House and Senate, the Democrats and Republicans, and Boehner and Obama can agree to agree.  It can be next week or next month but it absolutely must be made before the sky falls.  Although the supply of poultry can be turned off rather quickly, the spring calving season will not wait.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chuck Jolley, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator.


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Larry    
Hays, merca  |  March, 05, 2013 at 08:38 AM

There isn't a Hardee's for hours around these parts, but I have discovered that Arby's does a mean croissanwich.

Chuck    
March, 05, 2013 at 02:59 PM

Biscuits are for breakfast. I'm not sure what croissants are for.

Chuck    
March, 05, 2013 at 02:59 PM

Biscuits are for breakfast. I'm not sure what croissants are for.

out side the box    
upper midwest  |  March, 05, 2013 at 08:46 AM

Since so many have disregarded the "rules" in the past as far as how to run the government, why are those in charge of inspections obligated to lay themselves off? Take the bull by the horns, be a leader, and send in inspectors 3-4 days a week, save the money and take the fallout...if ever there was a time to do what needs to get things done it is now. All this drama to scare people into screaming at deaf congressional representatives is a waste of energy...so what if the sequester is line by line cuts, 15 day furloughs, can't they take 15 weeks at one day at a time? Who is going to enforce this? Where are the out of the box thinkers? The real risk taking leaders?

Ken    
March, 05, 2013 at 08:50 AM

Excellent article. It really is time for Congress to get something done.

Reggie J.    
Pennsylvania  |  March, 05, 2013 at 09:08 AM

They sort of had me convinced the sky would fall, too. That was my fault, though, for ever letting them indoctrinate me into thinking they were the only thing propping the sky up, the only thing between me and the hard earth and about a gazillion crushing tons of air and sunshine. I certainly wish Vilsack and Stabenow and Obama and all the other self-important spendthrift bunglers would crawl back under their heaping steaming pile of something more common in Washington DC than fractured sky. What's needed is thoughtful distribution of these piddling cuts (just 2% of a bloated budget). The last thing we need is more revenue squirting through the bowels of Vilsack and his wasteful draconian playmates. We need to starve the beast, not feed it. About now I think USDA could drop dead, their Meatless Mondays and their farm bill and their sleepy inspectors and all. Let's set up private sector quality & safety services to manage and inspect food. Furlough the USDA to work at elitist suburbanization projects they are more interested in anyway.

Bill    
Nebraska  |  March, 05, 2013 at 09:48 AM

Crazy thing is, USDA has prepared like no other part of government for this. The Ag part of USDA has been doing the hard work to reduce costs and streamline for more than a few years while other parts of government have not. Vilsack is a star in Washington. Meat inspection is just one part of the whole dillema that happens to not be very flexible or forgiving of reduction. Give this to the private industry to solve. Tell them the limitations on inspection time, and they WILL come up with an alternative to shutdown that keeps the food industry working, and them in the black. We (all americans) have become accustomed to the federal government doing their duty in working Congress's programs so we hardly notice. It costs too much. We need to live with less government involvement, more inconvenient moments, or more taxes. For now, I choose inconvenient moments. Let's settle into how to proceed when the fog clears.

Mark    
Montana  |  March, 05, 2013 at 01:16 PM

The current plan for furloughs, as I understand it is each individual will take one day per week off without pay, not shut down a department or agency for 15 to 22 days. A 20 % cut in pay for the employees furloughed

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 05, 2013 at 03:06 PM

We need to get over the mistaken belief that the free market can do everything better. It can't and, as proof, I offer up any of the recent (past 20 years) decisions by government to allow free market functioning of things like the airlines, banking and the savings & loan business. What the free market does best is squeeze every last drop of profit out of a business, especially when just a few big businesses control the market and are able to establish pricing and delivery of services. What that often creates, especially in businesses that must answer to a few large stockholders, is short-term profit taking at the expense of everything else. Some services are best left to government.

Gene Hall    
Waco, TX  |  March, 05, 2013 at 03:22 PM

I'm down with Hardee's. None in Waco though! BK is just "on the way to work."

Gene Hall    
Waco, TX  |  March, 05, 2013 at 03:33 PM

I should be clear, since Chuck decided to make me famous by quoting me in one of his excellent columns. I believe that Congress and the President should have worked this out and should continue to try. It's just that all the hyperbole is tiring. There will be consequences to the meat ax approach.

Cindy    
Wyoming  |  March, 05, 2013 at 04:32 PM

Anybody remember Y2K? The sky didn't fall then, either.

Derrel White    
March, 05, 2013 at 05:41 PM

Chuck, of course you know that Gene Hall and myself are on the same wavelength when it comes to government spending which makes me opposite of you as well. We are long overdue for real tax reform but not to raise revenue, but to create a system where people can actually comply with the regulations. Simply eliminating all credits (per the Taxpayer Advocate) would mean that we can reduce everyone's rate by 44% and still raise the same amount of money. But the issue with the sequester doesn't have anything to do with raising revenue. We had that bill that raised an additional $ 650 billion just in January. The ink was not even dry on that before your side started yapping about even more tax increases while totally disregarding the fact that this government is out of control on the spending side. Federal expenditures have increased more than 30% just in the last four years. Have you or anyone you know gotten a 30% raise in that time period? The sequester means very little in the scheme of things, a measly 2.5% cut, not compared to prior year expenditures but less of an increase. Every single worker in the country got their take home whacked by 2% at the beginning of the year and I doubt it caused the sky to fall for most of them. And while you wine about tax fairness and loopholes, are you aware that the top 20% of earners are paying a higher income tax rate on average than anytime in the last thirty years (source CBO)? What we have here is not the sky is falling either last Saturday or slowly over a long period of time. What we have is a government that has shown consistently that there is no spending that it doesn't like and even modest tightening of the belt is virtually impossible.

Milton    
Ohio  |  March, 06, 2013 at 08:35 AM

Obama was offered the option of redistributing the 2.5% budget cuts more sensibly. He turned it down. I guess he intends to royally screw things up just to hurt us. Lame ducks can get away with callous socialist crap like that. Let's all keep Obama's Chicago draconian politics in mind in 2014 and 2016 when his slippery Democrat pals are lining up for unfettered access to the government trough. We need to abolish the nanny state. Too much risk another shallow PO'd politician will spitefully pull the plug on us again.

Bill    
Nebraska  |  March, 06, 2013 at 09:45 AM

The Federal Government has morphed the need for oversight into the need to control several aspects of local government function, traditional charity and faith based services, and the guidance of the trends in culture and business. No one can argue that the Federal Government has a role to play, just not as invasive into our lives as it is now. I am a democrat but I do not support the part of my party that believes in the government being a central stimulator or controller. It should be just a counterbalance to well known abusers of the public trust and citizens in general. I do not believe there is an evil lurking in every corporate closet but I like to have security against it. That does not justify trillions in deficits.

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 06, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Derrel, my friend, using words like 'yapping' and 'w(h)ining' in this discussion is beneath you. Obama has acknowldged that spending must be curtailed and has offered several solutions. To use your turn of phrase, the first 'yapping' came from Boenher & Co. after he reached verbal agreements with the President that his own party refused to honor. Do I know of workers whose pay was raised 30% or more in the last 4 years? No, most workers lost income. Do I know of Corporate execs whose pay increased by 30% or more in the last 4 years? Absolutely. Are you aware that the top 20% are still paying taxes that rank among the lowest at anytime since 1940? Or that the top 2% are paying a tax rate that amounts to about half of what you and I pay?

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 06, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Derrel, my friend, using words like 'yapping' and 'w(h)ining' in this discussion is beneath you. Obama has acknowldged that spending must be curtailed and has offered several solutions. To use your turn of phrase, the first 'yapping' came from Boenher & Co. after he reached verbal agreements with the President that his own party refused to honor. Do I know of workers whose pay was raised 30% or more in the last 4 years? No, most workers lost income. Do I know of Corporate execs whose pay increased by 30% or more in the last 4 years? Absolutely. Are you aware that the top 20% are still paying taxes that rank among the lowest at anytime since 1940? Or that the top 2% are paying a tax rate that amounts to about half of what you and I pay?

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 06, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Milton, "callous socialist crap?" Would you please define socialism and place it in its historical context? Careful, that's a trick question. I think you're identifying anything to the left of the current Republican party, which has moved considerably to the right in recent years, as 'socialist.' Bill, I think you've identified the core of the political discussion. What is the appropriate role of the Federal Government and how will that role effect state and local government?

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 06, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Milton, "callous socialist crap?" Would you please define socialism and place it in its historical context? Careful, that's a trick question. I think you're identifying anything to the left of the current Republican party, which has moved considerably to the right in recent years, as 'socialist.' Bill, I think you've identified the core of the political discussion. What is the appropriate role of the Federal Government and how will that role effect state and local government?

Derrel White    
March, 06, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Having done taxes for many high income taxpayers for more than 25 years I can tell you that your claim that taxes paid are the lowest since 1940 is just not true. This is confirmed by the recent report from none other than the CBO which stated that in fact, the top 20% are paying an effective rate which is actually the highest in the last thirty years and of course they are paying a larger share of the total taxes because there is a large portion of the population which not only pays no income taxes, they get transfer payments back to them in the form of Earned Income Credit and other refundable credits. The key raising revenue is really quite simple. Eliminate deductions, lower effective rates for everyone. Exactly the opposite of what your man in the White House wants to do. GE (the CEO being a personal friend of Obama and chairman of his now defunct jobs council) paid an effective rate of 0% due to specialized credits and deductions available to them only because of their connections. Facebook got a 250 million tax credit. At the same time, one of my clients business who happens to be a family owned business, grown from nothing and has reinvested nearly all of their profits since inception now employees 30 people at above market wages but yet pays corporate tax at 35%. Should they then be taxed again at 39% if they are able to distribute part of that money back to them to recover their investment and sweat equity as dividends? Forget the talking points of your party and look at the facts of tax policy. What you are hearing from the White House is not historically accurate and the sequester is not a revenue problem, its a spending problem.

Derrel White    
March, 06, 2013 at 12:28 PM

You won't find a stronger supporter of real tax reform than me despite the fact that kind of reform would have a negative impact on part of my income. However, we are talking about the sequester and government spending and that should be the issue, not revenue enhancement to avoid having to make any choices about spending. The political problem with creating a truly fair tax system is the result is not what you and President Obama are suggesting. A truly fair tax system would not only address companies like GE getting political perks that allowed them tax breaks not many others gets, it would also mean that almost everyone should pay something even if it is just a few dollars. There is no other program in the entire federal government that has more abuse and fraud than the earned income credit. That credit continues to be expanded under both Republican and Democrat administrations because it gets votes. It was created in 1975 with good intentions and helping the right people. Today it way too expansive and can provide an incentive for an individual not only to cheat on his tax return in order to maximize the EIC, but to do much less because making a little less plus the EIC could actually allow a higher standard of living than working and exceeding the limit. There is something not right about that.

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 06, 2013 at 12:46 PM

As for your statement that my claim about taxes are the lwoest since 1940, this chart seems to back me up: http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/history-of-federal-individual-1.html. A few years were lower but almost all of them are higher. You do seem to be parroting the right wing theory that lowering tax rates will increase revenue. I think that idea failed under Reagan and at least one other president. I agree on reducing or eliminating loopholes. Can we forget the talking points of both parties (mine AND yours) and get factual here with hard data? BTW, Obama is the President of the U.S., not my man in the White House. As for your friend paying 35%, it reminds me of a something I read a few days ago. "In politics, you're either sitting at the table or you're on the menu." The major problem for the right and the left, is the people sitting at the table are to few. The table should be big enough that it has a place for your friend. All the available seats have been bought and paid for, unfortunately.

poor Richard    
Ohio  |  March, 06, 2013 at 12:51 PM

The nanny state don't come cheap. You think all those intrusive regulations just impose and enforce themselves? No, it takes more and more dedicated liberal do-gooders on the public dole to make darned sure ambitious people get smacked down good. It isn't easy. It is like a giant game of whack-a-mole when righteous government enforcers hammer down one greedy business person up pops another we need to choke back, then another and another and...you get the picture. All that hammer swinging do-gooding requires a lot of spending. And obviously we need a lot of revenue to perfect the system. The only thing that really helps is more government displacing private enterprise if it results in less business (or better still, no private business at all). If you doubt the genius of this approach just read the glowing eulogies for Hugo Chavez. Now there was one tremendous role model for American socialist wannabes! Wouldn't you agree Chuck? Hugo didn't have to put up with conservative congresspeople interfering with his taxing and spending and nationalizing. Heck no, he just decided how much everyone was to pay in and you didn't even have to file taxes if you didn't want to because Hugo's assistants would come around and just take it from you. What could be simpler? Sequestration? Weee don't neeeeed no stinkin seeequestration!

Derrel White    
March, 06, 2013 at 02:06 PM

Chuck you might want to check out this table before you perpetuate the myth that when you have true tax simplification i.e. lower tax rates combined with elimination of deductions, you decrease government revenues. http://bit.ly/7dGCmz. This chart clearly shows that is not true both in real dollars and in unadjusted dollars. This worked both for Reagan (R) and Kennedy (D) equally well especially when you look at the effects in real dollars in the long run. On the other hand, today we have economic incompetents on both sides of the aisle today. The Republican strategy, just lower tax rates without addressing fundamentally flawed deductions and credits offers only a short term stimulative effect and generally stable to declining taxes in real dollars. (See 2001-2004). The Democratic strategy raise taxes on the highest earners, give away as much as you can to the masses who vote is equally flawed (see 2009-2012 among other similar periods under Democrat control). Interestingly enough if you look at federal expenditures from since 2000 and compare them to 1980's, the government is almost three times as big in constant dollars. So my question to you is this. What is different about today than thirty years ago that requires a government that is three times larger in constant dollars? If we had a comparable sized government to just thirty years ago, we would be running very large surpluses but yet your article acts like a very small reduction without huge additional tax increases would create chaos.

Derrel White    
March, 06, 2013 at 02:26 PM

Chuck, here is a link to an article that talks about the effective tax rates being the highest in the last forty years on the top 20%. Your link only considers top and bottom marginal rates which is pretty much worthless for this discussion. Effective tax rates is a measurement of how total taxes compare to total income. Because of limits in deductibility of certain items and phase out of credits, the effective rate of tax has increased considerably for most of the taxpayers who are actually paying any income tax regardless of the character (active, passive, capital gain) of their income.

Jack    
Washington DC  |  March, 06, 2013 at 07:19 PM

Chuck's analysis is a lot simpler, guys -- higher tax revenues permit us to cover more interest payments on more money borrowed from China that we will gleefully continue to spend on more really fun stuff that is nice to have especially if it redistributes the wealth and the borrowed wealth. In Chuck's wonderful world the credit cards never need to be paid off if we just keep getting more credit cards with higher limits. We just need more tax revenues so rating agencies don't give us those icky downgrades that frighten our creditors. So bring on the taxes! This is so much easier than doing a bunch of boring budgets and watching our expenditures. Why can't you guys see that and just go along with it? Why must you be obstructionists?

maxine    
SD  |  March, 07, 2013 at 11:43 AM

What about the fact that sequestration provides NO cut in spending, only a slight, maybe 2%, cut in PLANNED INCREASES in spending?

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 08, 2013 at 09:14 AM

Jack, please don't use straw dog arguments. They're used by the intellectually slothful or the most strident extremists and I hope your neither of those. "In Chuck's wonderful world the credit cards never need to be paid off" is a ridiculous statement for you to make and it's based on what you wished I had said, not what I actually said. I am also not advocating using higher tax revenues to allow for more borrowing. Make your statements of your own accord, leave the straw out of it.

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 08, 2013 at 09:14 AM

Jack, please don't use straw dog arguments. They're used by the intellectually slothful or the most strident extremists and I hope your neither of those. "In Chuck's wonderful world the credit cards never need to be paid off" is a ridiculous statement for you to make and it's based on what you wished I had said, not what I actually said. I am also not advocating using higher tax revenues to allow for more borrowing. Make your statements of your own accord, leave the straw out of it.

Chuck    
Kansas  |  March, 08, 2013 at 09:22 AM

Derrell, with the flood of 'loopholing' available to the top 2%, I think anyone in that group who's paying more than the mid to high teens needs to fire their tax accountant. Those in the top 20% might need to revisit their portfolios. In your opinion which is much more educated than mine, is a simple flat tax sensible or do we need a series of credits (you can call them loopholes, deducts, whatever you will) to make the system more fair for everyone? And the real core of this discussion should be to determine the necessary place og government in our lives. Only then can we determine the necessary cost we must pay for those services. Until we reach that point, most discussion boils down to whining about what's in the other guy's pocket.

maxine    
SD  |  March, 08, 2013 at 03:45 PM

Chuck, isn't government regulation of business quite a slippery and perilous slope? And isn't government all too prone to use their power of regulation to pick and choose winners and losers in business? I believe we have seen some egregious examples of that in the Obama Administrations' handling of bailouts, have we not? What IS a "fair profit", in your opinion? Why is it that profit is so often painted as evil? Don't business need a profit to remain in business, and to hire people/provide jobs? Related, tho not really mentioned here is how do or should we determine what is a 'fair' wage? Too often I see calls for a "fair" or "living" wage, with little more than that it needs to be higher. Why does there seem to be no consideration of the amount of income that worker needs to produce for a company in order for his OWN wage to be paid out of earnings of the company?

Andrea    
NY  |  March, 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Maxine: that is why government jobs are so critical to all of this. Government workers need not concern themselves with "the amount of income that worker needs to produce for a company in order for his OWN wage to be paid out". In government jobs the whole idea is to take all you can from the agency (and spend your paycheck, all of it, aggressively) because that is the only thing that makes our economy. Those dreadful company profits you seem to admire are destructive to our social order. If some people try to get more, even if they "earn" it, that is unfair to the rest of us and that is the role of government. Perfect government employs all the people and pays everyone what leaders think is best. In America we don't have perfect government so the next best thing is to take as much as possible from those evil profitseekers and put that in the public kitty for leaders to redistribute. Now can you see why government jobs are so critical to economic success? Public work is the most efficient means of keeping social order. Plus the workers don't need to have special skills. Public workers, like the most greedy profitseekers, can care only about themselves but public workers help our economy by doing so and that helps everyone. Too bad so many people cannot grasp this simple concept. This is why the sequester will ruin us by causing layoffs of government employees.


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