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#30008 - 02/26/13 01:13 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: George]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1012
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
the sequester is chump change.
somebody needs to get less. Who?




[img:left] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

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#30009 - 02/26/13 04:40 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Harvey Lankford]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Eeeeek. I knew I'd made a mistake but I am a weak, weak person. As noted, economics is a bit beyond me except to say that the above (and, OK, clever) pie chart is just the teensiest bit misleading. "The last time the GOP controlled both houses" is the clue... . It could more accurately say "Just before Bush drained the Clinton surplus, started two wars, tanked the economy and drove it into the deepest recession since the Depression." That would be my biased choice anyway and I'd use sock puppets, not a pie.

More than anyone might want to know, but here's the GAO numbers and charts:

http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/debt/budgetdebt.html

But I don't think we should veer this way (said the guy who just did. Did I mention what a weak person I am?). Let's assume the above is somewhat accurate. OK. Now what? If you think government is too big, what don't you want? Should, as SierraNevada cheerfully tongue-in-cheek proposed, the public lands -- Yosemite, Constitution Hall, Civil War battlefields etc. -- be privatized? No question the private sector could make money off the popular parks and sell off anything that just doesn't make the cut. So let's just keep it to the National Parks & Forests as somehow representative of government waste or something we don't think the US should support. What would you cut? Should we close parks? Which ones? Not put out fires? Not rescue people, respond to motor vehicle accidents, wait for an ambulance from the nearest town to render medical aid instead of rangers who are paid to take advanced medical training.

That's the discussion needed which is being otherwise avoided and disguised by talk of trillions and billions and even the word sequestration. It's real people being laid off, real services being cut. If that's the choice, OK, but it should be made with clear understanding of the actual choices and consequences.

When the government was shut down some years ago and a number of parks closed, many otherwise conservative communities suddenly realized that the local and often hated park was drawing in people and money for them. Shazzam, suddenly they (among others) pressured the republicans (Gingrich et al) to quickly reversed course and passed a budget.

g.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#30010 - 02/26/13 05:16 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: wagga]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
It's somewhat asinine to me to say if the military has to tighten it's belt then why should the National Parks be exempt. They should be exempt because I see on the NPS website their budget is listed as about 3.2 billion. When the Department of Defense is approaching 1000 Billion. 1 trillion dollars is an unimaginable amount of money when put into all sorts of perspectives. If the NPS can operative as it does now on a crappy little 3.2 billion then wouldn't you love to sap 3.2 billion away from the defense budget which is a tiny amount compared to it all and double the NPS budge to 6.4 billion a year and see what can get done?

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't the Government still claiming that 1 trillion dollars a year just goes missing and that the reason for this is because their computers do not talk to each other? How about some efforts be focused on making a computer talk to another computer instead of cutting every other little service for the people that hardly has any effect on the budget at all. :cry:

I swore I would stay away from poltical threads but here I am. :confused:
_________________________
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#30011 - 02/26/13 05:37 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: RoguePhotonic]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
I swore I would stay away from poltical threads but here I am. confused

So far, this thread has generated a lot more light than heat, the discourse is civil, and I'm proud of you all. Keep a level strain!
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#30013 - 02/26/13 07:39 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: George]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
The problem with the "can't we just get along" approach is that it can create a situation where objective truth (yes, it really exists) is ignored. And the "true truth" of the matter is that this country has spent itself into a hole, and the politicians in charge are so beholden to special interests and political ideology that they seem unable to face the plain facts.

I'd wager that if my own CPA (or some other one outside of the DC beltway) were given the job of doing a line by line evaluation of the national budget he could come up with enough spending cuts to get us out of this mess. Most politicians might be very unhappy with his solutions, but there lies the problem.

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#30015 - 02/27/13 02:06 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA


That pie chart is an interesting example of cherry-picking data. 2007 was the height of the stock market climb based on all the bogus real estate borrowing and lending. (Anybody want to go back to those days?) So of course the federal deficit was small.

Unfortunately, between 2007 and 2013, the Great Recession sort of blew a hole in the sweet cherry pie. There are no easy solutions.

Here's a more realistic picture: S&P 500 Index Chart, 2003-2013


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#30016 - 02/27/13 04:53 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1012
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
No need to re-analyze the pie details if they are not quite right. (After all, they are statistics). It was shown simply as a catchy attention-getter.

Personally, I have no problem with federal spending that we at least get a tangible benefit for; Park Service, military, Interstate highways, etc. Not only do we get something, they are also work-projects as opposed to some freebie entitlements.



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#30017 - 02/27/13 08:49 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: George]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Again, what cuts? If you are spending more this year than the previous year, you are not cutting a thing. You a spending more, maybe not as much as you like but more. I hate it when Washington elites be they Democrats or Republicans call a slowing in growth a cut.

At last look, we were spending 25% of GDP, up from about 20 during the Bush Administration. We have a spending problem. Choices have to be made what is cut...real cuts not these phony-baloney "cuts".

If you want a huge national park and forest system, let those of us who use it pay a greater share of the freight. I don't have problem paying for my Adventure Pass or permit fees. I would not mind increases user fees. What many want is the equivalent free access to UCLA, Ohio State, etc. football game.

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#30019 - 02/27/13 02:27 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: RenoFrank]
HikeUp Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Pasadena, CA
Originally Posted By: RenoFrank
That's a great article. Often it's left against right, blue vs red, etc. Each side thinks the other 65 million voters are "ignorant morons."
Then there are those of us who think the other 129999999 voters are ignorant morons. crazy

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#30020 - 02/27/13 04:34 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Steve C]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
"cherry picking data" -- heh, heh, heh.

And, this just in, using volunteers to take up the slack is now out:

Quote:
The Associated Press obtained a Park Service memo Friday that detailed some of the planned Yosemite cuts. Staff reductions would end guided ranger programs at Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, eliminate a program in which 3,500 volunteers provide 40,000 hours of activities and mean less frequent trash pickup due to loss of campground staff.

I would guess that most parks will eliminate extraneous budget stuff and pull back to the core of basic services: fire, law enforcement, medical and search. Even these, though, will be affected if seasonals (like, um, me) are cut. There aren't enough permanent staff, especially in the large parks, to handle incidents or even day to day stuff in the peak visitor season.

And on to the debt. While it's true that we are spending 25% of GDP, that's not a huge crisis, certainly not one necessitating drastic cuts in a tanked economy. The ratio got there because people are unemployed, they're not spending, businesses are not buying and hiring people, no one is paying as much in taxes, and the government paying for obligated expenses (SS, Medicare etc.) and also increased unemployment and other safety net costs. So debt to GDP went up. But, as the economy recovers, it's now coming down. Spending is not the main problem and cause; unemployment and a stagnant economy is.

Just hours ago Krugman had a pretty good blog post on why it's not a crisis and pointing out that Bernacke, in Congressional testimony, agrees.

Quote:
What's more, there really isn't any huge urgency about deficit reduction. Borrowing costs are low, and current projections show only a modest rise in the debt-GDP ratio over the next decade. Beyond that there are bigger issues — but these issues don't have to be solved right away, and should not be used to justify growth-killing austerity now.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/bernanke-of-hippo/


He's also got this one earlier:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/opinio...mc=rss&_r=0

Sorry to overdo Krugman, known leftist (though a Nobel prize in econ and teaching gig at Princeton gives him a certain authority) but he's a terrific and clear writer, provides independent data (e.g. GAO) and admits when he's unsure or <gasp> wrong.

Bob's right that his CPA could probably find a zillion legitimate cuts to make. But that's not the way it works, nor should. We have Congress and voters to do that. Having a single person decide what's "waste, fraud and abuse" is, to a certain extent, what sequestration is imposing. For all this caterwauling about spending too much, it's Congress who approved every bit of spending we're doing. Blaming a particular administration is partially correct, but misses the cause. We vote for them.

For the parks -- and government as a whole -- the question remains what is the role of government in our lives; what services are we willing to do without; what are we willing to pay; and how is that money going to be raised? The pie chart is correct in that sequestration cuts are a teensy part of reducing the debt. That can only come from working with things like social security and medicare (though costs for the latter are coming down and changing debt projections). Are we in an immediate crisis requiring austerity and a likely descent back into recession (e.g. Europe & Great Britain) or can a solution be part of a long range plan: get us jobs now and out of this weak economic doldrums and agree to long-range manipulation of earned benefit programs (aka "entitlements").

_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#30021 - 02/27/13 05:01 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: HikeUp]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Polarization is great for shades - not so much for politics. It's hard to touch on a topic of discussion nowadays that won't eventually devolve into party line-taking if allowed to go on long enough. That's why I don't belong to a party, and never will.

The problem is simple, the solution not. Onerous, crushing, unsustainable debt is bad. Very bad. For individuals, companies, or countries. No one in their right mind can look at out national debt and say, "no big deal." The piper always gets paid.

Two solutions exist - and only two. Generate a lot more topline (usually higher taxes in the absence of a steamroller economy), or slash the expenses and piss innumerable constituencies off. Neither is likely to happen in the current polarized environment. I failed to mention the 3rd cure - printing more money - but the downside to that is self-evident (although it's not stopped Uncle Sam from doing so on many occasions).

The Catch-22, though, is the fragile economy. It likely can't take a hit of any significant tax increases due to the repercussions in GDP and job losses, nor can the budget be slashed to any appreciable degree due to that same ugly spectre of resulting unemployment. Either approach would send the economy into a tailspin again. And there would be hell to pay at the polls - which is the dominant theme in Washington.

So, stalemate. And anything that is implemented will be almost purely cosmetic and designed to appease one base or another. If we can't come to agreement on stopping the bleeding (reducing deficit spending), how will a real cure (significantly reducing the debt) ever become a reality?

The national debt is borderline unsolvable. It may be past that point already. These "solutions" that are being promoted by both parties barely scratch the surface. We're rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.




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#30023 - 02/27/13 05:27 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Bulldog34]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#30024 - 02/27/13 06:20 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: George]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: woodsy guy
Sorry to overdo Krugman, known leftist (though a Nobel prize in econ and teaching gig at Princeton gives him a certain authority) but he's a terrific and clear writer, provides independent data (e.g. GAO) and admits when he's unsure or <gasp> wrong.


It's really nice to not Bee the only one in the room who is always quoting Krugman!!

I was just listening to an NPR program(REALLY starting to sound like a lefty) about failing cities, and one of the interesting points brought up is that as long as people are unemployed/suffer cuts there is no tax income, spending, services, & eventually the town shutters and the people move out. Cave-in. Detroit is something that we should all pay attention to, as it serves as a failure model.

The other thing that comes to mind is the Silent Running scenario that it only takes a generation or two to forget what we once had (in the case of the movie: forests), so that people eventually get used to a diminished services, closed parks -- whatever the future holds. I know that when folks start in with "when grampa was a boy" there were redwoods everywhere, the younger folk roll their eyes.

Okay, Lefty moment over.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#30025 - 02/27/13 07:32 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Bee]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Bee: the "lefty" or, as we now prefer, progressive moment should never be over! It is a dismal commentary on the power of the tea party types (note: not republicans) that being left of center is somehow something to apologize for.

Quote:
No one in their right mind can look at out national debt and say, "no big deal."


Perhaps a misunderstanding perpetuated by Joe Scarborough and crowd. Krugman (and Stiglitz & Reich & Bernacke etc.) would not say about the deficit and debt "no big deal." Krugman has repeatedly said it's definitely necessary to deal with, but ONLY when the recession is over (e.g. unemployment under about 6%). The point is, the debt is not an immediate crisis (that is, within, say the next 5 years). It's not a "sound mind" thing. Actual bare-naked economists agree (ewwwwww!):

http://www.businessinsider.com/10-people-who-disagree-with-joe-scarborough-2013-1

Debts to GDP ratio have, historically, been even higher and we've done quite well. If and when the economy recovers, this is not at all an issue.

A slightly geeky side note is how accurate can any forecast be beyond maybe 10 years and should we bind decisions made now to predictions 20 years out? That (if I understand him correctly) is Krugman's point.

The debt may be, as Bulldog says, "unsolvable" but it may not be all that critical for the moment. Solving the unemployment problem is the critical factor for economic recovery.

Once again, these are real choices that are reflected in budgeting for the National Parks and Forests. Here's the root of the problem (see graph);
http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/...icized-than-cut

Everyone wants government and services but seem unwilling to acknowledge that they cost money. Who should pay?

Finally, what's with all the caterwauling about taxes. I mean, what is it worth to have an education system subsidized such that everyone has a chance at college education and so eventually contribute to innovation and a vibrant economy? To have medical care and a solid safety net for everyone so we don't end up paying for it through use of Emergency Departments? Having huge areas of terrain for people to see America as it was before roads and cities and McDonald's sprawled across the landscape?

I think it's worth a lot and cheerfully pay my taxes (ok, not quite cheerfully) to support that society of which I am a part.

g.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#30027 - 02/27/13 08:58 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: George]
HikeUp Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Pasadena, CA
Originally Posted By: George
Sorry to overdo Krugman, known leftist (though a Nobel prize in econ and teaching gig at Princeton gives him a certain authority) but he's a terrific and clear writer, provides independent data (e.g. GAO) and admits when he's unsure or <gasp> wrong.

Snort.

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#30030 - 02/27/13 11:33 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Polarization is great for shades - not so much for politics.

Great line! I can wholeheartedly agree with that.

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#30031 - 02/28/13 06:28 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
I would just like to welcome all those who are now so concerned about the national debt, especially those who were silent about it since the early 80's when the budget deficits began to grow big time. While embarking on massive deficit spending to enlarge and modernize our military, the mantra was "government is the problem" and "starve the beast" and "deficits don't matter." Welcome, but get your facts straight and don't overreact to destroy a fragile economic recovery. Note that revenues have been starved by historically low tax rates (similar to the 1920s), the annual budget deficits have been SHRINKING as a proportion of GDP in the past four years (despite what you hear in the echo chamber). Government employment is down and private sector employment is up, federal spending has been pretty level despite an aging population and aging infrastructure. Clearly we are on a better trajectory than we were coming off the "Great Recession." Don't forget we've been fighting the longest war in American history while cutting taxes - we never tried that before. This is not the time to shoot ourselves in the foot. Getting the economy back on track is the single best way to reduce the long term debt at this point. Welcome, let's continue to adjust course without taking a nose dive.



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#30033 - 02/28/13 07:51 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Why have revenues been straved? They increased after the tax cuts early in the last decade, as they did after cuts in the '20s, '60s and '80s after similar cuts. Revenues decreased because of a decrease in economy activity. The deficit as percentage of GDP is projected to go lower...the word is predicted. I don't know how you get to 6% of GDP this year when economy growth is .1% this past quarter, as reported this morning.

To me, this is all circus. A game that everyone plays along. We have a spending problem. 25% of GDP sending is a problem. Europe is the wake up call everyone wants to ignore.


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#30034 - 02/28/13 08:23 AM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: SierraNevada]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Sierra, just to be clear, and so we're using the correct terminology, this graph represents the annual budget deficit trend over several years. In your post in the photos section, you have it labeled as the debt trend. Two totally different animals.

The annual deficit spending - which adds to the national debt each year - has been decreasing as a percentage of GDP since the huge TARP payouts in 2009 and 2010 and subsequent repayments. The national debt, however, even as a percentage of GDP, is still heading steadily upwards as a result of deficit spending, and is close to the New Deal/WWII level that represents the high water mark of the country's modern debt history.

We have made the effort to pay down our national debt in only 4 of the last 40-plus years, and have depended on GDP outpacing debt to provide almost all of the relief seen in these lovely graphs that are so popular. Call me a pessimist (I prefer realist), but I have little to no confidence that we can reel off another 30-year run of economic prosperity (a la 1949-1979) to hammer the debt ratio down to manageable levels.

Your point is well taken though. The only hope we have of keeping our heads above water is to ensure the economy continues to grow and unemployment continues to decline. Balancing the annual budget would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. The scary thing to me is that we are currently in a very tenuous position: we are almost at historic highs for debt-to-GDP while nursing along a fragile recovery in a shaken-up, battered world. Another poorly-timed terrorist event or economic bubble bursting could plunge us over into debt territory we've never imagined.

And, on topic, I'd certainly be willing to pay more to enjoy the national parks and forests if necessary to keep them maintained and staffed properly. It costs upwards of $300 for a family of four to spend a day in one of the country's big theme parks (some places, a lot more). There's not a Disney, Universal, or MGM that can hold a candle to Yosemite, the Rocky Mountains, or the Grand Canyon.

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#30045 - 02/28/13 07:33 PM Re: Yosemite, Congress & Sequestering [Re: Bulldog34]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Blah, blah blah, blah blah. Not that it's not true, but I wish these guys would learn to write:

February 26, 2013

Memorandum

To: All National Park Service Employees

From: Director /s/ Jonathan B. Jarvis

Subject: Update on Preparations for Potential Sequestration

While there is a slim possibility that Congress will reach an agreement that eliminates the need for sequestration and the senseless, across-the-board budget cuts that it will impose, with the March 1 deadline only days away we must finalize our plans, be ready to implement them, and prepare for the resulting impacts on our visitors, our partners, our parks and programs, and on each and every employee.

Sequestration requires the National Park Service to take a five percent – $134 million – reduction in the funds we expected, and it must happen in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year. We have few options and even less flexibility. No park or program is immune, and each was required to submit a plan of how the cut would be taken and the impacts that would result. This was a tough assignment and I appreciate everyone stepping up to get it done. A review of the plans Service-wide offers a grim reality of how we will have to reduce the level of direct services we provide to the American people in parks and communities across the country. There will be wide-ranging and long-term consequences. And there will be – and already have been – negative impacts across our entire workforce. While plans are still be finalized, we expect the following to happen:

All 25,000 National Park Service employees will face challenges in performing your job. Because we are just as dedicated to the proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars as we are to the stewardship of their parks, we have been prudent about spending since the start of the fiscal year. Since October 1, we have delayed filling many vacant permanent jobs and reduced travel and other expenses. Secretary Salazar has implemented a Department-wide hiring freeze as well as given direction to reduce overtime, travel, training, contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants and eliminate conference attendance. I want to emphasize to you that keeping positions vacant is not a sustainable strategy; it cripples our ability to meet mission responsibilities – from providing education programs to kids, to coordinating wildlife research, to managing museum collections – and it increases the burden on remaining staff that take on additional critical work that cannot go undone.

Furloughs of Permanent Employees. We are still finalizing our plans and assessing whether furloughs of NPS permanent employees will be required. Across the Department of the Interior, it is expected that thousands of permanent employees will be furloughed for up to 22 work days. In the unfortunate event it comes to furloughs, all affected employees will be provided at least 30 days notice or in accordance with the designated representative collective bargaining agreement, as appropriate. We continue to engage in discussions with employee unions to ensure that any furloughs are applied in an appropriate manner meeting agency mission requirements. If you have questions on this issue, I encourage you to go to the Office of Personnel Management website, which has helpful information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding furloughs (found at www.opm.gov/furlough, under the "administrative furlough” section).

Seasonal employees will be furloughed, have delayed starts, shortened employment periods, or will not be hired at all. We lose our utility infielders. Our seasonal workforce is the "bench” we turn to when fires break out, search and rescue operations are underway, and every other collateral duty in the world needs doing. Many of these folks return year after year; they are the repositories of amazing institutional knowledge for the park...and our visitors. The sequestration will hit just as many parks are gearing up to hire seasonals. In some parks, like Yellowstone, the impact has already started; those who would normally be getting ready to plow roads for the spring season are on hold and the opening of the park could be delayed up to a month. All seasonal employees that are furloughed will be provided at least 30 days notice.

We will be unable to hire the number of students that we had planned – halting the progress on youth hiring of the last four years. Students are a vital part of our workforce today and integral to the National Park workforce of tomorrow. Sequestration will mean that we will be unable to meet our youth hiring goals. We also expect significant reductions to cooperative agreements with partners that fund youth work crews and are the foundation for our vision of a 21st Century Conservation Corps. Our inability to hire students and enter into cooperative agreements will have lasting impacts as these young people are forced to find work elsewhere and ultimately may make different career choices.

Sequestration will have long-term and wide-ranging effects.

1. Economic. Reduced services and access will make families planning summer vacations think twice about coming to a national park. A drop in visitation could have devastating effects on the economies of gateway communities who depend on visitor spending and shut down park lodging, food, and other services provided by concessioners who support 25,000 jobs. Just today we announced that visitor spending in 2011 pumped $30 billion into the national economy that supported 252,000 jobs.

2. Unfunded Community Projects. Our commitment to states and communities will be jeopardized by $2.4 million in cuts to NPS grants to states to support local recreation, $1.9 million to support historic preservation, and $500,000 in technical assistance offered by RTCA.

3. Resources at Risk. Our capacity to respond to new threats from invasive species will be cut in half and previous investments in eradication will be endangered; at Yosemite, more than $2.5 million spent in recent years to remove/control aggressive species as yellow star thistle, Italian thistle and Himalayan blackberry will be wasted if those plants reestablish their hold and increase their threat to native ecosystems. Water quality testing will be reduced in as many as 55 parks. At Redwood, the inability to fill the park's hydrologic technician position will lead to a degradation of the park's long-term hydrologic record. The park will be unable to collect water quality data that supports Clean Water Act Section 303(d) monitoring and directives from Congress contained in the 1978 Redwood Act. Ford's Theatre will lack the curatorial capacity to manage its collection of over 14,000 artifacts relating to President Lincoln and the management, preservation, and documentation of these objects and documents would be jeopardized.

If sequestration happens, I want you to know that I will be doing everything possible to mitigate its effects on our mission and on you and your families. Over the next several days it may be difficult to sort through what is fact and what is rumor. Your entire National Park Service leadership team in Washington, in the regions, and in parks, is committed to making sure that you have accurate and timely information as we know it.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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