The “sequester” and Lowell

Lowell National Park Visitor Center

I was happy to see that the Lowell National Park’s Visitor Center on Market Street opened on time yesterday and showed no immediate impact of the budget cutting “sequester” that went into effect on Friday. As the most visible Federal government presence in the city, the Lowell National Park will be closely watched for signs of these cuts. I’ve heard that keeping the VC open and the tours on schedule are the priorities but that the cuts will be felt in the funding of ancillary events such as the Lowell Summer Music Festival and the Lowell Folk Festival. It’s too soon to be predicting the cancellation of either of these, but they both bear watching.

Someone once said that “Americans like everything about socialism but the name” which I think is pretty accurate. It constantly astounds me that many who rail against the government and overspending derive such a large part of their own income from government spending be it directly in the form of paychecks or pensions or indirectly in the form of goods or services sold to the crowds that come to an event like the Lowell Folk Festival which is substantially (though not exclusively) dependent on government funding. If the government funding benefits me, it’s a wise expenditure. If it benefits you, it’s waste. That sums up the true philosophy of many of the self-professed conservatives amongst us.

So yes, it’s best to take a wait and see attitude on the effects of the sequester, but those who say that a cut of “only” 2.3% from a $3.6 trillion budget will have no discernible impact don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s not an across the board cut at the start of the fiscal year. The biggest expenditures – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – are exempt and we’re already nearly half way through the Federal fiscal year. Much money has already been allocated and spent and so the pool left to cut from is a lot smaller than $3.6 trillion. Maybe this region will escape any or at least the worst of the budgetary pain. There’s another saying: “a recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose your’s.”

5 Responses to The “sequester” and Lowell

  1. Bob Forrant says:

    Other possible area for local cuts – not seen anything specific yet – is federal grant funding that faculty and staff at UMass Lowell have been so skillful in winning. And, federal financial aid dollars too. While I repeat I’ve not seen specific on this as yet, it stands to reason of defense $$$, health research $$$, and such are scaled back, this may well come from the impt grants faculty have received to help support their research activities. This may well be a rolling sort of thing and not hit UML before sanity prevails and Congress figures this all out.

  2. C R Krieger says:

    Except perhaps for what comes next.  Scandanavia seems to be doing OK, but the PIIGS not so much.   The American Thinker draws our attention to the recent elections in Italy—”Dangerous Times:  How Euro-socialism Set off a Fascist Bomb“.  France and Germany are in the middle.

    Sure, it is easy to mke fun of me for having my “federal pension”.  Of course folks forget that part of the reason for it is the desire on the part of the Government to have me go home early, so as not to clog the promotion system and unduely age the force.  And, I am well aware that the COLA has distorted that value and needs to be fixed, but without hurting those on the low end of the spectrum.  But, does that mean that only socialists can be in the Armed Forces?

    I think the concern with Socialism, and there actually are a lot of Americans with a concern about Socialism, is that eventually one runs out of other peoples’ money, as Maggie Thatcher is supposed to have said.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  3. Bob Gagnon says:

    The feds seem to want to cut where it will hurt us the most, why not cut some of the foreign aid we give out, or how about finally cutting the 8 billion a year in subsidies the oil industry gets from the US govt?
    Thanks, Bob Gagnon

  4. Bob Forrant says:

    A friend at UMass Amherst who looks at the economy for a living sent me this when I asked about the impact of sequester.

    “Last year we used the REMI model to assess the impact of sequester on the state. [
    The simulation compared a baseline with no budget cuts with a simulation that used our estimates of how much would be cut from federal money coming into the state.
    The model estimated 52,000 fewer jobs with the sequester than without over a ten-year period. Virtually all of these impacts in the first 18 months, remaining in place for ten year. Note that this does not mean 52,000 jobs eliminated; rather, 52,000 jobs either eliminated or not added.” He added this: “I read somewhere than Prez Caret estimates a $32 million cut in university federal grants due to the sequester.”