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McNutt: Don't Do Stupid Sequestration

By February 25, 2013

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The federal official most intimately concerned with geoscience is the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. The just-retired USGS chief, Marcia McNutt, gave a wide-ranging interview to Eos in which she spelled out why the "sequester" budget cuts that threaten the agency on 1 March are so pernicious: "It's the across-the-board nature of [sequestration] without any discretion for how we can deal with it to mitigate the impacts that makes it so difficult. . . The sequester says we have to take it program for program, and sometimes the cuts are really kind of stupid because you are cutting part of something, which means that the rest of it is useless." Here's a good word for the sequester: procrustean, named for the legendary Greek villain who would subject captives to a large iron bed. If the victim's body was too large for the bed, Procrustes would cut off extremities; if too short, he would stretch them on the rack. The hero Theseus showed Procrustes no mercy, killing him outright and freeing his captives. Congress should do the same to the sequester.

Comments

February 27, 2013 at 8:34 am
(1) jtmckee says:

I love your blog until you delve into a subject which you display lots of emotion but not much knowledge, like the current sequestration flap.
It is a phony issue. it is a cut in the rate of growth. More $$ will be spent this year than last year
If our president and congress cannot come up with a plan to distribute the “cuts” by now then they do not deserve to control the purse strings.

February 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm
(2) Geology Guide says:

My post is perfectly factual. The sequester reduces the current operating budget—that’s a cut by any definition—and it forces all programs to be cut regardless of their importance and their constraints. You wouldn’t run your own household that way, and neither should the government.

The President doesn’t have much influence here. Congress is in charge of the government’s money, and maybe they don’t deserve that power but it’s the one the Constitution gives them.

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