It’s hard to be sympathetic for these folks. They’ve never had it so good. With the gargantuan explosion in government ever since 9/11 under Bush and now Obama, employment and salaries of government workers has increased apace in northern Virginia, and they have grown fat on other peoples’ money. With sequester, they are about to experience a little dose of reality – what it’s like, in other words, to live in the real world.

Even the New York Times is having difficulty generating much sympathy:

In Northern Virginia the cuts will be deeply felt, economists said, assuming there is no political deal to undo them, a dimming prospect. The White House said the Department would furlough 90,000 civilian employees based in Virginia, the most of any state, reducing their salaries by 20 percent this year.

Now this is a hollow victory of sorts as government employees make about double what people make in the sector so a 20 percent cut is modest. But it is having an effect. Complains Robin Roberts, a civilian budget employee in the Defense Department, who has cancelled their summer vacation plans:

No more movies, no more out-to-dinners, no more fun. It’s just pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, no more frills.

Sarah Stein, another government employee, is finding out about life outside the beltway as well. She and her husband were making well over $100,000 a year and paying $2,000 a month for child care. Her husband’s job was just terminated and he now works in an auto repair shop. And her $64,000 annual salary is being tested:

Most of my paycheck goes toward child care. We’ve cut out what we can cut, and we’re going to be in trouble.

Oh, the pain.

The Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University estimates that almost 40 percent of northern Virginia’s economy is supported by taxpayers, and has driven the there that is about to pop. The Center’s director said: “It was a that made this economy grow [by] two percentage points faster that the national economy.” He also failed to mention that part of the reason the rest of the economy isn’t doing well is because of tax dollars being siphoned off to pay for the lifestyles in northern Virginia.

is beginning to set in in northern Virginia. Moe Jafari owns a company that does some technology work for the and is pleased to see it happening:

They’re looking at budgets that are not unlimited. We see the government for the first time having discussions with us in ways we never thought. They’re looking at saving money. They’re starting to act like businesses.

Imagine that. I’m beginning to think the sequester is a pretty good idea after all.



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