SEQUESTRATION | If federal spending cuts happen on March 1, our region is in huge trouble. Local governments are struggling to plan their budgets with so much uncertainty about what is going to happen, but here’s a look at the potential chain reaction (WaPo, 2/20):
If the worst is realized and jobs disappear by the thousands, the flow of money through the local economy could be choked off, leading to more foreclosures, slower growth among businesses and less spending among households.
All of that would greatly affect local governments, where budgets are inextricably linked to the health of the economy.
States and localities hit hard by cuts could have their bond ratings lowered, making it more expensive to borrow money for capital projects.
What are the chances that the can gets kicked down the road a few more months, and we get to look forward to more fire and brimstone stories like this? If I had to guess, I’d say approximately 100%. How about you?
Related: President Obama and Congress are pointing fingers at each other about who will be to blame if the spending cuts are triggered. (WaPo, 2/20) Ooh, ooh, Mr. Kotter! I have the answer: Congress and President Obama! That was easy.
DATA | The Atlantic looks at the massive rise in government spending on low-income populations over the last 40 years and through the next ten. In 1972, spending was at $55 billion. Now it is $588 billion and in 2023 it will be $877 billion. Most of the increase is related to healthcare programs like Medicaid. (Atlantic, 2/20)
Obviously there are a lot of factors related to these numbers to consider. But here’s a question: are these spending increases helping, hurting, or doing nothing for their target populations? It’s the same sort of question Carlos Slim had about philanthropy.
GIVING | Last week, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation announced more than $1.2 million in grants focused on empowering youth with disabilities. Foundation director Kevin Webb says:
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation is proud to be part of this national effort. By investing in innovative projects designed to empower youth with disabilities, they have more promising employment prospects as they transition to adulthood.
PERSPECTIVES | Earlier this month, Tamara challenged us to read an article from a publication outside of our routine and comfort zone. Have you taken her up on the challenge? You can read her column about shifting our perspective here: When was the last time you read Ebony Magazine? (Daily 2/6)
ENVIRONMENT | Today, D.C. Mayor Gray released a 20 year plan called Sustainable DC that has a very specific goal: “In just one generation – 20 years – the District of Columbia will be the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States.” Read the full plan here.
FOOD | What Food Desert Maps Get Wrong About How People Eat (Atlantic, 2/20)
EVENT | On March 13th, the Student Support Center will honor the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation at the 2013 Successful Students Campaign awards reception. More information and tickets are available here.
YOUTH | Six students in Prince George’s County have been murdered during this school year in unrelated crimes – two during this week alone. The county is starting a task force to address the violence. (WaPo, 2/20) In the meantime, how much progress has been made on reducing gun violence?
I usually don’t post anything from BuzzFeed because the site is mostly mindless garbage. However, after re-reading Tamara’s great piece on perspectives, I did enjoy this neat list of 28 visuals that might change yours. Give the page a few seconds to load so that the animations work. And click around that site at your own risk – brain cells are a a precious commodity.