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Friday, June 14, 2013

Griper Blade: No Money for Firefighters, Thanks to Austerity

Wildfire consumes forest
Welcome to the wonders of austerity!
Grist: Tea Partiers who watched gleefully as the sequester slashed government spending are welcome to douse forest fires near their homes with teapots full of Earl Grey this summer. Across-the-board budget cuts mean federal wildfire fighting efforts could be overwhelmed.

The U.S. Forest Service will hire 500 fewer firefighters this year and 50 fewer fire engines will be available than previously expected, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week. The Interior Department also plans to pare back its firefighting crews.
The seasonal firefighting jobs are going up in smoke because of Congress’s inability to come up with a national spending plan. President Obama called for spending cuts and tax increases to help balance the budget, but Republicans would have none of the latter.
As they always are when it comes to anything other than military spending, prison-building, or corporate welfare, Republicans are being penny wise and pound foolish. In insisting on deep cuts to spending and in cheering on the sequester, they've managed to save $50 million in Forest Service spending -- or what the pentagon spent about every half hour on a randomly chosen day in 2013. So we'll throw $1.6 billion in a day at defense against foreign armies, but we're not willing to spend that much in a year defending against natural disaster. You might have noticed, we don't get invaded by foreign militaries every year. Spending on natural disasters is somewhat predictable, meaning you can set up an approximate budget for it. We've decided to stop doing this, because we're smart like that.

The result is predictable...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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