This is the proverbial "elephant on the dance floor" that will not go away on its own. It is time our elected officials woke up and addressed the issue.
Ignoring sequestration won't make it vanish
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post, Walter Pincus
Let's think about the unthinkable — sequestration. On Jan. 2, 2013, it will kick in if Congress can't reach agreement before then on $1.2 trillion in cuts or added revenue over the next 10 years. Sequestration will be avoided if Congress passes legislation that President Barack Obama will sign that undoes the legal requirement in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Otherwise, on Jan. 2, the government must begin imposing the first of 10 years of across-the-board reductions in discretionary spending accounts for defense ($500 billion) and non-defense ($700 billion).
But then you have got to read this:
As the battle over the 1990 budget drags on through the year, many policymakers will solemnly state that the deficit can only be reduced if taxes are increased. News reports will dutifully note that President George Bush does not have the votes in the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass his budget, further adding to the conventional wisdom that taxes should be raised. Any signs that the Bush budget's economic projections will not be fulfilled will be taken as further evidence that more revenue is needed. Combined with standard criticisms that the president's proposed budget relies on gimmicks and creative accounting, it would appear that the White House is almost powerless in the fight against higher taxes.
Overlooked in this analysis, however, is the role of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act. Most importantly, sequestration the law's procedure for automatically restraining spending growth if the projected deficit exceeds the target by more than $10 billion is a powerful tool for the executive branch. Unless Congress can muster a two-thirds vote to pass a tax increase over a presidential veto, Bush can use a sequester to reduce the deficit without higher taxes. Congress could repeal or modify Gramm-Rudman, but such a step would also require legislation that the president could veto. Since it is very unlikely that Congress would be able to override either veto, policymakers would have little choice but to accept the sequester or enact a budget acceptable to the White House.
Few budget experts believe sequestration is the optimal outcome of the year's budget debate. However, as Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan stated in testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, "it is certainly desirable, 1) to a tax increase, and 2) to especially doing nothing." Unlike budget agreements that rely on one-time savings and promises to behave more responsibly in the future, sequestration imposes real reductions in the growth rate of federal spending. Furthermore, the Bush administration could improve its chances to avoid higher taxes next year by choosing a sequester this year because sequestration would significantly lower the spending baseline Congress will use when preparing the 1991 budget.
Did we learn anything?
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
Budget feud erupts again
The Wall Street Journal Share
Republicans are likely to unveil a budget plan that will cut 2013 federal spending below the level the two parties negotiated last August, prompting Democrats to complain that they are reneging on the agreement. GOP leaders respond that the figure, reached after tough talks and sacrifices by both sides, always was intended as an upper limit, not an ironclad amount. More
GOP Leader: Obama must back off military cuts
ABC News Share
The Obama administration should retreat from billions of dollars in "deeply damaging" defense cuts and begin investing in a new generation of tanks, planes and ships as the nation confronts danger around the globe, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said. With much of the country's armament dating to the Reagan era and a decade-long war in Afghanistan, Congress must "get our forces the tools they need to win the current war and deter future wars," said Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif. More
Looming defense cuts prompt GOP shift
House Republicans leaders hope to use this spring's budget resolution to set in motion a novel deficit-reduction bill designed to substitute for the nearly $110 billion in automatic spending cuts due to take effect in January. At this stage, the goal is not to match the full $1.2 trillion in 10-year savings ordered by the Budget Control Act last summer. Instead, the primary focus is on the first round in 2013, half of which — about $54.7 billion — would come from national defense spending. More
Senate rejects pay freeze extension
The Washington Post Share
The Senate rejected a measure March 13 that would have extended a pay freeze for federal employees for another year. By a vote of 51 to 47, the chamber turned down an amendment to a highway funding bill introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., that would have extended the freeze through January 2014 to fund energy projects, an adoption tax credit and tax deductions for college expenses and for state and local property taxes. More
US Pacific Command in new hands
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Share
Adm. Robert F. Willard, the "dean" of U.S. combatant commanders, relinquished control of U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith on March 9, amid praise from the nation's top military leaders for the job he's done over the past 2 1/2 years. More
Marine general picked to be Panetta assistant
UT San Diego Share
The Marine Corps general in charge of the 57,000-Marine force based at Camp Pendleton has been nominated to serve as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, a veteran of the early days of the post-9/11 Afghanistan War, will likely change jobs as early as this summer. He has served as commanding general of Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force since October 2010. More
Defense Health Agency: Next step to curb medical costs
Tacoma News Tribune Share
Defense officials have asked Congress to approve a new governance structure for the military health care system that, like higher Tricare fees, would help to curb what, for a decade, have been runaway medical costs, officials explained. The centerpiece of the plan is to elevate Tricare Management Activity to a more powerful Defense Health Agency, with new authorities to use more effectively the military's direct care system and to manage more carefully purchased care through Tricare support contractors. More
More good employment news for veterans
Stars and Stripes Share
The unemployment rate for recent veterans dropped to 7.6 percent in February, the lowest it has been since September 2008 and a possible sign of success for high-profile efforts to find veterans jobs. More
Air Force future involves 'shaping' not downsizing
Stars and Stripes via Current Mil-Tech News Share
The U.S. Air Force's top enlisted leader reassured airmen in Europe on March 14 that despite the Pentagon's current fiscal constraints, the service would not see the level of downsizing that occurred about five years ago, when the Air Force began reducing its force by more than 40,000. "We're not downsizing. We've done that. We're shaping the force," Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy told thousands of airmen packed into an aircraft hangar at Ramstein Air Base during an all-hands call. More
Guard makes some headway in 2013 budget battle
Air Force Times Share
The Air Force is finalizing its response to an alternate plan to its proposed cuts, one that has the service reconsidering some of its more controversial moves from the service's fiscal 2013 budget proposal, top Air Force officials recently told lawmakers. More
Local bases escape brunt of Marine Corps cuts
UT San Diego Share
The Marine Corps plans to cut its active-duty ranks by about 20,000 in the next five years, because of the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, the rapid drawdown underway in Afghanistan and national budget strains. But the impact on Marine bases in San Diego County will be minimal, according to details recently released and local Marine Corps representatives. East Coast installations will be hardest hit as the Marines downsize by about 10 percent, from 202,100 to 182,100. More
Marines to cut 4 battalions, 12 air squadrons
The Marine Corps said on March 14 it would cut four infantry battalions and 12 flying squadrons over the next five years as it shrinks by 20,000 personnel to meet budget constraints and peacetime needs after more than a decade of war. More
Food fight! Stores, producers, consumers battle over high food prices
Here's a news flash that won't be remotely surprising if you're responsible for grocery shopping in your house: The cost of food has been rising. While some are predicting that food prices will plateau or even fall, it appears as if increased regulation and production costs will continue to mean higher food prices for wholesalers, and these higher costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers. More
Savings bonds retailers, bloggers and consumers
Supermarket News Share
The Farmer family in Dallas has made coupon blogging a family affair. Fifty-year-old mom Diane's blog, groceryshopforfree.com, has become so successful that two other members of her family are now running spinoffs. What's more, shoppers get her help for free. Farmer does not charge for access to the coupon database or anything else. She makes money from selling ad space to companies ranging from e-coupon providers like savingstar.com to manufacturers like Kellogg and Gevalia. To be sure, her site is not for extreme couponers. Rather, she teaches people how to realistically slash their store bills. More
Sprouts merging with Sunflower
Gourmet Retailer Share
Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market have agreed to merge a move that will bring together 139 stores and 10,000 employees under the Sprouts banner by the end of the year. Expected to be finalized during the second quarter of 2012, the merger of the Phoenix-based independent natural food store chains expands Sprouts' geographic footprint to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma with Sunflower's 35 stores and further extends its presence in California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Overall, the combined company which plans to open up to 13 new stores this year will be a prominent player in the Western U.S. grocery market, with projected 2012 annual revenues approaching $2 billion. More
BJ's offering sustainable seafood
Progressive Grocer Share
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is implementing a sustainable seafood policy that will ensure that all seafood products sold in its locations come from seafood suppliers known to be sustainable or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014. Together with such nonprofit organizations as Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the Westborough, Mass.-based company is moving to safeguard the ocean’s natural resources while still providing consumers high-quality fish and seafood. More
Online grocery shopping lets consumers avoid the checkout line
The Point of Sale News Share
Proving that no sector of the retail market is safe from the online shopping revolution, it is now possible for the humble hometown grocery store to become digitized and available on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Just think: no more long checkout lines, counting the number of items to see if you qualify for the Express Lane, forgetting your grocery list at home or carrying heavy bags up your front steps. Online grocery shopping is dramatically changing the consumer's relationship with the food market and making a service that may have once felt luxurious into an everyday convenience. More
Target remodels to boost fresh offerings
The Packer Share
Starting March 25, more than 100 remodeled Target general merchandise stores will devote about 10,000 square feet each to fresh foods, including produce. By the end of the year, another 230 will offer the new layout, the company announced March 8. About 900 stores of Minneapolis-based Target already offer it. More
Simple and easy ways to save on food
Seems as though every time you go grocery shopping that bill keeps on going up and up, but there are many ways you can save. One is using coupons and watching for items when they go on sale. Another is to stop paying for convenience. More
15 ways supermarkets trick you into spending more money
Business Insider Share
We'll start with the shopping cart. This 1938 invention was designed to let customers make larger purchases more easily. More
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., 15 March 2012.
DP #8, CONUS Promotion & Shipper Quantities and Update #1.
DP #11, WW Promotion Package, Fathers Day Bargains.
May Mix N Match Sale, Update #1.
Father's Day, Update #1.
Spring Club Pack May CONUS Quantities.
NOTICES TO TRADE
12-58, Can Fruit Category Review.
12-59, Ketchup & Mustard Category Review Live Test Set Date.
12-60, Cheese Category Review.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-11.
FDS Distributor Change Form for East, West-Midwest, dated 6 Mar 12.
FDS Distributor Codes, dated 6 Mar 12.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.
SAVE THE DATES
May 1, 2012: ALA and DeCA Appreciation Day Golf Tournament, Fort Lee, Va.
May 2 & 3, 2012: ALA and DeCA Roundtable, Marriott, Richmond, Va. Registration is available on website.
June 12, 2012: Congressional Caucus, Washington, D.C. (Date change)
August 20-23, 2012: Hawaii Conference & Food Show.
Army commander in South Korea bans alcohol sales after 9 pm
Stars and Stripes Share
Troops will no longer be able to buy alcohol after 9 p.m. at two Yongsan shoppettes under a new policy that went into effect March 15. The policy promotes the health and welfare of the military community and is meant to standardize the hours for alcohol sales for Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities in Area II, which covers the greater Seoul area, according to a statement issued March 12 by U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan commander Col. William Huber. More
Rise in retail sales points to healthy consumer
U.S. retail sales posted their largest gain in five months in February, with Americans feeling confident enough to buy more cars and other goods even as they paid more for gasoline. More
Mild winter boosts Dallas sales, but election anxiety looms
Women's Wear Daily Share
An exceptionally mild winter has given rise to strong spring business for local retailers, especially given the bright fashion palette that is particularly popular. (Subscription required.) More
Retailers add gadgets for shoppers at ease with technology
The New York Times Share
For a generation of shoppers raised on Google and e-commerce, the answer to "Can I help you?" is increasingly a firm "no," even at retailers like Nordstrom that have built their reputations around customer service. But instead of getting defensive, some stores and brands are embracing the change by creating new personal touches that feature gadgets rather than a doting sales staff. More
Small businesses lag on sustainability: What to do about it
Small Business Trends Share
All the recent headlines about corporate sustainability initiatives are encouraging: Fortune 500 companies are embracing environmental sustainability like never before, investing millions of dollars in greener operations and making sustainability a key part of their business strategy. Great news. But when you look at the landscape of small businesses across the country, sustainability isn't nearly as prevalent as it seems in the corporate world. More
Stores smarten up amid spam flood
The Wall Street Journal Share
Retailers have started to wear out their welcome in customers' email inboxes, forcing stores to rethink their spam strategies. Last year, the nation's top 100 retailers by e-commerce revenue sent recipients an average of 177 emails apiece, up 87 percent from 2007, according to research by marketing-technology company Responsys Inc. Some of the most aggressive emailers — including Neiman Marcus Group Inc. — sent each recipient more than 500 emails a piece in 2011, said Responsys. More
IDC raises 2012 forecast for tablets, thanks to demand from iPad, competition from Kindle
The Associated Press via The Washington Post Share
Thanks to strong demand for Apple's iPad and competing devices such as Amazon's Kindle Fire, worldwide shipments of tablet computers are likely to grow faster than expected this year, according to a newly revised forecast from a leading market-research group. More
Facebook touts success in revamped pages for brands
Facebook's efforts to make its social network a friendlier place for businesses and popular brands are off to a strong start, the company said. Eight million brands, from carmakers to rock bands, switched to Facebook's new Web page format 10 days after the revamped pages were introduced at a splashy launch event in New York last month, according to Facebook. More
Gen Y shoppers want to share, boomers to save
MarketingDaily via MediaPost News Share
No matter how old a person is, getting a great deal on a good product is nice. But a new survey from Brodeur Partners finds that when Gen Y goes shopping, it is expecting an entirely different experience than are Baby Boomers. More
Consumers: Gas prices must come down
USA Today Share
An overwhelming number of consumers — 85 percent — say President Barack Obama and Congress should take "immediate" action to keep a lid on prices. After nearly four weeks of daily price increases, regular gasoline averages $3.76 a gallon nationwide. More
More self-checkout lanes coming to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club
Fox Business Share
In an effort to lower costs and prices, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club plan to add more self-checkout lanes. More self-checkout lanes indicate less need for cashiers, saving Wal-Mart millions of dollars. Wal-Mart experienced only a slight increase in fourth-quarter profit, but did not reach expectations. More
American Eagle expects margins to improve
Teen clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc said the spring quarter started on a strong note and its margins will benefit from lower markdowns and costs as the year progresses, sending its shares up 5 percent. More
Pepsi counts on 'Next' to lure back lost drinkers
PepsiCo Inc is rolling out the "Next" version of its flagship cola brand in the United States later this month in an effort to court drinkers who have given up on cola, as it seeks to win back lost share in a shrinking market. More
What Siri means for the future of mobile shopping
Even while Siri is in the hands of relatively few consumers, Apple's digital assistant looks to have serious potential to change how people use their smartphones, mostly by streamlining the fast-growing smartphone shopping experience both in, near and out of stores. More
Exchange shoppers get satisfaction
F. E. Warren Air Force Base Share
At 116 years of age, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service may not have "moves like Jagger," but its shoppers are getting plenty of satisfaction according to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. The ACSI was developed to provide information on satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to consumers. In the latest survey, the Exchange scored higher than ever before as its operations equaled the industry of excellence. More
NEXs accept manufacturers' coupons
Customers know they can save money every day by shopping their Navy Exchange. In addition to the average 23 percent savings and no sales tax, customers can also save money by using manufacturers' cents off coupons on their NEX purchases. More
Installation Management Command to welcome new Command Sgt. Major
U.S. Army Share
Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice will join the U.S. Army Installation Management Command as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer Friday, March 9, in a ceremony at Fort Sam Houston. Rice has served the Army since 1981, most recently as command sergeant major for XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He will be assuming responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, who has served as the interim command sergeant major for IMCOM since November 2011. Felt will continue to serve as command sergeant major for the IMCOM Central region. More
White House pays tribute to Iraq War veterans, families
U.S. Army Share
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a White House tribute to Iraq War veterans and their families on Feb. 29, to honor them for their service, sacrifice and commitment to nation. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with senior officials from all branches of service joined the president and the first lady at an event dubbed "A Nation's Gratitude: Honoring Those Who Served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn." More
Crossflow officers reflect on their experiences
Newsroom America Share
Three officers who crossflowed into undermanned career fields last year reflect on the challenges and successes they have experienced so far, and offer some insight for those considering it this year. The nonrated line officer crossflow program was implemented to help balance the force. While officers have always been able to crossflow into other career fields, last year the Air Force formalized the procedure, and 73 officers crossflowed into such fields as intelligence and public affairs. This year, volunteers from overmanned fields can apply for the program through March 16. More
NY Bass Chapter Federation to host Take A Soldier Fishing April 28
Fishing World Share
The NY BASS Chapter Federation will host their fourth annual Take a Soldier Fishing event on Oneida Lake in Brewerton launching out of Oneida Shores Park on April 28. The event pairs two soldiers with a volunteer boater for a day's free fishing on the lake. Boaters provide their assigned Soldiers a rod and reel, tackle and life vest for the day. The group fishes from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for anything that bites and they're allowed to weigh-in one fish for a big fish prize in 1 of 5 categories, Drum/Sheephead, Common Carp, Bowfin, Rock Bass/ Perch and White Bass. More