BLS and Sequester
David R. Kotok
June 27, 2013
On March 1, 2013, President Obama ordered into effect the across-the-board spending cuts (commonly referred to as sequestration) required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended. Under the order, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million, 5 percent of the current 2013 appropriation, by September 30, 2013. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs, including Mass Layoff Statistics, and all “measuring green jobs” products. This news release is the final publication of monthly mass layoff survey data.
– Source: press release of Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 21, 2013
The above is an official admission of yet another impact of the sequester: we are going to see a diminishing degree of reliability in our statistics. We thank Talley Leger for his note on this.
In addition, there is an attack being mounted against funding the statistical agencies. Eleven Republican congressmen have cosponsored a bill to eliminate the counting of nearly everything but the required census.
Now imagine a world where there are no independent or impartial statistical agencies. And imagine a world where there is no clear method of collecting data, transparently presented, so that policy can be debated based on reliable information.
Imagine a world where we do not know the unemployment rate. Or where we do not follow data that all of us currently rely upon in our everyday lives. As it is, data may have errors and may need corrections and revisions, but it serves a purpose, and that purpose impacts the lives of 350 million people who live and work and play and grow while they reside in our nation.
Here is a single example of a critical function that is carried on in our government every day. Whether we measure employment or practice landing on aircraft carriers, our nation is being set back by this ongoing budget sequester.
Just because we do not see every impact that sequester deals us in our daily lives, doesn’t mean we are not being hurt.
Happy pre-July 4th weekend
David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer