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2013 Sequestration: Cuts to the U.S. Federal Budget and U.S. Government Finance
In the United States federal budget, the sequester or sequestration refers to across the board reductions to the planned increases in federal spending that have begun to take effect on March 1, 2013. The cuts were enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and initially set to go into effect on January 1, but that date was moved to March 1 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, enacted on January 2, 2013. Cuts of approximately $85.4 billion during fiscal year 2013 began to take effect on March 1, 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the sequester would reduce 2013 economic growth by about 0.6 percentage points (from 2.0% to 1.4%) and affect the creation or retention of about 750,000 jobs by year-end. The cuts are split evenly (by dollar amounts) between the defense and non-defense categories. Some major programs like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay (including military pay and pensions) and veterans' benefits are exempt. Medicare spending will be reduced by 2% per year versus the planned levels. Over the 2013--2021 period, the sequester would reduce planned spending by $1.0 trillion with interest savings of approximately $170 billion, for a total of nearly $1.2 trillion in debt reduction or avoidance. The blunt nature of the cuts has been criticized, with some favoring more tailored cuts and others arguing for postponement while the economy improves. CBO reported in February 2012 that: "In the absence of sequestration, CBO estimates, GDP growth would be about 0.6 percentage points faster during [the 2013] calendar year, and the equivalent of about 750,000 more full-time jobs would be created or retained by the fourth quarter." "CBO projects that sequestration will reduce the deficit by $42 billion in fiscal year 2013 and that this year's sequestration and automatic spending reductions next year will reduce the deficit by $89 billion in fiscal year 2014." [R]educing the amount of fiscal tightening this year [2013] would strengthen the economy in the short term, [but] the resulting increase in federal borrowing would weaken the economy in the longer term unless other changes in spending or tax policy were made to offset that additional borrowing."[2] CBO explained further why it expects the sequestration to reduce outlays by $42 billion in fiscal year 2013, although the the automatic budget cuts total $85 billion: "The $85 billion represents the reduction in budgetary resources available to government agencies this year as a result of the sequestration. But not all of that money would have been spent in this fiscal year in the absence of the sequestration: Some would have been used to enter into contracts to buy goods or services to be provided and paid for next year or in subsequent years. Acquiring major weapons systems and completing large construction projects, for example, can take several years. The $42 billion figure is CBO's estimate of the reduction in cash disbursements in fiscal year 2013; much of the remaining outlay reductions from the 2013 sequestration will occur in fiscal year 2014, though some will occur later."[2] Economist Paul Krugman reported one estimate that implementation of the sequester could cost 700,000 jobs.[11][12] The International Monetary Fund plans to lower its 2013 GDP growth forecast for the U.S. from 2.0% to 1.5% if the sequester is implemented.[13] Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke testified in February 2013 that the Federal government should replace the sequester with smaller cuts today and larger cuts in the future, due to concerns the sequester would slow the economy.[14] He reminded lawmakers of the CBO's guidance that recent austerity measures were projected to reduce economic growth by up to 1.5 percentage points in 2013 (relative to what it would have been otherwise), of which 0.6 percentage points related to the sequester. Bernanke stated that the long-run fiscal issues mainly related to an aging population and healthcare costs. He wrote: "To address both the near- and longer-term [fiscal] issues, the Congress and the Administration should consider replacing the sharp, front-loaded spending cuts required by the sequestration with policies that reduce the federal deficit more gradually in the near term but more substantially in the longer run. Such an approach could lessen the near-term fiscal headwinds facing the recovery while more effectively addressing the longer-term imbalances in the federal budget."[15] Bernanke also explained that although current laws would stabilize the debt to GDP ratio at around 75%, the ratio averaged less than 40% from 1960 to the onset of the crisis in 2008: "This relatively low level of debt provided the nation much-needed flexibility to meet the economic challenges of the past few years. Replenishing this fiscal capacity will give future Congresses and Administrations greater scope to deal with unforeseen events." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Sequestration
Views: 7751 Political History
Words at War: Eighty-Three Days: The Survival Of Seaman Izzi / Paris Underground / Shortcut to Tokyo
The French Résistance has had a great influence on literature, particularly in France. A famous example is the poem "Strophes pour se souvenir", which was written by the communist academic Louis Aragon in 1955 to commemorate the heroism of the Manouchian Group, whose 23 members were shot by the Nazis. The Résistance is also portrayed in Jean Renoir's wartime This Land is Mine (1943), which was produced in the USA. In the immediate post-war years, French cinema produced a number of films that portrayed a France broadly present in the Résistance.[188][189] The 1946 La Bataille du rail depicted the courageous efforts of French railway workers to sabotage German reinforcement trains,[190] and in the same year Le Père tranquille told the story of a quiet insurance agent secretly involved in the bombing of a factory.[190] Collaborators were hatefully presented as a rare minority, as played by Pierre Brewer in Jéricho (1946) or Serge Reggiani in Les Portes de la nuit (1946), and movements such as the Milice were rarely evoked. In the 1950s, a less heroic interpretation of the Résistance to the occupation gradually began to emerge.[190] In Claude Autant-Lara's La Traversée de Paris (1956), the portrayal of the city's black market and general mediocrity revealed the reality of war-profiteering during the occupation.[191] In the same year, Robert Bresson presented A Man Escaped, in which an imprisoned Résistance activist works with a reformed collaborator inmate to escape.[192] A cautious reappearance of the image of Vichy emerged in Le Passage du Rhin (1960), in which a crowd successively acclaim both Pétain and de Gaulle.[193] After General de Gaulle's return to power in 1958, the portrayal of the Résistance returned to its earlier résistancialisme. In this manner, in Is Paris Burning? (1966), "the role of the resistant was revalued according to [de Gaulle's] political trajectory".[194] The comic form of films such as La Grande Vadrouille (1966) widened the image of Résistance heroes to average Frenchmen.[195] The most famous and critically acclaimed of all the résistancialisme movies is Army of Shadows (L'Armee des ombres), which was made by the French film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969. The film was inspired by Joseph Kessel's 1943 book, as well as Melville's own experiences, as he had fought in the Résistance and participated in Operation Dragoon. A 1995 television screening of L'Armee des ombres described it as "the best film made about the fighters of the shadows, those anti-heroes."[196] The shattering of France's résistancialisme following the events of May 1968 emerged particularly clearly in French cinema. The candid approach of the 1971 documentary The Sorrow and the Pity pointed the finger on anti-Semitism in France and disputed the official Résistance ideals.[197][198] Time magazine's positive review of the film wrote that director Marcel Ophüls "tries to puncture the bourgeois myth—or protectively askew memory—that allows France generally to act as if hardly any Frenchmen collaborated with the Germans."[199] Franck Cassenti, with L'Affiche Rouge (1976); Gilson, with La Brigade (1975); and Mosco with the documentary Des terroristes à la retraite addressed foreign resisters of the EGO, who were then relatively unknown. In 1974, Louis Malle's Lacombe, Lucien caused scandal and polemic because of his absence of moral judgment with regard to the behavior of a collaborator.[200] Malle later portrayed the resistance of Catholic priests who protected Jewish children in his 1987 film Au revoir, les enfants. François Truffaut's 1980 film Le Dernier Métro was set during the German occupation of Paris and won ten Césars for its story of a theatre production taking place while its Jewish director is concealed by his wife in the theatre's basement.[201] The 1980s began to portray the resistance of working women, as in Blanche et Marie (1984).[202] Later, Jacques Audiard's Un héros très discret (1996) told the story of a young man's traveling to Paris and manufacturing a Résistance past for himself, suggesting that many heroes of the Résistance were imposters.[203][204] In 1997, Claude Berri produced the biopic Lucie Aubrac based on the life of the Résistance heroine of the same name, which was criticized for its Gaullist portrayal of the Résistance and over-emphasis on the relationship between Aubrac and her husband.[205] In the 2011 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, in which a hypothetical World War III is depicted, a French resistance movement is formed to act against Russian occupation. The playable characters of many factions in-game receive assistance from this Resistance . This is in line with previous, World War II-based Call of Duty games, which often featured involvement with the Resistance of that era. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Resistance
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