Yesterday, the governor of Puerto Rico announced that his government’s $72 billion of debts are not payable, in advance of $1.92 billion in debt service payments due on Wednesday. This announcement follows over a year...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Sequester 101: Beware the Washington Monument Ploy
Sequester 101: Beware the Washington Monument Ploy
As the sequester looms this Friday, you can bet that politicians will tell aggrandized stories of how federal agencies will be forced to cut the most sympathetic programs you could possibly imagine. Don’t fall for it though; this is a political game that has been used for ages called the Washington Monument Ploy. It got its name from a 1969 episode where the director of the National Parks Department closed the Washington Monument and the Grand Canyon for two days every week to deal with budget cuts. These are obviously the most visible, popular landmarks the parks department operates, and so complaints rolled in and the funding was reinstated.
Here are some Washington Monument doozies from around the country:
Zoo May Close, Euthanize Animals: In 2009, a Boston Zoo claimed it would have to euthanize 20% of their animals if their budget was cut.
Zakim Memorial Bridge Turns Off Lights: The Massachusetts Transit Authority opted to turn off the lights that adorn the scenic Zakim Bridge, a famous part of the Boston skyline, to save a just $60,000 per year. Onlookers noted that the agency could save over $60,000 by laying off just one toll-taker.
Toilet-Paper Shortage: The Detroit school system claimed in 2009 that budget cuts had forced them to beg parents to send their children into school with toilet paper, because they did not have the funds to provide it.
I think Nicole Kaeding at Americans for Prosperity put it best this morning on a phone call. “If you make $50,000 a year ($137 a day), the sequester is like you deciding to cut $3.40 a day from your budget. That’s it. Too bad the President is asking us to choose between not paying rent or cutting the electricity, instead of cutting out a cup of Starbucks.”
More on the Fiscal Cliff deal that got us where we are today here.
Follow Scott Drenkard on Twitter @ScottDrenkard.
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
We will never sell or share your information with third parties.
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.