Sequester is Just Like Sophie's Choice, But With Cheetahs!


courtesy National Zoo

In the next 48 hours to 72 hours (and beyond), get ready for sequestration horror stories about the monstrous depredations that will occur to the birds, the bees, and all God's chilluns with and without wings should the federal government go through with its unholy plan— agreed to by Dems, Reps, and the president himself back in August 2011—to whack an entire 1 percent to 2 percent of planned spending out of the fiscal 2013 budget.

Here's an example from the Wash Post about the terrible choices facing one of the core functions of government, the National Zoo, where the director Dennis Kelly explains that his crew is already "to the bone" and sequestration-related cuts may mean that "the planned acquisition of cheetahs for the research facility in Front Royal" won't happen as scheduled. Worse still, he might have to shutter whole "modules" at the zoo.

"Please don't make me chose among my children!" pleads Kelly, declining to speculate on which exhibit would be most at risk. "Those collections are big and stable and took years to build. If, God forbid, we have to shut down lions and tigers, it would take more than a year to find homes for them. And then if the money was found, it would probably take three years to start it up again."

courtesy National Zoo

Notice that they never threaten to shut down, I don't know, the Invertebrate Exhibit (which is already redundant given the fact of Congress).

But just to drive home the point of how unconscionable any cuts to any government program anywhere is, the Post story includes the requisite announcement by a selfless public-sector worker that, hey, they're not doing any of this because they get paid. They're doing it because it's their calling! Says one dedicated keeper:

"It's become kind of a lifestyle," she said. "We do it because we love the animals."

And yet like most labors of love, the only way that taxpayers can truly show their appreciation is by continuing funding at current or increased levels. It's a confusing message and one that is routinely trotted out like a, I don't know, a lion or tiger or cheetah exhibit that just might have to be cut if anyone dare lay a finger on a budget line anywhere. (Hat tip: New Yorl mag)

Take it away, Chris Elliott, who answers the musical question, who sings for the lonely wildebeests?:

NEXT: Foul Play Ruled Out in Egypt Balloon Crash

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  1. I already knew Reason hated women and children, but now animals too???

    1. Feed the children and ugly women to the animals, problem solved 🙂

  2. Their are at least 3 zoos within 25 miles of where I live, as far as I’m aware, all privately funded. Why should the National Zoo be any different?

    1. One word: PANDAS!

      1. Given the current market for ammunition, it will cost us $0.75 per panda to give them the treatment they deserve.

  3. Amazing. Absolutely amazing that anyone who qualifies as Homo sapiens sapiens would fall for this crap yet again. Governments–at all levels–threaten popular programs when budget cuts are pushed for. Just about every single time.

    It really is that National Lampoon cover writ large.

    1. Political scientists (even leftish ones) call this the ‘Washington Monument Strategy’. It’s a real Poli Sci phenomenon (I have a couple of friends in the field). Even sympathetic ones view this strategy with a modicum of cynicism.

      1. I think I’ve heard of that. It’s definitely screwed up. Why we tolerate being lied to and deceived like this is beyond me.

        1. Why we tolerate being lied to and deceived like this is beyond me.

          What then, would the status quo have to talk about?

        2. it ties into the pathology of Team. Right now, Blue is leading the outcry over the horribles that sequester will bring. And its acolytes dutifully fall in line.

          1. It’s so insane. If my mother lied to me like this, I wouldn’t tolerate it.

            1. Dishonesty is the new honesty.

              Seriously, the mendacity is so pervasive in DC, that’s it’s just background noise now. You can’t tell what few honest statements there are from the tsunami of lies that constantly emanates from the city.

              1. The last people we should allow to lie to us are the people with power over us. I don’t care if it’s a libertarian president, I’m not just ignoring lies and other dishonest behavior.

                It’s like one of my sleazier friends used to say about dating: If you have standards, lower them.

    2. If these managers say they can’t cut a couple of percent from their budgets, then they’re pretty much admitting they’re too incompetent to hold their jobs.

  4. As I mentioned a few days ago, I was forced to witness as NBC News mindlessly parroted the sequester-as-economic-Hiroshima talking points. (Only Chuck Todd came ever so close to critical analysis of the claims.)

    Is this statism or is this laziness on the part of journalists, I ask you?

    1. It’s fascism.

    2. laziness ended long ago. Today, journos are in full activist mode pushing Blue talking points.

      1. But doing it lazily. It’s not either-or.

  5. hey, they’re not doing any of this because they get paid. They’re doing it because it’s their calling!

    Then they’ll be happy to forgo their paychecks until the budget is balanced.

  6. Does the article mention the amount of the brutally severe smaller increase in money the National Zoo will have to deal with?

    1. They aren’t even clever in their evil ways. What they should do is say that they aren’t getting enough money to keep all of the animals caged and may have to free some in their community.

  7. These fuckers will publicly garrote the giant pandas and put the video up on the Nickolodian website if they think is what it takes to steal more money.

    1. Well, perhaps secretly killing one and claiming it died because the zoo’s medical funding was cut.

    2. I bet they could get those numbers up with some tastefully arranged cock fights.

  8. Chuck Todd just interviewed a physicist congresscritter that explained why cutting the budget was unscientific.

    1. Using “science” the way the Soviets did. Lovely.

  9. “We do it because we love the animals.”

    So she will continue to come to work, regardless of cuts? The nobility of the federal zookeeper is an inspiration to us all.

  10. Budget Science is all about inertia. It’s unstoppable.

    1. Just like in pro wrasslin’!

  11. Dennis Kelly explains that his crew is already “to the bone” and sequestration-related cuts may mean that “the planned acquisition of cheetahs for the research facility in Front Royal” won’t happen as scheduled.

    So, they’re at the point where they aren’t even whining about cuts, but are actually openly feeling entitled to more spending. If his staff is “already to the bone”, how the hell is a new program going to be managed?

    1. Yeah, because no one anywhere else is doing any research on Cheetahs.

      1. Washington has enough cheetahs already.

    2. Get sponsored by Cheetos.

      Problem solved.

  12. Thanks Nick for including the lovely and talented Chris Elliott and his ridiculous Get a Life. One of my all time favorite anythings. In honor of the good mood and silliness I’m feeling, I am not going to look at H&R for the rest of the day. No, today is going to be more of a Chris Elliott retrospective. Think I’ll start with Handsome Boy Modeling School…

    1. Some great moments on that show, from the submarine to the Star Trek “Fightin’ Song” (used before it was in The Cable Guy). And, of course, he was the Guy Under the Seats.

  13. How much could they augment their budget if they auctioned off hunting licenses?

    1. I still don’t get why we don’t legally claim the Moon, then sell it off in parcels. No, better yet, leases. I mean, we have taken possession of it and could return fairly quickly if we wanted to re-establish our possession of it. Once we kick the Nazis off, anyway.

  14. I eagerly await the day the National Park Service puts big “CLOSED” decals on the I-90 signs for Yellowstone.

    1. That is too far away. These people are too narrowminded for that. They are going to go for the Smithsonian and the National Mall.

      1. It is friggin’ far. I went when I lived in Minnesota (drove over, which was great) and have wanted to go back with the family, but it’s a long-ass drive, and flying and renting a car for a large family is pretty expensive. We’ll do it one of these days.

        It is possible, of course, to run these sorts of things privately. Grandfather Mountain in NC was private for a long time.

      2. I’ve long wondered how much more money the Smithsonian could raise if they charged $1 per head for admission. How many hundreds of millions of visitors do they get every year? Maybe they could stop whining about how poor they are for a couple of days.

        Hell, at least Udvar-Hazy charges 12 bucks for parking.

        1. The fucked up thing is that even if they did that, they couldn’t keep the money. A lot of national parks charge fees for various things. But Congress has said that money must go into the general revenue and can’t be kept by the parks.

          The park service isn’t allowed to get in the way of the all important Congressional prerogative of stealing.

          1. It wouldn’t matter how much they charged. It would be the governments money, which means they would magically make it disappear right along with the other trillions.

  15. We could lease the moon to entrepreneurs, let them develop it into a thriving hive of successful economic activity, and then take it over and begin sucking the life out of it when the lease expires.

    It worked in Hong Kong.

  16. If my mother lied to me like this, I wouldn’t tolerate it.

    *Pro Libertate peers into drawer*

    “Hey, is that my gerbil?”

    1. I think my mother thought about offing my lab rat, which I had in my Psych. 2 class in high school, because she (the rat) liked to run on her wheel all. . .night. . .long. The rat won Mom over, though, when I demonstrated the rat’s high-jumping skills. Me and my lab partner won the rat Olympics when our rat jumped 28 inches straight up. Still amazes me.

      What’s even stranger is that one of my classmates begged me to give him the rat, which I think he wanted to breed with other rats to create a race of super-jumping rats. I gave him the rat, which hasn’t disturbed me until this very moment, nearly thirty years later.

      1. 30 years old is the minimum age to serve in the Senate, isn’t it?

        1. That’s correct. You don’t think my rat is in the Senate, do you? Her name was Vanilla. Any Vanillas in the Senate?

          1. Any Vanillas in the Senate?

            I detect racism in that statement.

            1. Look, the original name of the rat was Abdul Sheit, but my teacher looked at me and shook her head. So my abundantly female rat partner got to use her name for the white rat.

              1. abundantly female rat partner

                causes conflicting parade of mental images…

                1. She disturbed me, let me put it that way.

        2. 30 years old is the minimum age to serve in the Senate, isn’t it?

          That number should at least serve as the minimum IQ, but that would mean special elections for 90+% of all seats as soon as it was enacted.

      2. I bet the poor children living in the ghetto will be super excited to learn that their homes have now been infested with super high jumping rats. Waaahaahhhh, mommy!, there’s a rat on my head!

        Why do you hate the childins?

  17. how much more money the Smithsonian could raise if they charged $1 per head for admission.

    Why do you hate poor children?

    Why do you want to squelch their innocent, wide eyed curiosity, you monster?

  18. The zoo can quietly and unobtrusively balance its books by making some informal arrangements with local restaurants. Soon, various exotic dishes would appear on the menu.

    1. “Will you be having the Endangered Species Kabob, or the Panda Sirloin?”

  19. I think all of Gillespie’s posts should be introduced with his theme music.

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