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?: