Today is the day — barring some miraculous, last minute complete personality shifts by everyone in the White House and Congress — mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts will begin for pretty much everything that the federal government funds.
I’m fairly certain the “sequester”, as it is called, will occur because our elected officials have been so busy posturing and trying to look tough, their chests are too puffed out to see the cluster fuck right in front of them that will affect us all. Well, except them. I’m betting that the folks in Washington D.C. that came up with this idiocy and then did nothing to prevent it aren’t going to feel the pinch. Federal employees will be forced to take furlough — as much a day a week — which means their pay will be cut accordingly. That will affect millions of workers. Of course, a 20% pay cut is way better than losing your job completely. But their decrease in take-home pay will affect businesses because they won’t spend as much. Which will mean layoffs in all sorts of places. This doesn’t take into account all the federally-funded programs that will suddenly have less money. Some of these are, undoubtedly, bloated and should be cut. But what about those that are just making do with what they have now?
So what does this have to do with independent authors? For indies, the sequestration is both good and bad. Those of us that very likely will end up unemployed as a result of this madness will have all kinds of time to write. Of course, no one will have any discretionary money to buy books; they will have to prioritize and spend on stuff like, you know, food. So eventually there will be a glut of books (good) but no one to buy them (bad). Or, another way to look at it is there will be more people with a lot of free time — when they aren’t looking for work or standing in the unemployment line — to read (good). Unless there are no unemployment benefits because that has been cut (bad). The only entity I see benefiting is the Kindle Select Program. Everyone will want free books, right?