Posts tagged chainsaw
Posts tagged chainsaw
The federal government enters a controversial new phase of deficit cutting Friday, as an automatic trigger begins slicing budgets in some areas while leaving programs such as Medicare and Medicaid—among the largest drivers of future debt—largely untouched.
The $85 billion in so-called sequester cuts push Washington, and the nation’s economy, into uncertain waters. The debate over the across-the-board reductions has added to the already-high level of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans on fiscal matters, lowered even further the public’s estimation of the capital’s leaders and raised consumer fears about the economy, according to polls.
In the eyes of many budget experts, though, it is doing something worse: By focusing on a proportionally small level of spending, the sequester fight is distracting attention from longer-term deficit issues that need to be addressed.
Even cuts that have some bipartisan support, such as limiting the growth of future Social Security benefits or ending farm subsidies, have been shelved amid the brinkmanship.
“If they could get this fixed, the economy is poised to take off,” Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said in an interview.
President Barack Obama is meeting Friday with congressional leaders to discuss the sequester. If, as expected, they find no way to avoid it, Mr. Obama will sign an order directing government agencies to begin implementing the cuts.
Amanda Jones, a real estate agent from San Francisco, toured her house one day last month and counted the number of people she was paying to take care of her. There were seven.
April, the dog walker, was in the kitchen picking up Speedy and Willis – Jones’s miniature dachshunds — for their $35 walk. Up in the master bedroom, Christina, Jones’s $50 an hour closet organizer was strategizing with Jackie, her $200 an hour personal stylist, about what to buy at the Container Store (Jackie’s assistant was there, too, built into the hourly rate).
Meanwhile, two men were installing new windows in Jones’s bedroom, but she hadn’t hired them herself — she hired someone else to hire them. They came with rave reviews from Carrie Starner Keenan, a lifestyle management concierge who coordinates home contracting projects, plans events and secures the most elusive reservations at the best vineyards in wine country for $75 an hour.
“I turned to my assistant and said, ‘It takes a village,’” recalls Jones, who has a separate personal assistant to take care of work-specific matters.
“It’s kind of crazy but I feel like I need these things because I’m not going to sew a button on a shirt, and I’m not going to spend a weekend organizing my closet.”
People like Jones, with little time and plenty of money, have seen their options increase of late when it comes to personal providers, otherwise known as concierges. The line of work once specific to the hotel industry is now offering hyper-individualized services in industries ranging from home contracting and fitness to pets and pregnancy.