It is not hard to imagine how this marked decrease in federal spending might ripple through the regional economy. Scant job growth will mean lower wages, meaning slower consumer spending, meaning less demand for new bars and clubs and stores and luxury apartments. But just how deeply this will affect the economy is unclear. It’s possible that federal budgets might never get cut outright, with Congress instead slowing the path of spending growth. That might mean slower growth for Washington, but hardly a contraction or a regional recession of the kind that plagued Detroit after the auto industry shrank. And even if the sequester cuts are more drastic, it might take years before the local economy feels them. “People are saying, ‘We’re going to lose a million jobs here,’ ” says Gordon Adams, a professor of international relations at American University. “That’s not going to happen, and it’s not going to happen because contractors are working on existing contracts financed with prior-year dollars. We’re going to be working through this for some time, and there’s going to be a very slow roll to actual projects. The implications aren’t for current work, but the next round of work.”
1986: Michael Horsley; Now: Michael Horsley for The New York TimesThe corner of N Street and 15th Street, NW Washington.
Remember: The future will be like the past, only different!
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