Shrugging off sequestration as a minor 2.4% federal budget cut that plays itself out gradually? A few riders on the 595 bus to Reston, Va., feel differently, knowing Northern Virginia and the Washington metro area will suffer most from the $85 billion in cuts, the New York Times reports. The Defense Department has been told to furlough 90,000 civilian workers in the state, trimming their annual salaries by 20%. "No more movies, no more out-to-dinners, no more fun," says a Defense employee waiting for the bus. "It’s just pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, no more frills."
Not many Americans will cry a river over these wealthy, suburban counties, which suck at the federal teat and had low unemployment during the recession. But much of that money went to contractors engaged in the war on terror, while federal workers—younger ones especially—got by on middle-class paychecks. Now economists are predicting an area downturn, and 595 riders are worrying about things like child care and finding part-time work. "I’m talking the restaurant business, a server, a food runner, anything," says an Army PR guy. "If you know something, let me know."