Sequestration is not affecting the region as predicted, but the future remains uncertain

SEQUESTRATION | So far, the government’s budget cuts haven’t harmed our region in the way that local economists had predicted. As George Mason University’s Dr. Stephen Fuller puts it, “The surprise is that the economy is as good as it is…We’ve done better than I expected.”

The softened blow seems attributable to preparation from contractors and agencies who anticipated the cuts. That said, Fuller and others predict that next year will be worse and that the long-term effects of sequestration will include a decline in the quality of jobs in our region. (WaPo, 5/30)

– Somewhat related to the above story, City Paper’s Aaron Wiener has a great piece that compares the perception about the region’s reliance on the federal government with the reality that our strength comes from many areas. (CP, 5/30)

– Much has been said about the revitalization of Anacostia. But Greater Greater Washington’s John Muller finds that the real picture isn’t so rosy yet. (GGW, 5/29)

YOUTH | Editorial: The Post’s editorial board calls on the District to improve its mental health services for the city’s youth. The Children’s Law Center finds that at least 5,000 District youth aren’t receiving needed mental health care. (WaPo, 5/30)

Related: Tamara shared this article from last year written by Paul Gionfriddo, a former Connecticut state legislator whose son suffers from schizophrenia. He reflected on how legislative changes that he pursued actually worsened his son’s life.

From Tamara: “I knew Paul Gionfriddo during my days at Voices for America’s Children. As a child advocate, a former state legislator, and a parent of a child with a mental illness, he presents a chilling example of how society is failing those with mental illnesses.”

– A recent article from The Atlantic assesses data on the socioeconomic breakdown within the country’s colleges and arrives at a very sharp point: “If you think higher education should be a ladder for upward mobility, then you should regard these numbers as a disgrace.”

While community colleges have a relatively even economic diversity, the numbers show a consistent increase in wealthy students as the quality of the school rises. (Atlantic, 5/24)

Related: WRAG is hosting an event featuring our region’s community college presidents on June 12th. WRAG members can register here.

– At a forum this week, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker talked about his goals for the county’s schools – and the controversy surrounding his methods. (WaPo, 5/29)

OSSE releases more school data on students’ neighborhoods (GGE, 5/30)

PHILANTHROPY | The D5 Coalition is an alignment of 18 infrastructure organizations that are working to make the philanthropic sector more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. The group’s 2013 annual report looks at a number of case studies where foundations have implemented innovative strategies to accomplish this goal. (D5, May 2013)

HOUSING/WORKFORCE | Opinion: Terri Ludwig, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, writes that a federal increase to the minimum wage is “sound housing policy.” (HuffPo, 5/29)

COMMUNITY | Congratulations to Nicolette Highsmith Vernick of The Horizon Foundation on her election to the board of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers!

HEALTH | Since half of our region seems to have a cold, this seems relevant as we crank up the AC: Does being cold make you more susceptible to catching cold? (io9, 5/29)

I have no idea what planet (or dimension) Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton came from, but he sure is an unusual guy. So I don’t know why this news about him surprises me. But it still kind of does!

On another note, I found myself chuckling after a scene from the first Austin Powers movie popped into my head. As Dr. Evil is minutes away from global destruction, Austin Powers races to save the day, but is interrupted by this brilliantly absurd situation.