WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sequester, officially defined as a noun meaning a general cut in government spending.
But we like to think of it as another word for politicians playing with people’s lives and livelihoods.
Unless someone sprinkles magic dust over Capitol Hill in the next few days, the plan that was never meant to be a reality will end up being just that. No, it won’t be the end of the world as we know it, but it has the potential to be ugly and nasty. That’s because federal agencies will have to cut $85 billion from their discretionary budgets by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. That means an 8.2% across-the-board cut for everyone but the Pentagon which will see a 9.2% hit.
Among the first to feel the pain will be people without jobs. They’ll see a 9.4% reduction in their unemployment benefits.
Uncle Sam will take a bite out of that apple for the teacher when the sequester cuts 9.1% in education funding. Some estimates say as many as 15,000 special education teachers could lose their jobs.
You can expect delays at the airport if 47,000 federal aviation employees stay home. Fewer air traffic controllers could mean more flight delays.
Meals on Wheels will be among the social services to feel the cuts. Here in Texas, Friday’s sequester will cut $3,557,000 from the program’s budget, meaning some of Houston’s senior citizens who depend on those regular visits for food and companionship will be SOL, seniors out of luck.
The President and members of congress don’t have to worry about their next meal, but maybe they should think about the people who do.