There’s a lot of info around the ‘net about the nuts and bolts effects of the looming “Sequester,” a deal struck by Congress during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations about the US debt limit back in 2011. In it, Congress agreed to $85 billion worth of across-the-board spending cuts that will kick in automatically without Congressional resolution. Well, there has been no resolution, the Republican Party seems to actually be welcoming the cuts as a step in the right direction towards reducing the size of government. President Obama has said they will not be apocalyptic, but they will hurt a lot of people. He called them “dumb.” No doubt the public’s approval of Congress will drop even further.
The White House has estimated broadly what some of the cuts will be by state, and the Washington Post has further broken those numbers down according to categories such as Teachers and Schools, Head Start, Military Readiness, Law Enforcement, Child Care, Vaccines, etc. cross-referenced by State.
Some of the most dramatic effects will not take place right away. Instead they will roll out gradually over the next few months. The New York Times paints the picture well. At some point before 11:59PM Friday, President Obama will give official notification that sequestration is in effect:
At that moment, somewhere in the bowels of the Treasury Department, officials will take offline the computers that process payments for school construction and clean energy bonds to reprogram them for reduced rates. Payments will be delayed while they are made manually for the next six weeks.
Hours later, employees at the Environmental Protection Agency will open e-mails notifying them of the bad news: a forced furlough of up to 13 days in the weeks ahead.
And over at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, officials will spend the weekend mailing out letters to governors in all 50 states showing how much their grants will be reduced in the coming days and weeks.
It’s not a pretty picture. Speaking of pictures, ProPublica has a great round up of sequester-related infographics.
Here in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Inquirer has gotten even more specific:
About 17,000 Pennsylvania women and children stand to lose federal WIC benefits, which pay for milk, bread, cheese, and other nutritional staples for low-income pregnant and postpartum women, along with infants and children under 5, according to the Coalition Against Hunger.
In Philadelphia alone, around 3,700 women and children could lose food benefits, said Linda Kilby, who administers the WIC program in the city.
In addition to women and children, seniors will also take a signficant hit:
Regarding Meals on Wheels, Pennsylvania faces a loss of $1.9 million in funding, which means one million fewer meals for 10,000 seniors, according to JoAnn Nenow, president of the Pennsylvania Meals on Wheels Association.
It’s continually amazing to me that our elected representatives, many of whom believe themselves of the highest moral quality, can heap misery after misery upon the working class while waging unnecessary wars, while subsidizing fossil fuels, while paying themselves small fortunes to act more important than those whose lives they play with every time this government careens from one crisis to another. But that is the state of this union, apparently.
This post originally published on RightsOfWoman.com.