This week, furloughs caused by the sequester went into effect for the civilian employees at the Department of Defense, forcing these middle-class workers, who help keep our nation safe and assist our war-fighters, to accept a 20 percent pay cut. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only victims of the sequester. Yesterday, the National Journal explained how the poorest people in our country are seeing some of the greater impact of these across-the-board cuts:
“That’s especially true of poor people since Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal to undo the cuts in March. Air-traffic controllers and meat inspectors, represented by powerful unions and lobbyists, got reprieves. Agencies such as the Justice and Homeland Security departments found wiggle room in their budgets to stave off furloughs. But programs outside of D.C. for low-income or distressed people—such as Head Start, Meals on Wheels, or federal unemployment benefits—have suffered as the cuts kicked in, leading to cancellations, fewer meals, smaller checks, and staff layoffs.”
“The reductions were designed to be so painful—to both defense and nondefense discretionary programs—that Republicans and Democrats would flock to the negotiating table to find a compromise. Instead, the effects of sequestration have been uneven, with small pockets of intense upheaval rather than widespread but mild disruptions. Now, many Republicans openly profess their love of the cuts, especially since the fiscal-cliff deal did not seriously slash government spending or tweak entitlement programs, as the GOP had hoped it would. In their view, sequestration turned into the next best option for shrinking the federal government.”
The Center for American Progress has put together a map highlighting communities around the country that are being impacted by sequestration:
Note for our friends across the aisle: some of those communities are in your districts, too. Perhaps this visual will serve as a helpful reminder that Congress should be working towards a real solution to our deficits that doesn’t ask our nation’s neediest to sacrifice the most.