Tracking Actual Sequestration Cuts

Sequestration is still scheduled to start on March 1st. At this moment there is no reason to expect any deal between the White House and the Congress will change that. Obama still wants another tax increase, and Speaker John Boehner is still unwilling to accept any such thing.

Therefore, on March 1st the federal government will start cutting some spending by about 2-1/2%. Yes, it’s really just a tiny decrease in the rate of increase. Half the cuts are in the military and half are in discretionary budget items, but no cuts are in the “big three” entitlements- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

But to scare the livin’ daylights out of American citizens, and thus to motivate the Republicans to “cave” on another tax hike, the Obama camp has produced “State-by-State Reports on the Impacts of the Sequester”. This is a list of likely impacts for each state, and the District of Columbia. But these impacts are far from the only choices that could be made. For sure, the Obama camp wants their administrators to choose cuts that are visible and painful for ordinary folks. They don’t have to, but they can.

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So it’s time to step up and take action! Your family, your neighbors, your country, and your Constitution need you.

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Here’s the action needed from each of us:

1. Please get the impact report for your state from the “State-by-State Reports…” link above. Each report has a section on Page 1 entitled “[State Name] Impacts”. Farther down in the Report you’ll see a “Nationwide Impacts” section. You can ignore this.

2. Watch the news in your state from March 1st onward. Make a record of any impact in your state that correlates – or which you think correlates – to an Impact item in the Report.

3. This is very important: Watch for news items or any events you personally witness where federal cuts could have been made, but were not. Do you know any federal workers who were not given a furlough, or who attended an annual conference in Las Vegas? Did a federal agency buy new cars for staff use, when they already have a parking lot full of older-but-usable models? If you can get an estimate of the cost, that would be excellent.

In essence: write this stuff down! Keep a log of your own notes, or web links, or news articles from local newspapers or TV stations. If you know the articles might disappear from a website, be sure to copy the content to some other (more durable) file format.

You can then post the information you find on a new Facebook Page we’ve created to track this information that all can see. Click here to view “Impacts of Sequestration.”

In a perfect world, one of two things will happen:

A. Most ordinary citizens will not notice there was a sequestration. Or,
B. We catch the Obama folks lying about the irresponsible cuts they made, instead of sensible cuts.

Please consider the following questions as you review the excerpt (below) from the ALABAMA IMPACTS Report:

1. Why have we allowed so many functions of ordinary life to be paid for (taken over by) the Federal government?
2. How many of these items are supported by Article 1 Section 8 (“Enumerated Powers”) of the Constitution?
3. How many should be managed and funded solely by the States or municipalities, or by citizens themselves?
4. How many private sector folks have been affected by our poor economy? Why not federal employees, too?
5. How many of these items have exploded in size and cost due to “waste, fraud and abuse”?
6. How many of these items should never have been started in the first place?
7. How many of these items should be terminated?

If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Alabama this year alone are:

Teachers and Schools: Alabama will lose approximately $11 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 150 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 21,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Alabama will lose approximately $9 million in funds for about 110 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 940 fewer low income students in Alabama would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 280 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,100 children in Alabama, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Alabama would lose about $2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Alabama could lose another $1 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Alabama, approximately 27,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $176.9 million in total.
Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $91 million in Alabama.
Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Alabama would be cut by about $8 million.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Alabama will lose about $230,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Job Search Assistance to Help those in Alabama find Employment and Training: Alabama will lose about $472,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 16,600 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children: In Alabama around 2,110 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $144,000.

Public Health: Alabama will lose approximately $457,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Alabama will lose about $1,180,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Alabama State Department of Public Health will lose about $165,000 resulting in around 4,100 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Alabama could lose up to $102,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 400 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Alabama would lose approximately $865,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

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