As the government continues to hurl itself into the sequester abyss, Republicans are giddy with the prospect of something going terribly wrong with our society. They love the possibility that the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction won’t reach an agreement after which millions of people will potentially suffer. Right now, if nothing is done come Friday, March 1st, Republican’s finest demented political minds will be working up scenarios to blame the whole thing on that black Kenyan President.
Obama did indeed propose the sequester, but rarely is the whole story told. The President’s decision was in reaction to House Speaker John Boehner’s demand that the debt limit increase be matched by equal cuts in federal spending. Obama proposed the sequester assuming that something so inhumanely repulsive would surely drive Republicans to the bargaining table.
Across-the-board budget cut offsets (divided equally between military and domestic programs and agencies) and a delay in imposing sequester until after the 2012 elections was the deal. Obama was positive the Republicans would cave and compromise. Instead, they put up a wall of resistance to anything but cuts with no additional new taxes. They had the President by the short hairs and they weren’t about to let go.
If the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction can’t reach an agreement on the first day of March, here are some of the consequences of the cut in federal spending of nearly a trillion dollars after interest savings from 2013-2021. That’s about $110 billion annually. The tally for the remainder of this year would be $84 billion and there are already caps on discretionary spending. Sample cuts will be a reduction in the checks of the long-term unemployed by as much as 9.8%. Of course that will have no impact on the wealthy and that’s the intention of every elected Republican House Member; never negatively impact on the wealthy because that’s the very group that buys the Tea Party nutzoids off through campaign contributions and in my opinion, lots of brown envelopes and ladies with net stockings. Nobody could be as intransigent on the issues as Republican Representatives without a freight-car load of sleazy incentives. That’s why they’re clinging ferociously to opposition to any legislation that would force A-holes like Romney to pay their rightful share of taxes.
Subsidies to clean energy would also suffer. Subsidies to filthy energy remain untouchable; multiple billions that could render sequestration moot. Poor people will have to wait longer for heating and housing, pretty much after the winter season ends. The only problem rich folks have with housing is where to locate their 10,000 square foot summer homes.
Here’s where it gets personal. There’s a very real possibility that in addition to civilian workers already targeted for furloughs (unpaid days off), government employees will also suffer the same fate. My second eldest daughter works for the Justice Department. She’s an accomplished, caring individual. That she and her children and her colleagues and their families and the private sector should suffer so the wealthy can continue to duck their tax obligations is anathema to all that is democratic and, for you phony right-wing Christians, whose “holy” voices are stilled as one on sequester, as immoral as it’s possible to be.
Apologists insist it’s not a big deal. A snip here, shaving a bit there; no biggie. Heck, some people won’t feel the impact for days, weeks, even months. OK, they’re amputating my leg in May instead of March. No biggie! The ophthalmologist says I won’t lose my sight right away; the earliest date would be mid-summer. No biggie!
Let me put on my green eye-shade and give you a sense of what sequester means to just one state. Here are some highlights of money lost to my state of South Carolina according to the Associated Press. About 170 jobs of teachers and teacher’s aides will put at risk. 4th District Congressional Representative Trey Gowdy’s wife is an aide. Suppose she’ll lose her job? Of course none of that will impact the wealthy. Special Ed staff (again, it’s personal as I’m married to an teacher specializing in the Emotionally Disabled) lose $8.6 million in funding. Just listen to all those holy Evangelical voices in opposition. Impact on rich folks – zero. 900 children will see Head Start and Early Head Start services disappear.
Over three-quarters of a million in funds for meals for seniors will be no more. Republicans will gleefully note the slashing of $1.8 million in environmental funding for the state. All the better to stand aside while billion-dollar corporate behemoths pollution-blast innocent children and adults. An additional $276,000 loses its way to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Victims of domestic violence will see nearly 100 grand less going to their government protectors. Of course, given the right-wing position on VAWA, the Republican’s will just shrug their shoulders. There will be $127,000 less for vaccinations, though my guess is the wealthy progeny will get theirs somehow. Just under a half-million vanishes from a program to upgrade responses to public health threats. A million bucks in grant money is flushed that was to help prevent and treat substance abuse. Better a doped-up kid OD’ing than sacrifice a few dollars from hidden Swiss bank account.
There’s even bad news for war worshipers. About 11,000 civilian DOD employees in South Carolina face furloughs (the California total is 64,000). That’s a reduction in gross pay of $59.5 million for SC workers. But the “love war, send somebody else’s kids to die in them” millionaire crowd won’t suffer in the least.
South Carolina extremist conservative Representative Mick Mulvaney, held a Town Hall meeting in his district recently. Not a single person asked about the sequester issue. That’s how stupid, well-trained and brainwashed the right-wing Republicans are in typical red states.
Low information ignorance and indifference aside, the burden of cuts falls on the middle-class and poor people of South Carolina. The politicians and the six-figure income and up, church on Sunday crowd, feels no sympathetic tug whatsoever. Hell, they’ve got a black man on the ropes and those lazy bastards that refuse to work will get what’s coming to them. What could be sweeter? And if sequester can contribute to the downfall of public education and hurt Special Ed kids, fantastic. Food for old people? Give me a break.
The red states will still get by for the programs the crazies really want to see prosper. The ongoing and illegal transfer of TANF needy family block grant money to state agency budgets should do the trick.
Obama’s poll numbers on the issue are in decline while Grover Norquists’ infamous desire to shrink government to a size where we can “drown it in a bathtub” still resounds with the goobers.
Friday should be interesting.