Sequestration has further perpetuated Washington politicians’ reputation for mulish partisanship. And, as we speak, their spin-doctors are hard at work blaming the latest episode of immature gridlock on their adversaries. Yet regardless of which party ultimately pays the highest political price, the American people will suffer the brunt of the consequences.
Much focus has been directed to sequestration’s robust defense spending cuts — cuts that will undoubtedly necessitate furloughs. Unfortunately, the effects of sequestration will extend beyond federal offices and into unsuspecting American communities. Below are groups of Americans who, although much detached from Washington’s dissonant dynamic, will bear the unpleasant burden of sequestration.
This year, federal education funding will be slashed by roughly 9.1%, forcing public schools to tighten their budgets. School boards will need to further ration capital, and some teachers will lose their jobs. Those who don’t will likely be overextended in the absence of colleagues, facing bloated class sizes, as well as have to cutback on classroom resources.
2. America’s unemployed:
The two million Americans receiving — or soon to receive — long term unemployment benefits will see their checks cut by 11%. And because sequestration will, at the very least, not stimulate the job market, many of these Americans will further feel economic peril, regardless of whether or not there is a double dip recession.
3. Small business owners:
In light of the sequester, the Small Business Administration will be required to grant about $900 million fewer in loans. Entrepreneurs and small businesses will be hindered from innovating and expanding, which hurts them, their employees, consumers and the overall economy.
4. Air travelers:
There will be roughly $1 billion cut annually from the FAA’s current $15.9 billion budget over the next nine years. And the impact of these cuts will be very visible for travelers. With fewer TSA agents and air traffic controllers, security lines will be slower and flights will take longer to depart. FAA officials warn that, for customers flying from major cities such as New York and Chicago, 90 minutes might be added to the already tedious process.
5. College students:
Roughly 29 million students who are receiving federal loans or grants will see decreases in their benefits for the next academic year. More immediately, 100,000 students who receive the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or participate in the Federal Work-Study program will be dropped. While college tuition continues to escalate, and a stagnant employment market is making it increasingly difficult for college students to find jobs, Washington isn’t making it easy for millennials to receive the education they need to solve the issues that the federal government is creating.