Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sequestration: What, exactly, should be cut?

Just wanted to rant for a moment...don't mind me...

As you know, I've always been opposed to the "small government" mantra.  Not that I support "large government", just neither are accurate.  In truth, we should be asking for "smarter government."  By "smarter" I mean instead of cutting and slashing for the sake of cutting, we should work to reduce the inefficiencies and waste within the government.

By-in-large, the government provides services...for someone...who actually NEEDS those services.  To cut that service - just because - literally reinstates a deficiency that we (the government) felt was substantial enough at one time to remove.

If you mix that in a big 'ol pot along with the fact that the largest percentage of citizens literally have NO IDEA WHAT AND/OR HOW the government impacts them - whether the like/know it - you can start to understand the growing frustration with the sequestration. 

It is one thing to say that federal employees should "feel the pain" that the nation faces.  It is another to slash and cut irresponsibly.  Not only do you impact employees who contribute to the economy, but you also disrupt the services they provided hurting fellow citizens and private sector employees. 

The Huffington Post provided many examples of the sequestration's impact on U.S. Citizens.  From the closing of food pantries, and cuts to programs like Head Start, Meals on Wheels and homeless shelters, to boarder patrol security and reduction in medical care.  ALL citizens will eventually feel the pain. 

We can laugh and joke all day at politicians who chose to deliberately mislead folks into believing that the worst part of the sequestration is the closing of White House tours.  But the reality is that the government is in place for a reason: to serve the public.  Again, this doesn't mean there isn't room to improve efficiencies, but it does mean that some services we once felt important enough to provide will no longer exists.  That means something to somebody - probably someone you know.

So when asked, "should government be reduced?" be prepared to accept the fact that somebody's quality of life (often times the most vulnerable of us) will decline.

That's all... thanks for reading. 

Also, in addition to the list in the mentioned Huffingto Post article, here are a few more expected losses.

On Monday, 250 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state received pink slips, while another 2,500 others found out they're facing furloughs. Approximately 9,000 people work at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, and the Associated Press reports that "cleanup is likely to be slowed" because of the budget cuts.

•Continental Maritime, a contractor that repairs U.S. Navy ships, expects to lay off 185 employees, effective April 12. Other contractors have issued conditional layoff notices -- meaning that jobs are safe if Congress restores some funding to the Defense Department -- to thousands of employees.

•Four-hundred eighteen contract workers tied to the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania are losing their jobs due to sequestration. Two-hundred sixteen people will be dismissed on April 15 and 107 on April 30, the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., reports. The paper noted that the Tobyhanna Army Depot is losing 35 percent -- $309 million -- of its government funding through the end of the fiscal year, and that more than 5,100 of the people who work there are being forced to take 22 furlough days.

•At least eight municipal employees in Monterey County, Calif., are losing their jobs as a result of a decrease in the number of military contracts.

•In early March, 23 people who work with the parks and recreation and maintenance departments in Tooele County, Utah, were laid off in order to grapple with the federal budget cuts. "I have four kids. This is my livelihood,” said Scott Chance, a 12-year employee. "It pays my health insurance. It gives me my house."

•Engineering Services Network is an engineering and technology company and one of the top Latino-owned companies in Virginia. President and CEO Raymond Lopez Jr. told NBC Latino that he has "lost about 20 employees through sequestration."

•The Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, announced in February that it was cutting 414 jobs -- about 10 percent of its workforce. "I don't know how we're going to make it," Raymond Wyrick, whose last day was scheduled to be March 9, told CNN Money.

This is just a 2% annual reduction...
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