The budget cuts outlined over the next nine years in the sequester are scheduled to start in two days. News channels have been busy with one analyst after another explaining how the sequestration will work and what the effect will be for this nation. A big picture has been painted. What Moms and Dads want to know is the small picture. What will the noticeable daily impact on the average American family be? Here are eight areas that will affect the average family.
First off, the direct financial impact of those looking at furloughs. No matter how you look at it 22 days of lost wages is substantial to many families. The ripple will be felt by businesses supported by federal workers, for example the oil change place just outside the base, the fast food lunch destination near a federal building or the popular coffee stop for teachers.
Head Start programs are looking at a $406 million cut. This will remove 70,000 children from the program designed to promote school readiness for preschool children of low income families. This is not the only educational program on the chop block. Special education programs are looking at an $840 million cut. Smaller programs due to reduced funding will put teacher's jobs at risk; the White house estimates nearly 10,000.
Air travel will become more time consuming. The TSA's airport security budget will slash $323 million resulting in longer check-in and security lines. Air traffic controllers will see a 10 percent decrease in numbers. This will equate to longer waits and inevitable delays.
Those areas subject to flooding, tornado, hurricanes or other disasters will experience a slower response from FEMA. Disaster areas already complain about slow response from the agency. FEMA is being cut by $375 million during sequestration. The trickle down effect could be felt by the local and state firefighting staff which receives funding grants.
The FDA is juggling a $318 million budget cut. Being the FDA is not equipment heavy; the majority of cuts will be in personnel. This means 1,000 food inspectors will be laid off. This presents the question of possible increased risk of food-borne illnesses. Drug approvals for new medications will take longer.
The FBI is looking at a $480 million budget cut. Prison funding is being cut by $355 million. This will result in early release for prisoners and more plea bargains to get through case loads. Agents and support staff will look at furloughs. Reducing manpower is reduced manpower.
Medical research will take a big hit as the National Institute of Health will lose $1.6 billion in funding. In December the NIH cut 10% off its grants resulting in the loss of 430,000 jobs. There are no furloughs in medical research. Lost funding results in a "lights out" for labs, the research, and the technical staff employed. Experimental treatments will be substantially cut. Hospital beds for clinical trials cost money. The Center for Disease Control will lose $323 million. This will be absorbed by the loss of thousands of disease detectives as well as cuts in funding to states for vaccines, health screenings and flu shots.
The last area your family could see the effects are in your vacation plans. The National Parks Service is cutting $110 million. That means reduced rangers, reduced services and hours, and some parks will be closed. This may not seem all that devastating at first glance but it bounces back to the first area listed. Many small businesses survive off the tourist industry. If the lively hood of a town is based upon the draw of the national park and that park closes, that micro economy suffers.
The truth is the government is big. The cuts outlined will not shrink the government. A lot of federal agencies fund state and local chapters. These budget cuts will be felt on the state and local level. Your job may not be in direct jeopardy with the sequester but you depend upon the people whose jobs are.
Photo source: The Patriotic Perspective