Extreme Measures: Sequestration and the Financial Crisis

According to Mahatma Gandhi, the “Seven Blunders of the World” are as follows:
wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” –Albert Einstein

In the United States federal budget, the sequester or sequestration refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that began on March 1, 2012 as an austerity fiscal policy. The cuts were due to the Budget Control Act of 2011 and initially set to begin on January 1, however the date was pushed back two months by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The spending reductions are approximately $85.4 billion during the fiscal year of 2013 with similar cuts through 2021. Unfortunately, total federal spending will continue to increase by about $238.6 billion per year during the next decade with some reduction in the rate due to the sequester. The cuts are slit evenly between defense and non-defense categories with some major programs like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay such as military pay and pensions plus veterans’ benefits being exempt. Medicare will reduce spending by 2% per year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the sequester would reduce economic growth by 0.6 percentage points in 2013 roughly $90 billion and affect the creation and retention of 750,000 jobs by year end. Over the 2014 to 2023 period, the sequester will reduce planned spending outlays by $995 billion with interest savings of $228 billion or a total of over $1.2 trillion in debt reduction. The blunt nature of the cuts has been highly criticize with some favoring tailored cuts and others wanting a postponement while the economy improves.

In economics, austerity describes policies used by governments to reduce budget deficits during adverse economic conditions such as spending cuts, tax increases, or a mixture of the two. Austerity policies attempts to demonstrate governments’ liquidity to their creditors and credit rating agencies by bringing fiscal income closer to expenditure. The “Age of Austerity” was popularized by British Conservative leader David Cameron in his keynote speech to the Conservative party forum in Cheltenham on April 26, 2009, when he committed to put an end to what he called years of excessive government spending. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary named the word “austerity” as its “Word of the Year” for 2010 due to the number of web searches generated that year. According to the president and publisher of the dictionary, “austerity had more than 250,000 searches on the dictionary’s free online [website] tool” and the spike in searches “came with more coverage of the debt crisis”. Examples of austerity are as follows:

  • United States, 1921, 1937, 1946
  • European Countries 2012
  • Argentina, 1952
  • Puerto Rico, 2009–2012
  • Brazil, 2003–2006
  • Netherlands, 1982–1990, 2003–2006, 2011-2014
  • Germany, 2011
  • United Kingdom, during and after the two World Wars, 2011–2014
  • Czech Republic, 2010
  • Italy, 2011–2013
  • Greece, 2010–2012
  • Ireland, 2010-2013
  • Portugal, 2010–2011
  • Romania, Ceaușescu’s 1981-1989 austerity, 2010
  • Japan, 2010 1949 American Occupation
  • Spain, 1979, 2010
  • Latvia, 2009
  • Palestinian Authority, 2006
  • Nicaragua, 1997
  • Canada, 1994
  • Cuba, 1991
  • Mexico, 1985
  • Israel, 1949–1959

In macroeconomics, as evident in recent austerity measures in Europe and now in the U.S. reducing government spending increases unemployment.  Even with reductions in budget deficits as compared to GDP, the unemployment rate has risen to record levels and debt to GDP ratios are rising. The reduction in spending therefore increases safety net spending and reduces tax revenues. Government spending contributes to gross domestic product therefore the debt to GDP ratio signifies liquidity which may not improve immediately. Short term deficit spending contributes to GDP growth when consumers and businesses are not will or able to spend. Under expansionary fiscal contraction, a major reduction in government spending changes future expectations about taxes and government spending  encouraging private consumption and resulting in overall economic expansion. Eurostat reports that Euro area unemployment reached 12.1% in March 2013, up from 11.0% in March 2012 and 10.3% in March 2011, while the debt to GDP ratio for Euro area countries together was 70.1% in 2008, 80.0% in 2009, 85.4% in 2010, 87.3% in 2011 and 90.6% in 2012. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates that in August 2012 if the U.S. implements moderate austerity measures, the unemployment rate would rise by over 1% and significantly reduce economic growth in 2013. The United States partially avoided the ‘fiscal cliff” due to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 as the unemployment rate has fallen from 10% in 2010 to 7.6% by March 2013.

The sequestration became a major topic of the fiscal cliff debate with the only resolution being the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 which eliminated the tax side of the dispute, delayed the budget sequestration two months and reduced the savings per year from $110 billion to $85 billion in 2013. On August 2, 2011, Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 with Congress in agreement to resolve the debt ceiling crisis providing for a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to produce legislation by November decreasing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years. If the committee failed to act, then the second part of the act would take effect in the form of direct automatic across the board cuts beginning on January 2, 2013. During the debate to mitigate the automatic cuts, President Obama along the line of his Democratic party wanted a broad range of spending cuts and tax changes, however Republicans wanted no tax increases, no defense cuts and considerable domestic spending reductions. While leaving the sequestration in place, the House approved a bipartisan bill on March 6 by a vote of 267 to 151 to extend the continued resolution from March 27 to September 30 in order to keep the federal government from shutting down. The bill allows for flexibility in adjustments to sequester cuts in Defense and Veteran Affairs.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in September 2011 the sequester would have the following effects through 2021:

  • “Reductions ranging from 10.0 percent (in 2013) to 8.5 percent (in 2021) in the caps on new discretionary appropriations for defense programs, yielding total outlay savings of $454 billion.”
  • “Reductions ranging from 7.8 percent (in 2013) to 5.5 percent (in 2021) in the caps on new discretionary appropriations for nondefense programs, resulting in outlay savings of $294 billion.”
  • “Reductions ranging from 10.0 percent (in 2013) to 8.5 percent (in 2021) in mandatory budgetary resources for nonexempt defense programs, generating savings of about $0.1 billion.”
  • “Reductions of 2.0 percent each year in most Medicare spending because of the application of a special rule that applies to that program, producing savings of $123 billion, and reductions ranging from 7.8 percent (in 2013) to 5.5 percent (in 2021) in mandatory budgetary resources for other nonexempt nondefense programs and activities, yielding savings of $47 billion. Thus, savings in nondefense mandatory spending would total $170 billion.”
  • “About $31 billion in outlays stemming from the reductions in premiums for Part B of Medicare and other changes in spending that would result from the sequestration actions.”
  • “An estimated reduction of $169 billion in debt-service costs.”
  • “In all, those automatic cuts would produce net budgetary savings of about $1.1 trillion over the 2013–2021 period.”

The Budget Control Act of 2011 included both caps on discretionary spending as well as the sequester, both of which reduce discretionary spending. CBO projected in February 2013 that under the sequester and Budget Control Act caps:

  • Discretionary spending outlays will be reduced from $1,285.3 billion in 2012 to $1,213.9 billion in 2013, a reduction of $71.4 billion or 5.6%. Discretionary spending will fall again to $1,170.0 billion in 2014, a decrease of $42.8 billion or 3.6%.
  • Discretionary spending will rise gradually from $1,170.0 in 2014 to $1,423.8 billion by 2023, an annual growth rate of 2.2% during the 2014 to 2023 period and 0.9% for the 2012-2023 period. The 2.2% growth rate approximates CBO’s projected rate of inflation and is well below the annual spending growth rate of 6.3% from 2000 to 2012.
  • Discretionary spending will fall steadily from 8.3% GDP in 2012 to 5.5% GDP by 2023. Discretionary spending averaged 7.7% GDP from 1990 to 2012, ranging from 6.2% GDP to 9.0% GDP.

CBO projected in February 2013 that under the sequester and Budget Control Act caps:

  • Defense spending outlays (including “overseas contingency operations” for Iraq and Afghanistan) will be reduced from $670.3 billion in 2012 to approximately $627.6 billion in 2013, a decrease of $42.7 billion or 6.4%. Defense spending will fall again to $593.4 billion in 2014, a decrease of $34.2 billion or 5.5%.
  • Defense spending will rise gradually from $593 billion in 2014 to $714 billion by 2023, an annual growth rate of 2.1% during the 2014 to 2023 period and 0.6% for the 2012-2023 period. The 2.1% growth rate approximates CBO’s projected rate of inflation and is well below the annual spending growth rate of 7.1% from 2000-2012.
  • Defense spending will fall steadily from 4.3% GDP in 2012 to 2.8% GDP by 2023. Defense spending averaged 4.0% GDP from 1990 to 2012, ranging from 3.0% GDP to 5.2% GDP.

Non-defense discretionary spending includes Cabinet Departments and Agencies. CBO projected in February 2013 that under the sequester and Budget Control Act caps:

  • Non-defense discretionary spending outlays will be reduced from $615.0 billion in 2012 to approximately $586.3 billion in 2013, a reduction of $28.7 billion or 4.7%. This spending will fall again to $576.6 billion in 2014, a decrease of $9.7 billion or 1.6%.
  • Non-defense discretionary spending will rise gradually from $576.6 billion in 2014 to $709.8 billion by 2023, an annual growth rate of 2.3% during the 2014 to 2023 period and 1.3% for the 2012-2023 period. The 2.3% growth rate approximates CBO’s projected rate of inflation and is well below the annual spending growth rate of 5.6% from 2000-2012.
  • Non-defense discretionary spending will fall steadily from 4.0% GDP in 2012 to 2.7% GDP by 2023. This spending averaged 3.8% GDP from 1990 to 2012, ranging from 3.2% GDP to 4.6% GDP.

Mandatory spending represents expenditures to qualified program participants such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, however does not require annual renewals. The latter two are not in the scope of the sequester. CBO estimates in September 2011 that most Medicare spending would reduce by 2% per year for a total savings of $123 billion over the 2013-2022 period, however CBO projects a rise from $551 billion in 2012 to $1,079 billion in 2023 despite the sequester which is an annual growth of 6.3%. Other mandatory spending totaling $47 billion would also be reduced during 2013-2022. In 2011, CBO estimated that interest would reduce by $170 billion over a decade with the sequester due to lower national debt levels compared to the previously planned path. CBO explains why it expects the sequestration to reduce expenditures by $42 billion in 2013 even though the automatic budget cuts total $85 billion:

 “The $85 billion represents the reduction in budgetary resources available to government agencies this year as a result of the sequestration. But not all of that money would have been spent in this fiscal year in the absence of the sequestration: Some would have been used to enter into contracts to buy goods or services to be provided and paid for next year or in subsequent years. Acquiring major weapons systems and completing large construction projects, for example, can take several years. The $42 billion figure is CBO’s estimate of the reduction in cash disbursements in fiscal year 2013; much of the remaining outlay reductions from the 2013 sequestration will occur in fiscal year 2014, though some will occur later.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported in April 2012 that the process for 2014 and beyond is different from 2013:

  • “Unlike in 2013, there will be no automatic cut of all affected defense programs by the same percentage; instead, the Appropriations Committees will decide how to live within the newly reduced defense funding caps.”
  • “For non-defense programs, the process in years after 2013 is the same as in 2013 for entitlements but different for non-defense discretionary programs.”
  • “Medicare payments to providers and health insurance plans will continue to be cut by 2 percent; in other words, for the entire nine-year period 2013-2021, providers and plans will be paid 98 cents on the dollar. But because Medicare costs are projected to rise from 2013 through 2021, the dollar amount saved by this 2 percent cut will increase, from $11.0 billion in 2013 to $11.4 billion in 2014 and ultimately to $17.8 billion in 2021.”
  • “Because Medicare will take a growing share of the $54.7 billion annual non-defense cut (it will account for 21 percent of that amount in 2014 but 33 percent in 2021), other non-defense programs will absorb a declining share of the cut.”
  • “As with defense, the non-defense discretionary cuts will be accomplished through the normal appropriations process as Congress writes appropriations bills to remain within the newly reduced caps for total non-defense appropriations.”

Economists have predicted with accuracy that the sequestration will have significant impact on the economy slowing the recovery of the U.S. labor market. In February 2012 the CBO reported, “In the absence of sequestration, CBO estimates, GDP growth would be about 0.6 percentage points faster during [the 2013] calendar year, and the equivalent of about 750,000 more full-time jobs would be created or retained by the fourth quarter.” Economist Paul Krugman reported the potential lose of 700,000 jobs due to the enactment of the sequester, while the International Monetary Fund plans to lower 2013 GDP growth forecast from 2.0% to 1.5% due to the implementation of the sequester. Federal  Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke testified in February 2013 that due to the potential slowing of the economy the sequester should be replaced by small cuts today and large cuts in the future as the CBO’s guidance predicts a reduction in economic growth by up to 1.5 percentage points with 0.6 percentage points due to the sequester in 2013. Bernanke states that in the long run fiscal issues would mainly involve an aging population and healthcare costs. In addition, Bernanke notes that although the current laws stabilize the debt to GDP ratio at 75%, the ratio averages to less than 40% from 1960 to the onset of the crisis in 2008:

“To address both the near- and longer-term [fiscal] issues, the Congress and the Administration should consider replacing the sharp, front-loaded spending cuts required by the sequestration with policies that reduce the federal deficit more gradually in the near term but more substantially in the longer run. Such an approach could lessen the near-term fiscal headwinds facing the recovery while more effectively addressing the longer-term imbalances in the federal budget.”

“This relatively low level of debt provided the nation much-needed flexibility to meet the economic challenges of the past few years. Replenishing this fiscal capacity will give future Congresses and Administrations greater scope to deal with unforeseen events.”

Under the sequestration, agencies funding research and development would see cuts of 5.1 to 7.3% in 2013 and remain the same through 2021. It is projected that in the next three years that R&D jobs will be decrease by 600,000. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimate due to the sequestration that the GDP will reduce by $200 billion compared to a scenario where funding would be fixed at 2011 amounts and by $565 billion compared to R&D funding growing in proportion to output. The current director of the National Institute of Health, Francis S. Collins has raised concerns about the next generation of science since grant application are likely to be rejected due to the sequester and chances of approval decrease. Former NIH head Dr. Elia Zerhouni believes that due to the sequester future scientific research would be significantly impact as new proposals would likely be rejected as the existing funding must go to projects already underway.

The timeline so far for the sequestration is as follows:

  • August 2, 2011: President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011. This act provided that, if the Joint Select Committee did not produce bipartisan legislation, across-the-board spending cuts would take effect on January 2, 2013.
  • January 2, 2013: President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, delaying the sequestration until March 1, 2013.
  • February 4, 2013: President Obama signed the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013, temporarily suspending the debt ceiling until May 18, 2013.
  • March 1, 2013: With no deal reached, all parties concerned seemed resigned that sequestration cuts would take effect at midnight. Later in the day, President Obama signed an order putting the cuts into effect. He referred to them as being “deeply destructive.”
  • March 6, 2013: The House of Representative passed a bill to extend the continuing resolution and to enable defense and veterans programs to adjust to the cuts brought on by sequestration.

Austerity measures are used as a way to counteract the myriad of issues that may result from a government who cannot honor their debt liabilities. These situations may arise due to borrowing in foreign currencies that the government has no right to issue or the government itself has been legally barred from issuing their own currency. As a result, banks and investors lose trust in the government’s ability and or willingness to pay and either refuse to roll over the debt or demand extremely high interest rates. Due to this development, intergovernmental institutions e.g. International Monetary Fund (IMF) may demand austerity measures or sequestration in exchange for functioning as a last resort lender. This policy is called IMF conditionalities’. In some cases, governments became highly indebted after assuming private debts during banking crises e.g. Ireland assumed the debt of its private banking sector during the European sovereign debt crisis. The IMF around 2011 issued guidance stating that austerity had the potential to be harmful when applied without regard to an economy’s underlying fundamentals. In 2013 a detailed analysis concluded that, “if financial markets focus on the short-term behavior of the debt ratio, or if country authorities engage in repeated rounds of tightening in an effort to get the debt ratio to converge to the official target,” then austerity policies could slow or reverse economic growth and lead to increased unemployment due to inhibiting full employment. Paul Krugman, economist and commentator, suggests that this has already occurred with austerity yielding worse results in proportion to the extent of its implementation.

Typically targeted programs for cuts include development projects, welfare and other social spending. More specifically, people may find increases in taxes, port and airport fees, train and bus fares even a raised retirement age complete with a reduction in government pensions. Major indicators of austerity measures can be seen in the decline in standard of living resulting in popular protest as seen in nations like Greece. The financial crisis in particular the austerity packages of the EU and IMF was met with anger by the people of Greece leading to rioting and social unrest. As a direct result on June 27, 20011, trade union organization participated in a 48 hour labor strike before parliament voted on the austerity package the first such protest since 1974, while massive protests were organized throughout Greece in order to pressure parliament members to vote against it. Unfortunately, the second set of austerity measure were approved on June 29, 2011 with 155 out of 300 members voting in favor. However, one United Nations official believed and warned that the second package could pose a violation of human rights.

The United States from 1998 to 2001 balanced its budget in effort to limit the growth in defense and nondefense discretionary spending while growing revenue along with the economy as part of austerity. Comparing 1990 to 1999, defense and nondefense discretionary spending grew by a total of 14%, while revenue grew 77%. Public debt to GDP dropped from 42.1% in 1990 to 39.4% by 1999, but rose between slightly. In contrast, from 2000 to 2009, discretionary spending grew 101% while revenue grew 4% and the public debt to GDP increased from 34.7% in 2000 to 53.5% in 2009. Revenue grew 25% when comparing 2000 to the pre-crisis peak in 2007 but still considerably less than the previous decade.

Austerity programs and measures remain controversial. In the Overseas Development Institute briefing paper “The IMF and the Third World” the ODI addresses five major complaints against the IMF’s austerity ‘conditionalities’ saying that these measures are “anti-developmental”, “self-defeating”, and “they tend to have an adverse impact on the poorest segments of the population”. In many countries, austerity programs enacted by countries previously under dictatorial regimes leads critics to believe that the citizens are forced to repay the debt. Economist Richard D. Wolff believes that instead of cutting government programs and raising taxes, austerity can be done through collecting taxes from non-profit multinational corporations, churches and private tax exempt institution e.g. universities which as of now pay no taxes. Opponents argue austerity measures depress economic growth thereby resulting in reduced tax revenue that outweighs the benefits of reduced public spending. This is especially important when austerity measure start to affect the private sector and do not correct the unreasonable expenditures on the public sector workforce as was the case in Greece. In addition, countries with anemic economic growth and austerity measures implemented stand to develop deflation and inflate existing debt while causing the country to fall into a liquidity trap where credit markets freeze and unemployment increases. Some recent cases are Ireland and Spain where in response to a financial crises in 2009 instituted austerity measures that were ineffective in combating public debt placing the country at risk for default in 2010.

Several economist argue that an appropriate strategy when an economy is faced with unusually high private debt level is to exchange it for public debt, then cut government debt after the economy has recovered with austerity strategy as doing so before will be counter-productive according to Keynesian theory. An example of private sector indebtedness comes in the form of when the housing bubble bursts causing housing prices to fall while mortgage obligations are fixed leading to indebted homeowners unable to consume at adequate levels to drive economic levels. As a result, defaulting homeowners cause a banking crisis  where banks are unable to lend or stay in business adding to a slow economy and an increase in unemployment. The effect can be self-reinforcing leading to a downward economic spiral which in this scenario has been at the core of the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. and the European sovereign debt crisis. According to economist Amir Sufi, a high level of household debt was holding back the U.S. economy in July 2011 as households focused on paying down private debt and not consuming at a historical rate. His solution was for mortgage write downs and other debt related solutions in order to re-stimulate the economy when household debt levels are exceptionally high. Economists Joseph Stiglitz and Mark Zandi in August of 2012 both advocated for mortgage refinancing or write downs with the government financing the venture with additional debt in the short run as a form of stimulus. The government could borrow at a low interest rate and create an entity to  purchase mortgages, receiving a higher interest rate from mortgages it refinances with the losses being shared between the government and financial institutions and the government losses offset by the interest rate differential. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in April 2012:

“Household debt soared in the years leading up to the Great Recession. In advanced economies, during the five years preceding 2007, the ratio of household debt to income rose by an average of 39 percentage points, to 138 percent. In Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway, debt peaked at more than 200 percent of household income. A surge in household debt to historic highs also occurred in emerging economies such as Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania. The concurrent boom in both house prices and the stock market meant that household debt relative to assets held broadly stable, which masked households’ growing exposure to a sharp fall in asset prices. When house prices declined, ushering in the global financial crisis, many households saw their wealth shrink relative to their debt, and, with less income and more unemployment, found it harder to meet mortgage payments. By the end of 2011, real house prices had fallen from their peak by about 41% in Ireland, 29% in Iceland, 23% in Spain and the United States, and 21% in Denmark. Household defaults, underwater mortgages (where the loan balance exceeds the house value), foreclosures, and fire sales are now endemic to a number of economies. Household deleveraging by paying off debts or defaulting on them has begun in some countries. It has been most pronounced in the United States, where about two-thirds of the debt reduction reflects defaults.”

These countries might also benefit from household debt reduction policies involving exchanging private debt for public debt. Steps can be taken in the present that will reduce future spending, such as “bending the curve” on pensions by reducing cost of living adjustments or raising the retirement age for younger members of the population, while at the same time creating short-term spending or tax cut programs to stimulate the economy to create jobs. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde wrote in August 2011:

“For the advanced economies, there is an unmistakable need to restore fiscal sustainability through credible consolidation plans. At the same time we know that slamming on the brakes too quickly will hurt the recovery and worsen job prospects. So fiscal adjustment must resolve the conundrum of being neither too fast nor too slow. Shaping a Goldilocks fiscal consolidation is all about timing. What is needed is a dual focus on medium-term consolidation and short-term support for growth. That may sound contradictory, but the two are mutually reinforcing. Decisions on future consolidation, tackling the issues that will bring sustained fiscal improvement, create space in the near term for policies that support growth.

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 also known as the Global Financial Crisis, considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The resulting aftermath led to the total collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments and stock market downturns around the world. In many areas, the housing market crash resulted in evictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment playing a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth in the trillions and a decline in economic activity contributing to the global recession or the Great Recession and the European sovereign debt crisis. The liquidity crises dating back to August 7,2007 when BNP Paribas terminated withdrawals from three hedge funds. The bursting of the housing bubble caused securities value tied to U.S. real estate pricing to plummet and damage financial institutions globally. Questions about bank solvency, credit availability declines and damage to investor confidence contributed to the decline in securities on the global stock markets during 2008 and early 2009. Due to credit tightening and international trade decline, economies worldwide slowed during this period. Governments along with central banks responded with historical fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion and institutional bailout e.g. U.S. Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the EU, the U.K. responded with austerity measures such as spending cuts and tax increase without export growth resulting in a double dip recession. In response to the financial crisis palliative fiscal and monetary policies were adopted to lessen the shock.

Now the United States and many countries around the world are on the verge of financial ruin if no solutions to austerity are met. While the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt was saved due to the National Park Service from the sequestration, many programs were not so lucky and even the White House had to discontinue their White House tours. Due to the frequency of which Congress flies and cannot be delayed by long lines, Congress passed and President Obama signed a bill allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to shift funds and halt air traffic controllers furloughs which caused the delays in the first place. Unfortunately, with the supposed good comes the bad as Indiana for example has had to cut children from the federally funded Head Start preschool program and one complete program in Maine. Furloughs have begun for employees of agencies from the U.S. Park Police to the Environmental Protection Agency and cuts to Medicare have force cancer clinics to turn away thousands of patients who were being treated with drugs the clinic cannot afford now. Congress passed a bill signed by Obama to spare a few programs from cuts including the infant nutrition program, the nuclear weapons program and funding for security at U.S. embassies abroad — a sensitive area since the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last September. The bill also gave some agencies, including the Pentagon, more flexibility in carrying out the sequester. While lawmakers’ salaries are exempt from cuts, the sequester requires their congressional offices to slash spending by 8.2%. The federal judiciary’s budget has been slashed by $350 million for 2013 with many states having backlogs and funding problems causing some to furlough employees even dismiss criminal cases. Worrisome to many is the impact on terrorism cases where delays may occur due to furloughs in their offices such as the recent Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. U.S. meat inspectors were spared due to meat inspector unions and other heavyweights lobbying forcing the Senate to move $55 million from other Agricultural programs to the inspectors. Even the pet industry successfully lobbied to restore overtime and weekend inspections of commercial wildlife imports and exports for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The result of Europe’s financial experiment has led to failure, so why has the United States decided to take a similar path? The eurozone club of 17 countries has mass unemployment at 26% in Spain and Greece, while Italy was in the grips of a political crisis and neo-Nazis have been elected to parliament in depression hit Greece. Outside the eurozone, the U.K. economy lost its prize triple A credit rating as a result of a double dip recession in February 2013. Many critics are in disbelief that America would make the same mistake by means of its “super committee” to the “fiscal cliff” to the latest legislative decision the “sequester.” The prospect of an austerity induced double dip recession in the U.S. could have global implications with the potential to cause the world economy to crash. Besides the economics of Capitol Hill, European policy makers are bewildered by the politics as the U.S. incapable of dealing with the problem even paralyzed by it. Portes even told the Huff Post U.K. from a European perspective that the Republican Party “is no longer a responsible party of government in a basic, public finance sense, in terms of making things add up.” While Republicans hate the idea of tax raises as a means to bring down the deficit, it is the position of Spain and Portugal that raising taxes will help their own countries to recover. In the U.K., the deficit reduction plan calls for a 4:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax raises.

The one lesson the U.S. fails to realize is  that the sequester or austerity by another name is self-defeating. “[T]he sharp austerity measures that were imposed by market and [European] policymakers’ panic not only produced deep recessions in the countries that were exposed to the medicine, but also that up to now this medicine did not work,” wrote academic economists Paul De Grauwe and Yuemei Ji, on Feb. 21 on the Vox website. “In fact it led to even higher debt-to-GDP ratios, and undermined the capacity of these countries to continue to service the debt.” (De Grauwe, incidentally, is not just a professor of economics at the LSE but also a former adviser to EU Commission president Manuel Barroso.) The current global financial situation raises many questions as the United States is still a global power and political leader making many wonder what will happen to the rest of the world if the America economy fails to recover. Will eurozone countries such as Spain and Italy be dragged down deeper into depression? Will the UK –- “umbilically linked to the U.S. through our financial systems,” in the words of one leading British economic commentator — be pushed into an unprecedented triple-dip recession?

With the current cuts in place and the U.S. bracing for some rough financial weather, Congress must realize that these cuts are unsustainable and must come to a long term agreement instead of just getting by. According to David Reed’s article, Sequestration Spending Cuts Are Nothing Like European-Style Austerity, the most likely agreement to be reached is to extend to the end of the fiscal year these cuts. Based on the continued debacle through history and the likelihood of both parties wanting to avoid a repeat shutdown like in 1995, it appears that the government will muddle through another deadline. Rather than view it as European style austerity measures, as Reed says we can view the latest sequester fight as another example of Congressional gridlock. While some crave such measures, we can’t expect any sort of change while the current malaise continues. The real impact of the sequester can be seen in the millions of Americans suffering from the drastic cuts to employment and social programs, while Congressional members themselves leave unscathed. According to Sequestration: Austerity By Another Name by Terrance Heath, when asked about the public sector jobs that would be killed by the GOP cuts, John Boehner replied “So be it.” In April, weeks after the sequester was enacted, adopted the same slogan as millions of Americans struggle with the sequester which resembles the austerity measures in Europe. If Democrats continue to cooperate with Republicans to exempt corporations and the wealthy from the sequestration by avoiding across the board cuts, Americans will start paying attention and may even hear the Democrats join the Republicans in saying “so be it” to the pain inflicted by such arbitrary cuts.

While many trudge along living there lives as normally as possible, the grips of the sequestration are being felt all over the country with dramatic impact. The Huff Post set out a few weeks after the sequester was enacted to find at least a 100 stories about the sequester and its effect in just one week. What was found was that no one region of the country did not feel the sting as rural towns in Alaska, missile test sites in the Marshall Islands, military bases in Virginia, university towns across the country, and housing agencies in inner cities are all beginning to feel the cuts. Here are some of the stories:

1. Air Force base jobs lost in Tullahoma, Tenn. — The Aerospace Testing Alliance announced it is cutting 128 of 1,809 civilian jobs at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma starting April 19. It has also put in place a 20 percent pay cut and weekly furloughs for workers at a research facility. [Link]

2. Loss of jobs in Rock Island, Ill. — The U.S. Army garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, announced that it is firing 175 employees, 44 of whom are temporary workers, 131 of whom will see their jobs unrenewed when their terms expire. [Link]

3. Medical response times lengthened in central Nebraska. — Medical responders have had response times lengthened because of the closing of a control tower at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. [Link]

4. Food pantry closed in Murray, Utah. — The Salt Lake Community Action Program closed its food pantry, one of five locations that serve more than 1,000 people every month. Executive Director Cathy Hoskins told The Huffington Post that in addition to the closure, the organization has stopped paying into employees’ retirement plans, won’t fill an open job and told some staffers to take a week’s unpaid leave. “I’ve had one person retire, we’re not replacing them. We’re not doing any hiring at all,” Hoskins said. “We’re trying very hard to boost our volunteers, but this is hard work working in a pantry. And if you get a volunteer, usually it’s a short-term volunteer because it’s just very very difficult work. … No raises, no increases, none of that stuff. We’re cutting everything we possibly can.” [Link]

5. Research employees lost in Durham, N.C. — The Duke Clinical Research Institute is planning to “downsize” 50 employees. [Link]

6. Contractor jobs lost in southwest Oklahoma. — Northrop Grumman Information Systems Lawton, Okla., site issued 26 layoff notices. The defense contractor CGI is anticipating that sequestration would affect 270 workers at its Lawton site. [Link]

7. Health care jobs cut in Hampton Roads, Va. — Officials at Hampton Roads Planning District Commission announce that 1,600 jobs in the region’s health care sector will disappear. “It won’t be job cuts,” said James A. Clary, an economist with the group. “It will be not filling the positions.” [Link]

8. Health care workers laid off in Saranac Lake, N.Y. — Adirondack Health, a medical center at Lake Placid, announced that was laying off 18 workers after firing 17 in December. [Link]

9. Rehabilitation center for Native Americans closed in Sitka, Alaska. — The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced that on April 30, it is closing the Bill Brady Healing Center, a residential drug and alcohol treatment center for Alaska Natives. Michael Jenkins, communications director, said the approximately 20 people who work there will be transferred to other positions in the organization, furloughed or fired. “For the most part, because of our location here in southeast, alcohol and drug abuse has a very high incidence. So taking this away is going to make it difficult,” he said. [Link]

10. Education jobs lost in Sioux City, Iowa. — The Iowa Early Intervention education program is bracing for the loss of 11 teaching positions, while the Sioux City Community School Board is looking at potentially 30 staff positions being eliminated. [Link]

11. Convention industry suffers nationwide. — The cancellation of government trade shows and the reduction of private travel has begun taking a hit on the convention venue industry. [Link]

12. Tourism jobs take a hit in Savannah, Ga. — Fort Pulaski National Monument announced that it was hiring fewer seasonal employees this summer to deal with $68,000 in sequestration cuts. “It will have an impact,” Acting Superintendent Terri Wales told The Huffington Post. “We will lose one permanent positions and our staff is only 16. We will be short a couple seasonal positions this summer. we won’t be able to perform as many interpretive programs as we do in the summer months. Our grass will be growing a little higher.” [Link]

13. Workers furloughed in Syracuse, N.Y. — The Hancock Field Air National Guard Base will furlough 280 workers in the coming months and Syracuse city schools will lose over $1 million. [Link]

14. Cuts to workers at a missile-testing site in the Marshall Islands. — The U.S. ambassador to the Marshall Islands has been told that 15 percent of the workforce at the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll could lose jobs. [Link]

15. Families that rely on Head Start targeted in Bethlehem, Pa. — Allentown-based Community Services for Children has warned that 100 children in Lehigh Valley could lose their place in the Head Start program there. [Link]

16. Meals on Wheels cut in central Maine. — Spectrum Generations, central Maine’s agency on aging, will essentially have to cut 9 percent of its budget, meaning that programs like Meals on Wheels may not deliver to all the seniors who rely on it. [Link]

17. Fewer staffers for Head Start in Rio Grande Valley, Texas. — A local Head Start chapter froze the hiring of 19 staff positions in order to meet sequester cut demands. [Link]

18. Medical jobs at risk in Providence, R.I. — Lifespan, the nonprofit parent of major medical facilities including Rhode Island Hospital association, acknowledged significant budget problems caused, in part, by sequestration. The funding issues could reportedly result in the loss of 3,000 jobs at that association by 2021. [Link]

19. Shorter school week at Fort Bragg, N.C. — The military is considering shifting to a four-day school week, which would affect 84,000 students on military installations worldwide and 5,000 at Fort Bragg. Teachers may also face furloughs in the coming months. [Link]

20. Fewer children enrolled in Head Start in Cincinnati, Ohio. — The Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency is figuring out how it will cut its Head Start program, which may affect teacher positions, bus routes and students enrolled in the program. Right now, as many as 182 students may be dropped from the program, although Michelle Hopkins of CAA told The Huffington Post that the organization is still waiting for final budget numbers. “They are in limbo,” she said of the families that rely on Head Start. “They’re worried; they don’t want to lose their Head Start slot.” She added that her biggest concern is what will happen to the children who are cut because of sequestration. “Will they end up in sub-quality care? Will they end up with an older family member who doesn’t have the skills to teach them the skills they need at this point?” [Link]

21. Work-Study jobs cut in Chapel Hill, N.C. — University of North Carolina will cut 31 work-study jobs in the next academic year because of an $84,000 sequestration-related cut. “We have made lots of offers [to students] but we could use so much more in work study,” Shirley Ort, the school’s associate provost and director of scholarships and student aid told The Huffington Post. [Link]

22. Health care industry suffers in Dallas. — The Board of Managers at Parkland Memorial Hospital received word that it would lose $2 million this year. The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, meanwhile, said that 50,000 health care jobs could be lost in all of Texas if sequestration lasts through 2021. [Link]

23. Housing employees face possible layoffs in Joliet, Ill. — The Housing Authority of Joliet, already struggling, is going to lose nearly $900,000 due to sequestration. It recently sent layoff warnings to employees. [Link]

24. School aid slashed in Knoxville, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee’s financial aid office announced it would slash 33 student awards across two programs for the 2013-14 school year [Link]

25. Layoffs expected in Fort Lee, Va. — Fort Lee alerted the state that it projects a combined 168 layoffs in the next 60 days. [Link]

26. Scientific research at risk in Long Island, N.Y. — Officials at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider have begun airing concerns that their facility in Upton (which supports 860 jobs) is at risk of being gutted. [Link]

27. Less camping in Connell, Wash. — Scooteney Park has remained closed to campers because of sequestration. Day use remains intact. [Link]

28. Weeks of Head Start dropped in Iron County, Mo. — The Ironton Head Start Center said it will drop three weeks of coverage due to sequestration. [Link]

29. Air show cancelled in Rapid City, S.D. — Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base have cancelled the Dakota Thunder air show this year. It has been held every few years for decades at the base. [Link]

30. Funding for child care lost in Arizona. — The Department of Economic Security expects to lose nearly $3 million in child-care funding. That means the state must come up with extra funds in order to keep about 1,000 children of working parents in child care. [Link]

31. Medical and scientific research at risk in California. — A group of biomedical researchers report that California stands to lose $180 million in medical and scientific research. [Link]

32. Fewer volcanoes monitored in Fairbanks, Alaska. — The Alaska Volcano Observatory, which monitors volcanoes because ash cloud eruptions can impair intercontinental aviation, announced that it is cutting back some of its real-time monitoring because of sequestration. [Link]

33. Loss of jobs in Knoxville, Tenn. — Tellico Services Inc., announced that it was laying off approximately 85 of its 200 workers, citing a lack of orders from the military. [Link]

34. Hit to medical center in Indiana. — D. Craig Brater, dean of Indiana University’s School of Medicine, warned that, “sequestration will have a disproportionate impact on our academic medical center and our ability to care for our sickest and most vulnerable patients, both now and in the future.” [Link]

35. Fewer students in Head Start in Laramie, Wyo. — The local Head Start is losing at least $36,700 — eliminating 5 percent to 5.9 percent of this year’s budget. The group is still figuring out how to absorb the cuts, looking at eliminating an entire classroom or cutting staff positions. [Link]

36. Cut to unemployment benefits in the Virgin Islands. — Weekly unemployment checks for Virgin Islanders will be cut by 10.7 percent. [Link]

37. Poverty-fighting program suspended in West Virginia. — West Virginia workers with VISTA — the national service program designed to fight poverty — remain in limbo due to sequestration. For the rest of the fiscal year, there will be no new VISTA projects in the state, no new VISTA workers starting service and those whose terms end will not be allowed to renew for another year with the group. [Link]

38. Furloughs at Head Start in Allegany County, Pa. — The non-profit ACCORD Corp. announced that 60 employees at the Head Start program would be forced to take a week off of work without pay and that several management positions were being reduced from 12 months to 10 months in length. “We took the tact, in the short term, to not eliminate any staff positions between now and September in hopes that some budget will be resolved,” Charlie Kalthoff, executive director, told The Huffington Post. “We eliminated some work days and cut back on staffing hours but didn’t eliminate positions.” [Link]

39. No military aircraft at show in Louisville, Ky. — Thunder Over Lousiville organizers said they have been told that they will not get military aircraft for the show this year, due to sequestration. [Link]

40. Public services cut in Erie, Pa. — The Erie County Department of Human Services estimates that it will lose $1.9 million to $2.7 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year because of sequestration, meaning the agency will likely have to “end up cutting programs, providing less services.” [Link]

41. Possible furloughs in Orange County, Calif. — More than 2,600 civilian employees at Southern California military bases may be forced to take unpaid leave in the coming weeks. [Link]

42. Disruption to public broadcasting in Virginia. — Blue Ridge PBS is shutting down two transmitters that carry the station’s over-the-air digital signal to southwest Virginia and Tennessee. [Link]

43. Flight 93 Memorial less accessible in Stoystown, Pa. — The National Park Service is reducing the number of hours the public can visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, which honors the heroism of the passengers aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. The monument will start operating its longer summer hours on May 1, instead of April 1 as planned, and it will likely hire fewer seasonal staff employees and have fewer interpretative programs. [Link]

44. Unemployment benefits reduced in Lancaster, Pa. — Approximately 99,000 people in Pennsylvania will see their unemployment compensation reduced by 10.7 percent. In Lancaster County, it was reported that some 2,700 people may lose needed benefits. [Link]

45. Research funding cut in Gainesville, Fla. — The University of Florida said that it is expecting a $14 million cut in federal research funding. It has more than 1,000 active research projects. [Link]

46. Airport tower closed in Frederick, Md. — Less than a year after it opened, sequestration is forcing the closure of Frederick Municipal Airport’s control tower. It’s the busiest general aviation airport in the state, with about 130,000 annual flight operations. [Link]

47. Air show cancelled in Cleveland, Ohio — The 2013 Cleveland Air Show has been cancelled. [Link]

48. School jobs slashed in Hampton Roads, Va. — Faced with a budget shortfall and another $2.5 million lost due to sequestration, Hampton City Schools are slashing $10 million and more than 193 positions. Eighty-six teacher jobs and 59 instruction support staff are up for elimination. [Link]

49. Medicare patients turned away in Manchester, Conn. — With sequestration cutting Medicare payments to doctors, at least one private practice sent out a letter saying it would no longer be able to afford treating Medicare patients, effective April 1. [Link]

50. No overtime for customs agents in Long Beach, Calif. — Customs agents at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are seeing their overtime cut. [Link]

51. Furloughs in Portsmouth, N.H. — At the Pease Air National Guard Base, commanders said they expect military technicians to be the hardest by sequestration, which is furloughing some civilian employees. One-third of the full-time force at the base is technicians. [Link]

52. Tourists face fewer services in Harkers Island, N.C. — Cape Lookout National Seashore will have fewer staffers and reduced operations during its busy season. It’s expecting a 5 percent cut to its $2.4 million budget and officials expect to lose two seasonal employees and another unfilled permanent spot. [Link]

53. Officials may have to return federal dollars in Montana. — Montana and other states that receive funding through the Secure Rural Schools Act may have to give back money to Uncle Sam. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking Montana to return $1.145 million due to sequestration. [Link]

54. Risk to campers in Oklahoma. — The opening of campgrounds along the Arkansas River is being delayed with the possibility that they may not open at all. [Link]

55. Army band cancels concert in Orangeburg, S.C. — The Army Band’s free concert at the Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School has been cancelled. [Link]

56. Fewer people served by housing authority in Huntsville, Ala. — [Link] Five percent of the Huntsville Housing Authority’s budget will be gone for 2013, in part due to sequestration. The agency estimates it will be serving approximately 300 fewer people as part of the federal Section 8 housing voucher program. [Link]

57. Blue Ridge Parkway tourism hit in Virginia and North Carolina. — Some of the National Park Service programming that is traditionally free to the public along the Blue Ridge Parkway has been put on hold for this year. There will be fewer seasonal employees, meaning some facility closures as well as reduced services and hours. [Link]

58. Less access for people with disabilities in Loyalsock Township, Pa. — The township anticipates that it won’t be able to make as many curbs handicapped accessible as planned because of a reduction in Community Development Block Grant funds. [Link]

59. Possible layoffs in southwestern Illinois. — Federal contractor Aero NavData may lay off 45 employees next month due to budget cuts. Corrections officers at the federal prison in Greenville, Ill., will be furloughed for 14 days. [Link]

60. Cuts to education in Harlan County, Ky. — Officials at Harlan County Schools said they anticipate that sequestration will affect “a lot of employment” in its programs, from special education to various federal grant projects. [Link]

61. White House staffers receive furlough notices in D.C. — The Obama administration announced that 480 employees in the Office of Management and Budget were given notice that they’d have to take 10 days off from April 21 to Sept. 7. In addition, White House staff were forced to curtail the use of air cards due to sequester. [Link]

62. Career development in Portsmouth, N.H. — The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Women’s Resource Network is losing money that it uses for a program designed to interest female students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. [Link]

63. Help for the unemployed reduced in Utah. — The State Department of Workforce Services announced a 12.8 percent cut in emergency unemployment compensation would begin on April 28. [Link]

64. U.S. history education cut in Williamsburg, Va. — The Colonial National Historical Park announced that, in order to meet a $336,706 budget cut, it would reduce visitor services. [Link]

65. Uncertainty for dairy farmers nationwide. –The U.S. Agriculture Department traditionally collects data and puts out monthly reports on milk production. Dairy farmers use those reports to determine production, while milk processors and brokers use them to set prices. Under sequestration, these reports have been suspended, alarming farmers. “Not having the reports can have significant impacts because there is no way of knowing what the supply will be,” said Greg Bussler, a Wisconsin statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. [Link]

66. Army entertainment cancelled in Clover, S.C. — The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus has canceled the concert scheduled for April 8. [Link]

67. Teaching jobs slashed in North Carolina. — U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) briefed local teachers about the possibility of $25 million in education cuts and 350 teaching jobs being lost in the state. [Link]

68. Parks face fewer resources in Montana. — Glacier National Park announced that it was reducing seasonal staff and trail maintenance to meet a $700,000 budget cut. [Link]

69. Ships called back to San Diego, Calif. — The USS Thatch was called back to its home port, at the directive of the Navy. In addition, the San Diego-based USS Rentz and USS Jefferson City had their deployments cancelled for April. [Link]

70. Hospitals slashing services in Florida. — The president of the Florida Hospital Association estimated that state hospitals would suffer a $2 billion hit during the next decade. [Link]

71. Education jobs lost in Klamath and Trinity River, Calif. — The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District is laying off one district administrator and several teachers. [Link]

72. Airport closure in Lewiston, Idaho. — The Lewiston Nez-Perce Airport announced it would close in April. [Link]

73. Dire warnings in Fairfax County, Va. — Fairfax County Executive Ed Long warned northern Virginians to “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” and to “set aside” money for the tough times sequestration will bring. [Link]

74. Housing hit in Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is preparing to lose $13.9 million in funds that it uses to help poor families pay rent. “We subsidize the rent,” the group’s executive director, LaShelle Dozier, told The Huffington Post. “If we stop that, then you have a landlord with a tenant who can’t pay the rent. And then they have to go through the eviction process.” [Link]

75. Head Start staffers lose retirement funds in central Florida. — Local Head Start staffers are absorbing as much of the pain from sequestration as possible, so that the families they serve won’t be as affected. Mid-Florida Community Services will stop contributing to the retirement funds of its 225 Head Start staffers as of the first pay period in April. [Link]

76. Loss of jobs at Natchez Trace Parkway, Tenn. — The Natchez Trace Parkway is stopping its job creation. Five vacant permanent positions will not be filled, along with 15 seasonal employee jobs. Staff also will close and reduce services and operations. [Link]

77. Education hit in Kentucky. — Kentucky Department of Education officials hosted a webinar in which state officials told them they would get a cut of roughly $31.8 million. [Link]

78. Uncertainty at aging centers in Twin Falls, Idaho. — The College of Southern Idaho’s Office on Aging is expecting a 4.9 percent reduction in budget. But officials there had yet to hear a definitive answer. [Link]

79. Justice impaired in Los Angeles. — The biggest federal court in the nation will close its clerk’s office for seven Fridays over the next few months in order to save money. Chief Judge George King in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said sequestration will “impair our ability to provide the services that we have been providing.” [Link]

80. Community organizations cut in Kalamazoo, Mich. — Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services’ Lease/Purchase Program will get no funding this year after having received $200,922 in federal funds last year. [Link]

81. Head Start positions lost in Wichita, Kan. — The Head Start program in Witchita is ending services for 74 children and eliminating 10 staff positions due to sequestration. [Link]

82. Tax revenues drop in Taos, N.M. — Local government is not expecting to get $80,000 in compensation for the absence of tax revenue from federally owned public lands. [Link]

83. Housing services cut in New Orleans. — Authorities at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, facing a 17 percent reduction in its housing services budget, recalled 700 Section 8 housing vouchers for rental assistance. [Link]

84. Unemployed warned in Idaho. — The state Department of Labor warned 6,000 extended benefit claimants that their payments would be reduced by 10.7 percent beginning March 31. [Link]

85. Special ed cut in Sacramento, Calif. — Sacramento City Unified School District announced that it would cut special education teacher training and help for low-income families as part of a $2.6 million sequester hit. San Juan Unified, meanwhile, was facing a $830,000 loss in special ed funding, and $920,000 in funds to support low-income students. [Link]

86. Homeless shelters hit in Stillwater, Okla. — Mission of Hope, a shelter in the community, announced that it was losing $12,500 in grant money because of the sequester. [Link]

87. Housing aid chopped in San Benito, Texas. — The San Benito Housing Authority said it would have 88 percent of the budget it had from last year because of sequester. [Link]

88. Small hospitals concerned in southern Illinois. — Local hospital CEOs relayed fears to Rep Bill Enyart (D-Ill.) that they $128,000 in sequester cuts would be debilitating with the state already not making payments. [Link]

89. Housing employees furloughed in Indianapolis, Ind. — Indianapolis Housing Agency announced that it would furlough employees nine days this year in addition to implementing a hiring freeze. [Link]

90. Cuts to essential services Ann Arbor, Mich. — Washtenaw County is grappling with a 5 percent cut to programs that help poor individuals. Mary Jo Callan, director of the Office of Community and Economic Development, estimated that 11,000 fewer meals will be served through the Senior Nutrition Program and 630 fewer people will be helped through the Employment Service Program. [Link]

91. Temporary jobs lost in Anniston, Ala. — The Anniston Army Depot announced it would not renew the contracts of 371 temporary workers past March 30 due to sequester cuts and war drawdown. [Link]

92. Head Start hit in Morris County, N.J. — Head Start Community Program of Morris County executive director Eileen Jankunis said that the program was contemplating turning away 17 to 34 children because of the loss of $113,000 in federal funds. Five teacher jobs were also potentially at risk. [Link]

93. Housing aid hit in northwest Georgia. — The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Finance Director Phillip Steers told the board about the possibility that it could have to work off of 82 percent of its budget. [Link]

94. Courts closing in Salt Lake City, Utah. — Utah officials announced that they would limit Friday federal court openings beginning in April. Criminal cases will have to be heard on the other four days of the work week. [Link]

95. Housing help cut in Sherman, Texas. — Officials announced that they could lose 31 vouchers from their Section 8 public housing program.[Link]

96. Teachers lose jobs in Granite City, Ill. — The Granite City School Board voted to lay off nine teachers and four district employees at the end of the week to help with budget cuts and a $400,000 sequestration hit. [Link]

97. Horse help reduced in Reno, Nev. — The Bureau of Land Management reduced hours at the Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno because of budget cuts and low adoption rates. [Link]

98. Fewer spots for medical students in Albany, N.Y. — Hospitals with medical schools anticipate that sequestration won’t let them take on as many students as residents. Officials are warning that in Albany, where there’s a shortage of doctors, there will be fewer residency spots and in the long run, potentially, fewer doctors since residents tend to stay in the area in which they train. [Link]

99. Dirtier restrooms at parks in San Francisco. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s $25 million budget is losing $1.4 million due to sequestration. Due to furloughs and the decision not to fill vacant positions, services such as sweeping, maintenance, trash pickup, restroom cleaning will be reduced. [Link]

100. Cruise passengers inconvenienced on the high seas. — Passengers on a Carnival Cruise ship were forced to wait several hours on board, despite being docked, because of delays at Customs and Immigration. Officials blamed the sequestration for the delays. [Link]

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