Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making A List

Over the weekend the White House prepared a list of what states stand to lose if the sequester hits.

The reports details the consequences for popular areas of government like public health, education and research. It’s part of a broader public relations offensive to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition to raising revenue as part of a deal to avoid what leaders of both parties agree would be devastating consequences if the cuts go through.

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The top lines: This year alone, across the country, 70,000 children would lose access to head start; 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur; as many as 12,000 scientists and students would be hit by cuts to research and innovation; up to 373,000 mentally ill adults and children would go untreated, and small businesses may see $900 million in reduced loan guarantees.

Security and law enforcement would also be hit. The White House estimates that the FBI could lose over 1,000 federal agents; customs and border patrol would effectively lose some 5,000 employees; and both the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration would have to furlough most of their workers.

Scroll through the list and see what they say about your state.  Here’s Florida’s.

Teachers and Schools:  Florida will lose approximately $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 95,000 fewer students would be served and approximately130 fewer schools would receive funding.

  • Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Florida will lose approximately $31.1 million in funds for about 380 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

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Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Florida would lose about $5.2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Florida could lose another $1.1 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

They can talk about the sequestration in general terms about the deficit and spending, but as Charlie Pierce points out, that kind of talk doesn’t get outside the Beltway.  It’s the little things that matter and have the impact when it hits home on the local news between Ellen and Jeopardy!

Every laid-off defense worker is a story. Every closed national park is a story, weeping children live at 5:30 with Sarah, or Jennifer, or Russell from Our News Team discreetly herding the distraught tot into camera range. Local columnists can find easy columns in closed Head Start classrooms. Empty airport terminals make for outstanding video. This was a serious act of pre-emption aimed at using everything that’s maudlin and provincial about local TV news. You wanted the White House to play tough.

Tip O’Neill was right: all politics is local.

2 barks and woofs on “Making A List

  1. FL may suffer (it needs every penny) but Virginia, particularly NoVA, is going to be crushed. 90,000 immediate Defense contractor furloughs? Wow. This little corner of the Teahad is finally going to get what they demanded: lower spending by Big Gubmint. And they’re finally about to realise precisely what that means.

  2. Great to see the look at the possible fallout for Ohio and Michigan when the cuts go through. Many people working in Toledo live across the border in the Sick State of Michigan where taxes have been kept low by the Republican dominated legislature for years. Both states are dependent on federal help to keep running whether or not their constituents realize it. Highlighted are K-12 schools where teaching jobs are at risk, Head Start services, clean air and water controls, military jobs, law enforcement, drug treatment, crime victim services, childhood vaccinations and child care help for working-poor parents, public health services, nearly $1 million cut from senior meal programs in both states.

    Not surprisingly, Joe Public has no idea about “sequester” partly due to having turned a deaf ear to the wrangling going on non-stop in Congress and partly due to a general “let them figure it out, I’m busy” attitude. Perhaps when his family sees the impact of the cuts he’ll pick up the phone – if he really knows who his congressman/woman is.

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