Sequestration: Cutting Off Limbs Won’t Stop the Bleeding
The Ides of March – March 15 – marks the day in 44 B.C. that Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate. This year in the United States, If Congress and the President reach the First of March without a budget compromise, the state of our economy could become just as bloody and the federal agencies that protect our food and water could be crippled beyond repair.
These severe cuts being threatened are part of a process that Congress invented called “sequestration,” which comes after several years of political show-downs including a committee that was anything but super, an imaginary “fiscal cliff” and deadline after deadline being pushed back. Sequestration was supposed to be the ominous bitter pill that we would never actually need because just the sheer threat of it would force both parties to behave and do their job. But here we are – about 72 hours away from 8 percent across-the-board budget cuts in many departments of the federal government. You don’t need to look much further than the front page of your local newspaper (no matter where you live) to see how these cuts will impact all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable members of society and the middle class.
Without a last-minute solution, these cuts will lead to a variety of dire problems across all areas of our economy. Some examples of the deepest impacts include:
- Pulling government meat inspectors from slaughterhouses around the country, which means less meat in the market, and fewer jobs for workers in those communities;
- Fewer inspections of medical devices and food establishments this year, threatening the health and safety of people around the country;
- Over 600,000 low-income women, infants and children being dropped from the food safety-net programs they depend on for their daily nutrition;
- Less funding for critical water infrastructure repair, maintenance and improvement.
By playing chicken with the budget, our legislators have brought our food and water into dangerous territory, and we only have a few days left to stop the worst of these cuts. While the popular joke these days is about how boring sequestration is and how Americans have “Show Down Fatigue,” we should all be outraged and tell our members of Congress to stop the madness. Afterall, these 21 animals feel strongly about the sequester and we should too. We don’t deserve to pay the potentially deadly price for their inaction. Let them know now.