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When the beginning of sequestration didn't immediately cause a massive economic crash and widespread chaos, politicians and many national political reporters basically wrote it off as a non-event. But actually, if you look at the local level, sequestration is definitely having an impact. It's really not hard to find—you just have to look at the local level, as Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel report:
The Huffington Post set out to do an extensive review of sequestration stories from the past week, with the goal of finding 100. What seemed like a daunting task was completed in hours.
Their list includes financial aid and work-study slashed for college students; Head Start programs cutting kids, cutting staff, cutting retirement contributions for staff; housing agencies not being able to offer vouchers or other rental assistance to as many families; courts having to close on Fridays; national parks reducing public education programs and bathroom cleanings; fewer curbs being made handicapped accessible; and more. In other words, many of the cuts the White House warned us were coming are already happening. The entire government and economy didn't fall off a sequester cliff into a sea of boiling oil, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious effects happening now and growing.

And while the continuing resolution Congress passed has allowed some agencies to avoid furloughs, others haven't and won't. The Huffington Post list includes closures of air traffic control towers at three small airports, for instance, with one lengthening medical response times, and you don't have to work the Google very hard to find more such closures. People upset about those closures continue to frame them as unnecessary and political, but Brian Beutler explains why they're actually necessary:

[Y]ou might think every airport or every tower in the whole country would be required to scale back its operations by the same amount. But that’s not how the FAA is structured. And by the agency’s reading of the law, it can make outsized cuts at low-traffic airports to limit consequences both at these airports and around the country, for air travel and for the national economy.

“These towers control traffic at airports with lower activity levels,” wrote Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a co-authored op-ed. “Together, they handle less than 3 percent of commercial operations nationally, and less than 1 percent of air passengers.”

So the little airports get hit hard because they're little and making cuts there affects fewer flights and fewer people. It spreads the pain to more different airports and their angry executives, but disrupts the nation's air travel less.

Not that that makes it a good thing! The vast majority of these cuts are bad things, whether they're keeping poor families from getting housing assistance, kicking kids out of Head Start, cutting workers' paychecks, or closing air traffic control towers. But Republicans shouldn't get to simultaneously pretend the sequester is no big deal and there's no urgency about ending it and scream about their local airport having problems. And national political reporters need to look local and realize that this is happening and it's hurting people.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 11:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Invisible People and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, (4+ / 0-)
    In other words, many of the cuts the White House warned us were coming are already happening. The entire government and economy didn't fall off a sequester cliff into a sea of boiling oil, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious effects happening now and growing.
    If the end of the world didn't come about, how are you going to convince people that the sequester IS the end of the world?

    What happens if the sequester fails to sufficiently hurt the public and people stop caring?

  •  dem party needs ads tying sequestration to limbaug (3+ / 0-)

    h and the rest of the talk radio blowhards.

    they're instrumental selling the notion of the 'debt crisis' and limbaugh spent the month before the debt ceiling deadline in 2011 telling the teabaggers (reps and constituencies) all over the country that default would be no big deal and  would force obama to make cuts. i wrote about it here:

    making the tie in to right wing radio/limbaugh, using his own words, instead of letting the GOP use those stations to keep blaming obama, would be a much better strategy than to keep playing catch up as usual.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 12:53:57 PM PDT

  •  Not the end of the world, but perhaps... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This sequester nonsense is going to be much worse than Republican media pretend but it is nothing compared
    tp where Ryan and the deficit hawks want to go.

    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill

  •  so true. You may not feel the impact today, but, (0+ / 0-)

    you likely will or someone you know will very shortly, if they haven't already.

  •  I am glad for this diary. I don't what this to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, shanikka

    be so relatively gradual and under the radar that it all becomes the "new normal".  We've already had much more than enough of that.

    Link to John Conyers petition to stop the sequester:  (sometimes Michigan gets it right)

  •  Sequestration is much less painful... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace the most vulnerable people in our society than any budget that could be passed in our current balance of power.  That's my governing assumption-cum-observation.  When someone can show me I'm wrong about that, I'll change my mind about sequestration.  Showing me a fantasy budget by House progressives doesn't count, by the way.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:14:03 PM PDT

  •  On our recent trip to Santa Fe, NM, (0+ / 0-)
    ...national parks reducing public education programs and bathroom cleanings....
    we didn't make a run to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks Nat'l Monument becuase we couldn't confirm it would be open when we got there.

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:21:49 PM PDT

  •  The scariest part of this story... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Huffington Post set out to do an extensive review of sequestration stories from the past week
    The Huffington Post is doing better journalism than 90+% of the MSM. The rest of the media has basically devolved into trying to figure out ways to finger someone for the blame without looking at damage it is causing. Who'd a thunk it? The HuffPo doing actual reporting.

    You can't assassinate the character of any of modern conservative. You'd have to find where it was buried, dig it up, resurrect it, then kill it. And killing a zombie isn't really assassination, is it?

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

  •  Sequester is a class act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you look at the effects of the sequester, try and take note of its effects on housing programs for the poor, educational programs used by the poor, nutrition programs that help the poor.  Yup.  The sequester is just a bit of austerity lite, isn't it?  

    Meanwhile, the one percent saw a 121 percent increase in wealth in 2012, while the rest of us actually lost ground.  While I fully understand the argument that we need to all become janitors for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's spendthrift ways that got so bad they looked like a couple of desperate housewives at the mall, what I don't understand is how fiercely the Republicans protect the very rich.  

    If there's a need for austerity, it's among the very rich.  Mitt Romney bragged about his 10 mansions, yet over a million people right now are absolutely homeless.  I live in a mixed neighborhood with Latinos and myself on the bottom rung and young professionals on the top rung, and I can see where the tax cuts are going: to BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches, Lincolns, Cadillacs and ritzy condominiums.  Of course, the roads are a mess.  

    This brings up an important question: What good is a luxury car if the roads upon which it rolls are filled with potholes?  

    Tax the rich.  Help the poor.  

  •  I feel it today... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We are so backlogged on educational benefits for daughter trying to start School on the GI Bill.....everything has to be adjudicated.   She counted on the money from going to school. We wait and can't claim her as a dependent.  Can't get a high school job so she volunteers for credits with the DA's office.  Hoping maybe a scholorship is in there.

      My son started his carpet cleaning business back up just to have slashed  prices and then people cancel cleaning jobs due to their layoffs and then eventually the machine broke.  Peopel are hurting for those extras and businesses are renting Rent a Vac to do it.....Habitat came today to pick up something we donated and they said they are getting hardly ANY donations.  The kids are home next door because of Head start going down.. The meals on wheels isn't happening and in Florida that is a big deal.  We have tried to pick up slack on helping some people with going to the store for them till we started feeling the pinch....  Nobody has jobs, money, and the costs keeps going up.  I have no clue where those figures of income and housing in Fl came from because everyone around here has either been foreclosed on, kicked out or laid off.

    have you noticed no one will wait one day on a bill?  They know when fix incomers get paid and forget any illness.  I pay out of pocket and put in claims so sometimes we ask them to wait a day or two like between the1st and 3rd or in my case ss does not come till the mid month.  Crazy.  it is crazy....Veterans cannot visit National Park for down time because they are closed.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:28:19 PM PDT

  •  I think the most effective cuts would be... (0+ / 0-)

    to cut those bastions of conservatism that are most dependent on gov't welfare from the rest of the world via their airports, then see how those constituents in Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL and Columbia, SC complain about how it's destroying their economies at the same time they say the sequester is no big deal.

    •  That's what's happening (0+ / 0-)

      Some of these airports are taxpayer subsidies for the nearby Republican ranchers and miners that fly in and out of them.

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 04:03:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boo hoo about those airports (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, smartalek

    Last time I looked, poor people didn't own airplanes.  If these outposts need air traffic controllers for safety, then tax the planes that use them.

    So sorry it's rural areas that are hurt (not). Most of them vote Republican, want smaller government and get more than their fair share of federal tax dollars.

    Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

    by GwenM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:54:44 PM PDT

  •  The cuts need to affect plutocrats the most. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For instance cut the staff at airports that serve exclusive, rich people.

    •  Usually (0+ / 0-)

      Are any of these towers in Alaska or maybe near native American reservations?


      But not many Democrats are flying in or out of Provo, Utah.

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 04:04:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I live about 1/2 mile from the final (0+ / 0-)

    decent to SEATAC...  I can tell they are having a slow down as the ARTCC/TRACON are spacing the aircraft more.  I am also seeing more "go arounds", as aircraft are attempting to land and have to abort and go around to try again.

    "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

    by doingbusinessas on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 04:02:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm about to feel it (0+ / 0-)

    I'm long-term unemployed, and my unemployment check is about to get a serious cut this month. Thanks, Congress! I'm doing so well affording everything on my little bit of unemployment (/snark), and you guys turned me down for disability (I was fired from my job of sixteen years because I was too ill to do it anymore.) I'm contesting the disability, and will hopefully get it in the end, but the sequester is coming at a really bad time. And the sequester may end up affecting my husband's job as well down the line.

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