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Sequester could affect your summer

Think the sequester affects only federal employees? Think again. The budget cuts may cause you to adjust your plans in the next few months.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 11, 2013 2:48PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News logoThe sequester -- $85 billion in federal budget cuts -- went into effect March 1. If you've been following the news and thinking it will only affect federal employees who face furloughs, you've missed a big chunk of the story. 

 

The cuts could eventually affect lots of things -- including your vacation and other summer plans.

There's no way to know with certainty the exact effects budget cuts will have or how long they'll last. The sequester is highly politicized, so there's likely exaggeration on both sides.

 

Image: Washington, D.C. (© Radius Images/Jupiterimages)Here are some potential results: 

 

1. Fewer and more-expensive flights, and longer lines at the airport

Reuters says the Federal Aviation Administration will lose $627 million, which will result in furlough notices to most employees, including air traffic controllers. The FAA is also in the midst of a hiring freeze and has lost funding for overtime.

 

Fewer controllers means fewer flights, which could lead to higher prices.

 

Smaller airports could be doing without air traffic controllers entirely. The Washington Post reported that the Garden City Regional Airport in Kansas lost its air traffic controllers, leaving pilots to manage flights on their own.

 

And if you plan to fly this summer, get to the airport extra early. The cuts will result in fewer TSA agents, which will mean longer lines at security checkpoints.

 

2. Slower service from the IRS

According to MarketWatch, Internal Revenue Service employees are facing five to seven unpaid days off, which would not take place until the summer. But considering the IRS already has 5,000 fewer employees than it did two years ago, expect delays in reviews and audits. The IRS says refunds won't be delayed; let's hope that's right.

 

3. Fewer hours at national parks

According to NPR, the National Park Service will slash $134 million from its budget. The cuts have already led to delays in park openings.

 

Reuters says most of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park will stay closed for two weeks longer than usual after the park cut $1.75 million from its budget and couldn't afford the snowplows needed to open the roads.

 

If you're planning to visit a national park this summer, you may encounter shorter hours, fewer open restrooms and campgrounds, less-tidy public spacesand fewer park rangers.

 

4. Fewer work-study programs

The sequester will prevent thousands of college students from receiving federal aid for low-income students and from getting work-study jobs, sending them scrambling to find more money for school. (Pell grants will not be affected.) The state facing the hardest blow is California, according to this chart from The Washington Post. Other states hit hard will include New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.

 

5. Riskier food

CBS News reports that sequestration cuts at the Food and Drug Administration will result in 2,100 fewer food inspectors. In addition, a law requiring the agency to increase inspections at farms and food-processing plants may be delayed.


FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told The Associated Press:

"We're going to be struggling with how to really grapple with the cuts of sequestration ... clearly we will be able to provide less of the oversight functions and we won't be able to broaden our reach to new facilities either, so inevitably that increases risk."

6. Riskier waters

According to the AP, budget cuts will force the U.S. Coast Guard to take fewer flights and spend less time patrolling.

 

7. Less disaster assistance 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency could lose hundreds of millions in funding. Some estimates, like this one from The Washington Post, peg the total at nearly $900 million, including $580 million in disaster relief. 

 

8. A possible recession relapse

With less federal spending and thousands of furloughed employees making less income and pumping less money back into the economy, the likelihood of a recession increases. Should that occur, the effects could be felt long after summer.

 

What do you think? Will the sequester cause real problems like those above, or do you welcome the cuts and think the warnings are nothing but political posturing? Tell us below.

 

More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

8Comments
Mar 12, 2013 1:25PM
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Sounds like the typical left warnings. There answers are always the same. MORE MONEY and Bigger government. Someone should post the warnings BARRY GOLDWATER  talk about back in the

late 50s and early 60s. Then compare the size of government then and now. They just keep asking

for more and continue to suck up more of the peoples money. Boy was he right!!!!!!!!!

Mar 12, 2013 9:15AM
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All these things to impact the people...and we still gave $250 million to Egypt.  Obama WANTS us to feel these cuts.  There is so much waste they could cut and no one would feel it...but Obama wants us to feel it.  These risks are ALL MANDATED BY OBAMA.
Mar 11, 2013 10:17PM
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Don't fly on vacation, already have our tax refund in the bank, don't go to national parks, and the rest is nonsense. Try again, MSN.
Mar 13, 2013 12:05PM
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Hey sensible31648...you may not fly or go to national parks...but I bet you eat! Government employees have not had a raise in a 4 years...and with everything going up...they are actually getting less and less money. Try living on less money than you had 4 years ago....private sector doesn't and neither do the ones pushing the sequestration! True there is excess spending but it is not in the employees pay. Government employees make considerably less than the same job pays in the private sector...seems there is not that many quirks to being a government employee. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone!
Mar 13, 2013 12:01PM
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Hey sensible31648...you may not fly or go to national parks...but I bet you eat! Government employees have not had a raise in $ very LONG years...and with everything going up...they are actually getting less and less money. Try living on less money than you had 4 years ago....private sector doesn't and neither do the onespushing the sequestration! rue there is excess spending but it is not in the employees pay. Government emplyess make considerably less than the same job pays in the private sector..seems there is not that many quirks to being a government employee. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone!
Mar 13, 2013 8:43AM
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So far its seems like government employees are taking the hit here. SInce they have historically been recession proof previously and those jobs are coveted for safety its got to be a new concept for them. No one wants to anyone suffer but we have all taken hits during the recession and laid off employess we did not want to lay off. Doing more with less is going to be the forseeable future. I had a family member who survived the great depression she lived a different life becuase of that experience she used to day "always keep a buck in your sock" which means save for a rainy day this is why.
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