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.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
The 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.
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."
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:
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!!!!!!!!!
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