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Sequester Will Mean Decline In Quality Of Life
Published:
3/28/2013 1:04:42 PM


Last Thursday, A coalition of labor organizers, government employees and veterans staged a protest in front of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center to focus attention on the sequester’s eventual impact and to encourage members of Congress to repeal the legislation. The Charleston protest was held in conjunction with protests in cities across the nation. Photo: Tolbert Smalls, Jr.
 


Sequestration, the federal government’s automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 and will continue incrementally over the next 10 years, eventually will impact most Americans, especially those depending on government provided services the most. South Carolina AFL-CIO Vice President and Charleston Labor Council President Erin McKee says the sequester ultimately will mean a decline in their quality of life.

Last week McKee and a coalition of labor organizers, government employees and veterans staged a protest at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston to focus attention on the sequester’s eventual impact and to encourage members of Congress to repeal the legislation. The Charleston protest was held in conjunction with protests in cities across the nation.

The sequester, essentially a compromise between the Obama administration and Republicans wanting less spending in government, achieves that through across the board agency cuts while preserving tax loopholes for the wealthy, military defense spending and corporate America.

Critics say the sequester places the brunt of reduced government spending on citizens who need services and employment most.

Federal workers will be laid off as a result of the sequester cuts. Next month three airport control towers in South Carolina - in Hilton Head, Greenville and Myrtle Beach - will discontinue service.

In some agencies workers will be mandated to take up to 22 days off without pay by September 30. Government-funded agencies will feel the budget cuts.

“Charleston has a lot of military employees,” McKee said. With cuts to agency funding, the trickle-down impact will affect government assisted apprenticeship programs, medical care, mental health care, schools and senior citizens services.

Key points to the March 20 protest emphasizded the sequestration already is costing jobs and damaging the economy. Its $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years will hurt the economy even more.

“They’re doing it in stages so that the effects won’t be felt all at once,” McKee said. But the net result will be less and less quality of life, she said.

“The sky really is falling,” she said in referencing the ‘Chicken Little’ fable. “It’s all about what kind of America we want. Do we want kids going to school hungry when the biggest amount of money we spend is going towards wars?”


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