The Sequester: Shenanigans or Serious Business?

Few people in metro Atlanta know what to expect if the sequester happens. Will you or somebody you know be affected if federal budget cuts kick in?

If the federal government imposes the $85 billion "sequester" cuts, which could go into effect Friday night, the changes may not be immediately apparent for many metro Atlanta residents.

Many of the departments and agencies likely to be affected, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are themselves unsure how they would be affected.

"It is not clear how individual field offices will be impacted by the implementation of the sequester," said Stephen Emmett, spokesman for the FBI's Atlanta field office.

Politico reports that the Atlanta-based disease detectives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could see their funding cut, hampering their ability to mobilize if there is a public health crisis.

CDC Director Tom Frieden told POLITICO:

“It would impact every CDC program. It would make us less able to find and stop outbreaks.”

Federal funds flow to state health departments, but Georgia health officials said it's too soon to say how services to the public would be affected.

"If sequestration does occur, which and to what extent programs will be impacted is not clear," said Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam.

Atlanta's Universities could lose funds to help low-income students. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators  has offered estimates on how much could be at stake in lost opportunity grants and work-study funds for students:

  • Emory: 151,348
  • Georgia Tech: $121,523
  • Georgia State: $74,228
  • Ogelthorpe: $5,871
  • Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University would not face any loss of funds, according to the report.

And nearby, hundreds of workers at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta could face layoffs if the cuts kick in, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Most federal parks in metro Atlanta are expected to remain open. A White House report released on Sunday said "many of the 398 national parks across the country would be partially or fully closed" but that isn't expected to happen immediately.

Rudy Evenson, spokesman for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, said sequestration would affect summer hires for the park service.

What's your take on the sequester? Do you or somebody you know work at a federal agency or contractor? Are you making plans for a possible pay cut? Or do you think this is all a lot of political grand-standing?

Norman Rogers March 04, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Eddie, Instead of RAISING the SS tax up to $350K, how about making the SS available to workers after 60 or 80 quarter (15 to 20 years of work), instead of only 40 quarters or ten years. Who only works for 10 years, then collects for the rest of their life? Interesting point on Peterson, I don't have time to investigate that. The Peterson website is a wealth of non-political information. The idea of privatizing SS should be an option left up to each worker. Guarantee plans (traditional SS) would pay out less than a newly defined risk-based plan, at the option of each worker...
Norman Rogers March 04, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Eddie, What about the current Administrations proposal to offer workers an optional benefit guarantee paid by mandating a portion of portfolio assets toward US notes? I'll say this, BOTH sides just LIE. This plan is being falsely labelled as "Gov't to seize 401K Plans," a durn lie. http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/iras-401ks-and-you/
Eddie E. March 04, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Norman, Identify 5 people who receive full benefit after 40 quarters. I didn't think you could. I understand you have a different, ideologically driven view of the world. I am simply attempting to demonstrate we have attempted forming policy around the ideology you are approaching and we have ample evidence of it's failure. Civilization has it's costs and revenue needs to be returned to the levels that have PROVEN to work.
Norman Rogers March 04, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I appreciate your point of view, Eddie. Unless BOTH sides can figure a way to resolve issues of National importance, together, as we have for over 250 years, we are destined to fail. What has taken 30-50 years to occur, will take time to undo. Personally, I know it is possible, but I think something REALLY BAD will have to happen before real change happens. Read "Shock Doctrine," and realize that the government will be prepared to step in... I would like to avoid that scenario, please and thank you. The great American Experiment will not fail, if we can delve past the sound-bites and seek rational solutions to our mutual problems. History will judge US policy during the past thirty years as wasteful, indulgent, marked by an unprecedented greed cycle exploited by our leaders in industry and government. "We will stand together or hang separately," comes to mind.
Norman Rogers March 04, 2013 at 01:52 PM
I know several dual-citizenship families that have worked here ten years, get SS, and now have left the US. WAKE UP, Eddie, people come to the US and use us. The ONE fundamental FACT about any government - IT GROWS. Revenue will never keep up with spending. Fool's folly to believe otherwise. Both Parties have a hand in YOUR wallet. The GOP spends on 'Guns' the Dems on 'Butter.' This debate started with Ike, then Kennedy, and was decided by Johnson. We have be going down the path ever since, fueled by BOTH Parties. Without Guns there is no Butter, without Butter who needs Guns....


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