By Dr. John Macatee
We the people should demand that the Republican members of Congress negotiate a realistic alternative to the sequester. The sequester will indiscriminately cause $85 billion in cuts which will hurt defense programs and cause great damage to vital domestic programs in Iowa.
Iowa will lose 3,570 jobs in a year if sequestration takes effect, according to a study by Dave Swenson, an associate economics scientist at Iowa State University.
The sequester could have damaging effects on education with a combined $12 million slashed from Iowa’s K-12 schools and special education programs. Preschool programs could also be a victim of federal budget cuts (Feb. 25 KWWL.com report on White House analysis). The sequester also will cause a $600 million funding cut for the FAA. Most of its 47,000 employees will be furloughed at least one day per pay period, resulting in slower air traffic. TSA will be forced to reduce its employees, resulting in longer wait times at airports.
Paul Krugman in the Feb. 21 New York Times NY Times pointed out that “House Republicans want to take everything that’s bad about the sequester and make it worse: canceling cuts in the defense budget, which actually does contain a lot of waste and fraud, and replacing them with severe cuts in aid to America’s neediest. This would hit the nation with a double whammy, reducing growth while increasing injustice.”
“Congress should instead be thinking about ways to accelerate the economy, instead of remaining preoccupied with a short-term deficit. Nonetheless, the coming job losses could be sharply reduced if half or more of the spending cuts were replaced by revenue increases, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats have demanded. That would lower the amount of spending pulled out of the economy to bring down the deficit, replacing the cuts with taxes from the rich or companies with high cash reserves that are less likely to spend it.”
“The money could be raised by eliminating tax loopholes for energy companies, hedge fund managers and other high-end recipients of federal largesse, but Republicans won’t even consider the idea.”
“The tax issue is finished, over, completed,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said recently.
You can find specific funding cuts in Iowa that would result from the sequester at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/22/what-sequester#states.
Please contact your congressional representatives and encourage them to prevent the sequester. If they allow it to happen, it will cause great hardship for our country, including the loss of a million jobs.
Dr. John Macatee is a local osteopathic physician practicing in Iowa City Comments; firstname.lastname@example.org