Millions of American families are bracing for the forced budget cuts that could kick in on March 1.
Some of the hardest hit would be 2.1 million federal workers who could be spending up to 22 business days at home without pay on a furlough.
The impact of federal food inspectors, park rangers, airport traffic controllers and security personnel staying away from work would be felt by many more Americans.
An important caveat: Congress still has time to avert the spending cuts, and if they do take affect they aren't expected to take effect right away. Experts expect agencies to do all they can to delay the start of furloughs, in some cases by several months.
But if they happen, these seven cuts will be really felt by many Americans.
1. Shrinking unemployment benefits. Some 3.8 million Americans estimated to collect unemployment checks between March and September will feel the pain the most. That's because unemployment benefit checks are being pared by 9.4%. On average, it would mean a cut of $400 over that period.
2. Beef and chicken to cost more and even face a shortage. A $51 million dollar cut to food safety programs means food inspectors will be furloughed and lead to closures of meat and poultry plants for up to 15 days. Americans will have to pay more and deal with shortages of chicken, eggs, pork and beef, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Food safety could be compromised," he said in a letter. There will have less food available -- by as much as 2 billion pounds of meat, 3 billion pounds of chicken, 200 million pounds of eggs.
3. Granny won't get her lunch. More than 4 million home-bound and disabled seniors may have to go without supper this year because of cuts to Meals on Wheels programs. Just in Erie County, New York, it could mean 36,000 fewer meals will be delivered, according to the Meals On Wheels Association of America.
4. Your preschooler could be stuck at home. Some 70,000 children from lower income families will not be able to enroll for pre-schools and daycare centers run by Head Start programs this fall, thanks to at least $400 million in cuts.
5. National parks will close campgrounds or open late. The National Park Service will lose $110 million from its annual budget. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee plans to close five campgrounds and picnic areas affecting over 54,000 visitors. Two of the main thoroughfares into the Grand Canyon will remain closed until later this year, including the popular West Rim Drive, known for its breathtaking beauty. The delays will affect about 250,000 visitors.
6. Longer lines at the airport. Domestic travelers can add an extra hour to airport security lines, while international travelers may have to wait four hours to clear customs. That's because federal agencies that handle airport security and customs are warning that worker furloughs will increase the time it takes to check passengers.
7. Roofs blown off by Hurricane Sandy won't get repaired. About $3 billion has been cut from a supplemental bill for Hurricane Sandy victims. The cut includes "crucial funding" for repair and recovery of some 10,000 homes and small businesses, said HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan last week.
"Some of the hardest hit would be 2.1 million federal workers who could be spending up to 22 business days at home without pay on a furlough."
I don't care if I sound crude or uncaring, but good! Its the feds that got us into this and they should be the first to take it on the chin. These people have chosen to go to work for the feds because of what they promised, and in too many circumstances, I think the feds over promised. (That's my personal opinion.) With that being said, lets doc everyone on capitol hill. Send those SOB's home first. They aren't doing a thing anyhow... sitting up there pointing fingers and deflecting blame. Its over for these turds if I had anything to say about it.
"5. National parks will close campgrounds or open late. The National Park Service will lose $110 million from its annual budget. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee plans to close five campgrounds and picnic areas affecting over 54,000 visitors. Two of the main thoroughfares into the Grand Canyon will remain closed until later this year, including the popular West Rim Drive, known for its breathtaking beauty. The delays will affect about 250,000 visitors."
The National Park Service is one of the worst run agencies in the country. Close all of the campgrounds and force those "campers" into the near by towns to get a room and stimulate local economies.
The roads in the National Parks around here, stink. In the mean time, costs to enter these parks increases on a regular basis. Where is that money going? It isn't going to the roads in the park.
That's what the government does. It tries to scare everyone into believing how "necessary" every program is. They can make cuts across the board that would affect a minimum amount of people, but collectively those cuts would amount to big money.
(I had a bunch of information on this but have since lost it. But, the USDA and the FDA used to be separate outfits. Now they are more or less combined and there are something like 30 different factions under their belts. Most of them are doing the exact same things and they are over stuffed.)
They aren't even talking about things like that. It has to tug at the heart strings....
This is directly affecting us as my husband is retired military, working as a civilian contractor for the miltary. We will be taking a 20% paycut and we are not rich by any means. Like many other Americans, we live pretty much paycheck to paycheck.
It is not just worthless programs and projects being affected by this. This is directly affecting our military and civilian contractors and many will be out of a job now. I think this also endangers and weakens our miltary. Hopefully, this will only be for the six months that they are talking about, though.
I wouldn't mind sacrificing so much if I saw the president and congress also making some sacrifices here, which I don't. They continue to take their expensive vacations and hefty paychecks.
Just thought I'd show you a face behind one of the ones being affected by this. I'm seeing many others I know who also will struggle with no job now or a paycut now because of this. And we are all hard working, middle class (probably more lower middle class) American families just trying to pay our bills and put food on our tables.
I'm just hoping this is shortlived as they promised. We shall see.
After watching politics the last several years, I have learned to not buy into all of the hype. So many times scare tactics have been used as a control device, and so many times those very things the government says is going to affect us....doesn't.
Buddha claims that it is useless to worry about things that haven't happened yet.
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