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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The difference between a natural disaster and a disaster caused by politicians is that the latter will almost always hit the poor and the obscure most heavily, while a hurricane or a flood will at least sometimes spread the suffering more evenly.

As the “sequester” unfolds in Washington, we see this same old pattern holding firm: Republican leaders, now hustling to shirk responsibility for the catastrophe they predicted, insist those automated budget axes won’t do any damage at all.

Has anyone felt any pain yet?

Not during the first few days, of course, but when the cuts begin to bite a month or so from now, the first to feel it will be the unemployed and the destitute, for whom a few dollars of government support mean so much in their daily survival calculation. A decent policy would seek to spare them the brunt of political mistakes made by other, far more comfortable people, but this process permits no such choices – and the most vulnerable will by definition be hurt most.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which began to warn of sequestration’s very real impact weeks ago, the government will have to turn away as many as 775,000 women and children who qualify for WIC, the “highly effective” national nutrition program. Back when there was bipartisan opposition to letting people starve, legislators of both parties worked to ensure that WIC funding was sufficient to enroll every qualified family. Everyone seemed to agree that the program’s cost was trivial compared with the social, moral, and yes, economic benefits of properly feeding all hungry infants and children.

Not under the sequester, when common sense and compassion become impermissible. Not under the sequester, which not only enforces the cruel cuts but allows their perpetrators to deny ownership of the specific consequences.

What makes the automatic cutback in WIC funding even worse is that the amount involved is small in modern terms. The WIC budget will have to be reduced by about $699 million compared with 2012, or the same amount as the projected price of one “Littoral Combat Ship,” the Navy’s latest vessel project.

Evidently a principle is at stake that can be vindicated only by taking food from the mouths of pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants, however. Enforcing this decision – and it is a decision – are men and women who will assure voters of their fervent religious piety as well as their absolute devotion to America’s beleaguered families.

Or some of America’s families.

 Photo by mirnanda/Flickr

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39 responses to “Eventually Sequester Will Cause Real Pain — And Among First To Suffer Will Be Hungry Children”

  1. option31 says:

    What’s compassionate and what common sense does it make for this administration to give $450 million to Egypt it we have children starving here? Joe, why are you ignoring this??? Journalistic ethics and fairness ought to come into play here IF you have any.

    • lana ward says:

      The MSM doesn’t know what even reporting is.!!! They’ve never done it!!

    • It’s not a matter of the GOP not playing games, have you not been following the news? The GOP is not supportive of giving ANYTHING MORE to the needy; they’re not working to do anything that benefits the poor; they’ve been working constantly to cut every program they can find for those who need help – so where do you think any proposal by the whitehouse to provide more funding for starving children would get in the GOP controlled House of Representatives??? It would get nowhere!!

      • option31 says:

        Yes I follow the news, do you? I am pointing out the $450 million and the President could stop that all on his own by telling Kerrey not to issue the check we have problems here that are more pressinig of our own, but nope he wants the issue – to he double toothpicks with the children and the elderly! Its far more important to work the base up than do the right thing. I doubt if the Republicans would balk at cutting aid to Egypt.
        Social Security should not even be on the table. That is a program we ALL paid into and that money is rightfully ours and should absolutely not be cut or taken away but both sides have stolen money from that fund to buy our votes so now the piper has to be paid.
        All in all if WE would stop paying attention to party labels and hold EVERYBODY accountable we would not be in this predicament.

      • Canistercook says:

        Just who are the NEEDY – those overpaid government workers and politicians?

        • Lynda says:

          No it is not just government workers. Unless you include school teachers, police, firemen and anyone employed by the various contractors who receive contracts from the various governments.

    • Lynda says:

      Actually only $250 million has been released in two portions. The rest is contingent upon Egypt putting into effect economic and policial reforms. The IMF has pledged billions in additional aid also to be determined the results of the economic and political reform. If Egypt becomes a failed state the cost to America and the world will be far, far more in lives and treasure.

  2. Robert M says:

    This is a moot point, the government is so beholden to the wealth that they could not care less about starving people. Those people don’t have money or power so no matter how much they whine they will never be heard. There is a sickness in D.C. one that no medicine can cure. There is a total disconnect from the people they are sworn to protect and serve above all other considerations. At the street level we find poor people being played off of other poor people and every difference in religion or social mores deemed intolerable. Meanwhile, the rich keep on getting richer while the people who will be reduced to paupers, begging for scraps can’t see beyond skin color or churches or sexuality.

    • Sequestration is just one example of what can happen when elected politicians do what I believe are treasonous acts by taking a pledge to a corrupt old man that they will honor a pledge to him to not raise taxes by $1 on those who already are rich, in preference to doing what is right for the country, the planet and those who elected them.

  3. lana ward says:

    All these programs O says he is going to have to cut? Not true!! There are plenty other places he can cut but he is puposely hurting the American people and then blame it on the Republicans!! So they will change their minds and he can get his own way!! Plus he keeps giving BILLIONS to our enemies when he knows we need this money BAD!!!! Some leader that cares about the American people!!!

  4. frida says:

    Are these kids not whom Romney called their parents “takers”? We are all aware what thank you they expressed to him. Republicans won’t escape their gratitude either, as the situation seem to become worse and worse.

    • frida, let’s hope that voters do remember in 2014 and 2016, just how callous the GOP can be when it comes to doing the only thing it does best – robbing the poor to enrich those who already have more than they rightfully deserve. They’ve demonstrated just one more time with sequestration, that the GOP is America’s largest anti-Christian organization.

  5. Traxm says:

    Which is the problem, obesity or starvation?

  6. whodatbob says:

    $450 million could help a lot of US citizans in need.

    Blame for sequester falls equally on the President and the House.

    President Obama miss judged the resolve of the tea baggers. His attempt to bully the tea baggers backfired. They justdug their heals in deeper. As much distain as I have for the tea baggers, I admire them for standing up to bullying. Only wish tea baggers would learn how to compromise.

    • You’re welcome to your opinion, but sorry I don’t buy it. Obama did everything he could to prevent sequestration, the responsiblity for it lies squarely in the lap of a party that is hellbent on destroying America just so those who already have more in their lives than they have ever deserved can stuff just more money into their pockets!!!!!

      • whodatbob says:

        All I am saying is President Obama put sequester in bill to raise debit ceiling to get the repubicks to buy that bill thinking the baggers would compromise. He underestimated the baggers they never intended to compromise. Wrong as their stand is they stood their ground and we and the admistration loss.

    • awakenaustin says:

      Please! This falls nowhere equally on the President and the House. The President offered a proposal to deal with this issue. It was a deal much like the House proposed sometime tin the not so distant past and not all that far from the basic Simpson-Bowles thinking. (The fastest and safest way to deal with the deficit is to generate revenue through careful taxing and generating national economic growth. Simply cutting to do so, is unapologetically dumb and counter productive.)It was a mixture of some spending cuts and revenue generating by closing tax loop holes. The House refused to even talk about it. If one side says heres a plan and I am willing to discuss it and the other says we are only agreeing if we get everything we want, how are both responsible for nothing getting done?
      The Republican plan is simple and straight forward. They intend to destroy what ever social safety net this nation offers and they will do it by what ever means is available. Yes there will be military cuts, but those will be restored in the near future and the Republicans will do this by passing the appropriations bill necessary to do so and then screaming about how the Democrats hate America, are putting our fighting men and women in danger, are weak on national security and defense, and whatever other twaddle they can come up with. In the not too long run the only programs hurt long term will be the social programs. They act in service to an ideology and those who are damaged by their strategy are simply collateral damage. The deficit focus is a red herring. It is a means to an end.
      If you think this month to month financial “crisis” nonsense falls equally on the shoulders of Republicans and Democrats you aren’t paying attention. When one side says my way or the highway there is no possibility of compromise, only of surrender.

  7. sleeprn01 says:

    I always knew that corporate leaders held a Ayn Rand philosophy much as Mr. Romney did when he ran Bain Capital. However, I feel that it is a sad day when Ayn Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness” becomes the guiding principles in our congress.

  8. Canistercook says:

    Sometimes when you play games you lose!

  9. Canistercook says:

    The GOP helps the needy not the lazy idle greedy!

  10. elw says:

    Just the fact that the Republicans can ask, days into the sequester, if anyone has felt the pain yet, shows just how disingenuous they are. If that was not true, the only other explanation for such a stupid question is that they are truly stupid and/or inept. This is especially true when they have spent the last several weeks saying that the spending cuts will be implemented over several months and that it would take several weeks before the first cut will take place. So are they lying now or before?

  11. As usual, spending reductions only affect the poor and the middle class, while the elite gets away with murder. I am anxiously waiting for the hundreds of thousands of new jobs the elite will create now that loopholes and subsidies are off the table. Sickening!

    • plc97477 says:

      I will suggest you not hold your breath

    • Ed says:

      There’s a lot of people working who can’t afford to be paying for healthcare yet there taxes go to some people who get it free… Down on their luck? Or just content to be sucking on the governments’s tit? Now they’re starting to take children away from parents who have fallen on hard times… Stabadelic baby….YEEEAAAAA!!

  12. docb says:

    This is a true CRIME OF TREASON perpetrated on the most vulnerable people of the NATION by republican baggers in Congress to protect their DONOR class!

    Call them out..

    1.866.338.1015 or 1.866.311.3405!

  13. daniel bostdorf says:

    Conason correctly states:
    “Everyone seemed to agree that the program’s cost was trivial compared with the social, moral, and yes, economic benefits of properly feeding all hungry infants and children….Not under the sequester, when common sense and compassion become impermissible. Not under the sequester, which not only enforces the cruel cuts but allows their perpetrators to deny ownership of the specific consequences.”

    Solution: Repeal The Sequester.
    Replace it with The Balancing Act.
    Web research it. Video of sponsors introducing at c-span on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    The Balancing Act equalizes budget cuts and revenue by closing loopholes for America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations, raising $960 billion in revenue. It also creates over 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, teachers, and putting money in consumers’ pockets, paid for by cutting wasteful Pentagon spending to achieve balance with non-defense cuts.

    Robert Borosage stats:

    “The sequester irresponsibly will cost over one million jobs and impede an already faltering recovery. It should be repealed, not postponed. Congress should turn its attention to jobs and growth, not to more austerity….The entire debate is upside down. America has a jobs crisis, not a budget crisis.”

    Repealing makes a heck of alot more sense than the madness the GOP is putting our country through.


    $2 trillion has been cut over the past two years from teachers, firefighters, police officers, loans for college students, and infrastructure investments….and….WE THE PEOPLE shouldn’t continue to pay the price for massive tax breaks for millionaires and billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies….and multination conglomerates who send jobs overseas and has destroyed the middle class.

    Children and the poor need not suffer at the hands of the GOP.

  14. empiremed says:

    The Obama administration denied an appeal for flexibility in lessening the sequester’s effects, with an email this week appearing to show officials in Washington that because they already had promised the cuts would be devastating, they now have to follow through on that.

    In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked “if there was any latitude” in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.


    SEE RELATED: Democrats pull out race card in sequester game


    He said he was discouraged by officials in Washington, who gave him this reply: “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

    “This email confirms what many Americans have suspected: The Obama administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the Sequester cuts for political gain,” said Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas Republican.

    Mr. Brown, the official who sent the email and who is eastern regional director for wildlife services at APHIS, didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday afternoon seeking comment.

    APHIS is an agency within the Agriculture Department, and on Tuesday department Secretary Tom Vilsack was challenged on the email at a House committee hearing by Rep. Kristi Noem, who said she hoped the department wouldn’t tie agencies’ hands.

    Mr. Vilsack said he hadn’t seen the email, but said agencies are supposed to be trying to find ways to manage the impact of the cuts.

    “If we have flexibility, we’re going to try to use it to make sure we use sequester in the most equitable and least disruptive way,” the secretary testified. “There are some circumstances, and we’ve talked a lot about the meat inspection, where we do not have that flexibility because there are so few accounts.”


    SEE RELATED: Airports to Janet Napolitano: You’re wrong about delays


    The administration earlier had warned that supplies of beef, pork and poultry could drop this year because slaughterhouse inspectors will have to be furloughed, and under federal law meat can’t be processed without inspectors present.

    Ms. Noem told Mr. Vilsack the email made it sound like the administration was sacrificing flexibility in order to justify dire predictions.

    “I’m hopeful that isn’t an agenda that’s been put forward,” the South Dakota Republican congresswoman told Mr. Vilsack.

    The $85 billion in sequesters began Friday, and have hit most of the federal government, where employees will face furloughs.

    But even amid the cuts, APHIS is still hiring new employees and interns.

    Since Sunday the agency has posted 24 help-wanted ads including 22 student internships, one ad seeking a clerk in a New York office, and one ad seeking three “insect production workers” to grow bollworms in Phoenix.

  15. 4sanity4all says:

    Give to your local food pantry, to help offset the pain our elected idiots are causing.

  16. Margaret Whitestone says:

    Suffer the little children–for we are Taxed Enough Already.

  17. angelsinca says:

    Are you serious? Do you really believe ANYONE, Democrats or Republicans, would allow these phantom 775,000 children to go hungry? The situation is not getting worse. It’s being portrayed that way. It’s a sinister game that Obama is not afraid to lose because he knows YOU wont blame him. Looks obviously transparent, even to ‘stupid’ Republicans. You ARE smarter than a Republican, right?

  18. MIKE says:

    why dont the politicians cut thier wages ? they are not doing thier job,even after they get out of office they still get a pay check and free medical , that not right if i lose my job i get nothing

  19. Scott Bush got away with a war based on lie’s, and committed war crimes in the process, is that 1/10 enough for you, or do you need more? Pete Angel you do realize that after the Sequester was voted on, that this past yr your Republicans in which you elected were trying to fund the pentagon budget by cutting 3 miilion people of of food stamps, and cutting another 300,000 children off of free lunch programs at school’s, and then cutting meal’s on wheel’s out for the elderly so The pentagon budget would be unscathed? then when that didn’t work they tried to use the same thing on the Farm bill that never came to a vote, and then when that didn’t work they used the same measures again to try to keep the Bush Tax Cut’s in tact for the Wealthiest folks here in America. Do i think your sid e of the isle cares about these people, or our Children, or the elderly, not one bit, it is all about how much money they get from these Corporate welfare folks that you Republicans keep kissing their tail’s. You don’t think people will let these Children go hungry? Well look at it this way, there will be more people back out of work for youe austerity measures, which means more people needing food, and less people out there with the means tyo help other people, so you are creating a situation where there are going to be greater numbers of people needing help, and I know you are thinking the churches, right/ pete go to one of these missions right now, and see how many people have to stand in line for a weeks worth of food, or go to a soup kitchen, and see how many people are ther? I really don’t think you would know, and really pete i don’t think you even care as long as you have yours. pete I don’t wish anything on anyone, but there could be a day when what you are advocating could hit you, and i wonder, just what your remarks would be then?

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