On Friday, March 1, the federal sequester takes effect, which means that the government will cut $85 billion from a budget of $3.6 trillion over a span of seven months. Eight percent of the cuts will come within the Pentagon and five percent will come from operating budgets of domestic agencies, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
As residents of the state of California begin to feel the budget and jobs are headed in the right direction, bad news looms. California will lose 225,000 current and future jobs when the cuts begin and close to $670 million per year in federal grants. An added $3.3 billion in military and defense revenue will be lost in the state.
“We’re talking about tremendous, immediate impacts that every single American will experience,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. “This sends the wrong signal at this moment.”
Aside from lost jobs, the state will experience longer wait times at airports, less meat choices in supermarkets, and fewer government agents on the streets. Mario Rodriguez, the Long Beach Airport Director, says that the sequester could have dire implications.
“It’s going to be severe,” said Gary Falle, UC’s associate vice president for federal government relations. “Parents and families are making decisions on where they’ll go to school based on where student aid will be. As this uncertainty continues, it’s pretty hard to make those kinds of decisions.”
According to the California Department of Education, the agency estimates that the federal government will redirect 5.9 percent of its funds. During this fiscal year, the Long Beach Unified School District received $65.6 million in federal aid. The Los Angeles Unified School District received $934 million.
The president of the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education, Felton Williams, said, “You’re really doubling up with how much damage is being done with the cuts.”
Lowenthal, who is a freshman congressman, said, “This is going to have a devastating impact on our recovery. We’re potentially running a risk of just stalling again.”
According to a poll from Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Americans say Obama and Congress should put their focus on a combination of tax increases and spending cuts in order to reduce the deficit. Just 19 percent thought that tax hikes should be excluded.
Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, blamed the obstinance of the GOP on raising taxes for the crisis as the sequestration is just days away.
“The American people believe in more efficient government,” Boxer said at an event in Los Angeles last week, “but they don’t want indiscriminate cuts that hurt our families and threaten our economy.”California Could Lose 225,000 Jobs with Sequester by Andrew Ostler