Friday, February 22, 2013

Sequester And The Shameful Fear Mongering Campaign

If the heads of 20 federal agencies are to be believed, disastrous consequences await if President Obama and Congress fail to reach a budget deal, triggering the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration.” Image Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Sequester And The Shameful Fear Mongering Campaign

For the first time in my adult life, I am ashamed that I am a citizen of a country that is led by the political and media forces that exist today. The political leadership and the media that supports them think that WE ARE STUPID and lack the capability to resist FEAR MONGERING.

EXAMPLE: The country, if the Sequester is allowed to go forward, ... the Federal Government will only be allowed to spend fifteen billion dollars MORE that it did last year ($15, 000,000,000). This means that they could do exactly everything they did last year!

So one has to ask - WHY? … do all of these Obama and Media predicted catastrophic happenings have to happen at all?

The following article produced and published by ABC News is absolutely SHAMEFUL and I really am embarrassed to say I am a citizen of a nation that has this level of BS produced without any perspective or push-back.

Just ugly …

This excerpted and edited from ABC News (just the first 10) – 

57 Terrible Consequences of the Sequester
By CHRIS GOOD ABC News (@c_good) – Feb. 21, 2013

In separate letters to Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., they warned of terrible things: Greater risk of wildfires, fewer OSHA inspections and a risk of more workplace deaths, 125,000 people risking homelessness with cuts to shelters and housing vouchers, neglect for mentally ill and homeless Americans who would lose services, Native Americans getting turned away from hospitals, cuts to schools on reservations and prison lockdowns. There’s also a higher risk of terrorism with surveillance limited and the FBI potentially unable to disrupt plots, closed housing projects, and 600,000 women and children thrown off WIC.

In short: Unless a budget deal is cut, the country will be in deep trouble, according to the Obama administration’s highest-ranking agency officials.
With the House in recess and with Obama playing golf over the weekend, a deal does not appear imminent. More likely, sequestration will kick in for a few weeks, a deal will get done later, and the cuts will be undone, rearranged, or replaced by revenue from higher taxes. But if no deal happens, here’s what the agency heads warned will occur under a full year of budget sequestration: 

1. Air Travel Disruption

After a $600 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding cut, furloughs would mean fewer air-traffic controllers and fewer flights.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: “[A] vast majority of the FAA’s nearly 47,000 employees will be furloughed for approximately one day per pay period until the end of the fiscal year in September, with a maximum of two days per pay period. …

“The furlough of a large number of air traffic controllers and technicians will require a reduction in air traffic to a level that can be safely managed by the remaining staff. The result will be felt across the country, as the volume of travel must be decreased. Sequestration could slow air traffic levels in major cities, which will result in delays and disruptions across the country during the critical summer travel season. Aviation safety employees also would experience significant furloughs that will affect airlines, aviation manufacturers, and individual pilots, all of which need FAA safety approvals and certifications.”

2. Longer Security Lines at Airports

Even the Travel Security Administration (TSA) is not exempt from sequestration, and fewer workers would mean longer lines. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: “Funding and staffing reductions will increase wait times at airports, affect security between land ports of entry, affect CBP’s [Customs and Border Patrol] ability to collect revenue owed to the Federal Government, and slow screening and entry programs for those traveling into the United States. … The Transportation Security Administration would reduce its frontline workforce, which would substantially increase passenger wait times at airport security checkpoints.”

3. Slower Extreme-Weather Forecasts

Government weathermen would feel the sequester, too. Cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs the National Hurricane Center and handles large-scale weather forecasting for the federal government, would mean 2,6000 furloughed employees, 2,700 unfilled positions, and 1,400 fewer contractors.

That could mean less reliable predictions of major storms, warned Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank: “The government runs the risk of significantly increasing forecast error and, the government’s ability to warn Americans across the country about high impact weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will be compromised. … Significant and costly impacts to NOAA’s satellites and other observational programs are also certain. For example, sequestration will result in a 2-3 year launch delay for the first two next-generation geostationary weather satellites (currently planned to launch in 2015 and 2017), which track severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

“This delay would increase the risk of a gap in satellite coverage and diminish the quality of weather forecasts and warnings. Sequestration will also reduce the number of flight hours for NOAA aircraft, which serve important missions such as hurricane reconnaissance and coastal surveying. NOAA will also need to curtail maintenance and operations of weather systems such as NEXRAD (the national radar network) and the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (used by local weather forecast offices to process and monitor weather data), which could lead to longer service outages or reduced data availability for forecasters.”

4. Greater Risk of Wildfires

Cuts to the Department of Agriculture would mean less wildfire prevention and greater risk, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned: “Increased risk to communities from wildfires with as much as 200,000 fewer acres treated for hazardous fuels” were among the consequences he listed in his letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

5. Pest-Infested Crops

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote that the sequester would mean “a reduction in assistance to States for pest and disease prevention, surveillance, and response, potentially leading to more extensive outbreaks and economic losses to farmers and ranchers.”

6. Nationwide Meat and Poultry Shortage

After furloughs to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat and poultry plants will have to shut down, as no one will be around to inspect their products. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack warned of “a nationwide shutdown of meat and poultry plants during a furlough of inspection personnel.

The furlough could result in as much as 15 days of lost production, costing roughly over $10 billion in production losses, and industry workers would experience over $400 million in lost wages. Consumers would experience limited meat and poultry supplies, and potentially higher prices, and food safety could be compromise.”

7. Prison Lockdowns

A furlough of nearly 36,700 Bureau of Prisons staff for an average of 12 days could “endanger the safety of staff and over 218,00 inmates,” Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 1.

“As a consequence, BOP would need to implement full or partial lockdowns and significantly reduce inmate reentry and training programs. … This would leave inmates idle, increasing the likelihood of inmate misconduct, violence, and other risks to correctional workers and inmates. Further, eliminating inmate programs such as drug treatment and vocational education would, in fact, lead to higher cost to taxpayers in the long run.” Holder said he is “acutely concerned about staff and inmate safety should cuts of the sequestration’s magnitude hit BOP” and called it a “dangerous situation.”

8. Slower Gun Background Checks

FBI Director Robert Mueller warned in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee: “Timely processing and searching of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) requests for purchases of firearms would be affected by sequestration. On average, approximately 43,500 NICS searches are performed daily. The Brady Act requires the NICS checks to be completed in three business days or the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) can legally transfer the firearm to a purchaser—without a final NICS determination.

“The FBI is also mandated to provide an immediate determination no less than 90 percent of the time. Delays in processing and adjudicating NICS requests increases the risk of firearms being transferred to a convicted felon or other prohibited person which, in turn, would have a significant detrimental effect on public and law enforcement safety at a time when the NICS workload is expanding.”
9. Fewer FBI Agents

FBI would furlough personnel for up to 14 days, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote: “This would have the equivalent effect of cutting approximately 2,285 onboard employees, including 775 special agents.”

10. Immigration Backlog

Unable to hire immigration judges, the federal government would see immigration applications pile up.

Holder wrote: “The sequestration would cut over $15 million from [the Executive Office for Immigration Review] EOIR’s current budget. EOIR would be forced to cease all hiring of key critical positions for EOIR’s immigration courts, including Immigration Judges, likely increasing pending caseloads to well over 350,000 (an increase of 6 percent over September 2012 levels.” EOIR would also cut contracts for interpreters, legal support, and I.T. staff.”
[Read More Here]

Again, this government will have to do with the same level of spending as last year PLUS $15, 000,000,000 added to an approximate $3,700,000,000,000 extended budget.


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