The threat of a government sequester is increasingly being mentioned by politicians and the media. But many Americans have no idea what is the sequester and how it will directly impact their lives.
The sequester is a result of the fiscal-cliff showdown at the end of 2012. As a trade-off for the tax hikes the deal avoided, the government now has to handle budget cuts that add up to about $1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years. These cuts will go into effect on March 1st unless Congress comes to an agreement or finds another way to reduce the deficit.
Much of the media coverage of the sequester cuts has been focused on the defense department, which stands to lose $500 billion from its budget. But these budget cuts will affect almost every American in some way, especially people of color.
Sophia Kerby, the Special Assistant for Progress 2050 at American Progress, outlined 10 key reasons communities of color should care about Sequestration. Key issues she noted include:
- Deep cuts to unemployment benefits will hurt Blacks & Latinos, due to their disproportionate unemployment rates.
- Funding for early child care could be cut by as much as $900 million, possibly kicking 70,000 children of Head Start, the federal program that readies children for school.
- And Federal budget cuts means cuts to federal, state and local public-sector jobs, which African Americans comprise 20% of the workforce.
Read More: American Progress