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5 Looming Budget Cuts We Can Blame on Congress

5 Looming Budget Cuts We Can Blame on Congress
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Sequestration is a mouthful of a word, but — if you’re a student, teacher or parent — it is one we’ll be talking a lot about soon unless Congress acts fast.

The massive automatic budget cuts, the result of a political deal between Republicans and Democrats to raise the federal debt ceiling, are scheduled to go into effect starting January 2. The cuts were intended as a carrot to get Congress to compromise on deficit reduction but no compromise has been reached. Enacted into law under the Budget Control Act last year, sequestration is looming over us as part of the “fiscal cliff.”

$1.2 trillion in cuts must be made over the next decade starting with $109 billion in overall cuts come the start of 2013. The White House Office of Management and Budget released a394 page report with precise details last week while emphasizing that the Obama administration is not behind the “deeply destructive” cuts, which it was obliged by law to publish.

Here are five ways that sequestration will affect us.

Funding For Public Schools Could Be Cut to 2003 Levels

Everyone wrings their hands over the state of America’s schools. But sequestration will turn back the clock for U.S. students to 2003, as it would decrease eduction funding to the levels of a decade ago.

That’s a real problem because, in the past ten years, U.S. schools added 5.4 million students at a time when tax cuts for the wealthy have reduced school district’s budgets, says Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association (NEA) in Education Week. U.S. public schools could lose a total of $4.8 billion, an analysis by the NEA reveals.

Funding For Students with Disabilities Could Be Cut to 2001 Levels

Kids with disabilities like my son are covered under the federal Individuals with Education Act (IDEA) but, under sequestration, more than a billion dollars could be lost from federal funding for special education. The reduced funding would mean that school districts would have to rely on state and local governments to provide students with the appropriate services mandated under IDEA.

Since 2006, costs for special education have risen 25 percent, according to the NEA’s analysis (pdf). Sequestration would turn back the clock, with funding reduced to near-2001 levels.

College Students Face Higher Fees For Certain Loans

Fees for unsubsidized Stafford student loans will rise by 7.6 percent to about 1.1 percent of a total loan. PLUS-loan and unsubsidized-loan fees would rise slightly, from about 4 percent to about 4.3 percent of a total loan. These are small differences but, as I know from a recent conversation with a very stressed-out student (whose sibling just started college and who has a brother who will soon), any increase in college fees has the potential to create financial havoc.

Fortunately, Pell Grants for students from lower-income backgrounds would not be affected.

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60 comments

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9:45AM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Why don't you blame the Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed years of inability to put together a budget for the President to sign. They had no problem ram rodding programs from 2008 to 2010 whan people woke up and stopped the lunacy. The lack of leadership of President Obama was abvious when he could not even get his Democratic Congress to do their job. nstead the raised a ceiling and borrowed money so that they could continue their irrational spending.

12:56AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Thanks.

10:55PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

@ Andrea P: Bravo! I would send you a handful of stars if I could!

7:12PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

The problem is that most members of congress are wealthy people who have no concept of what's important and what isn't, what's overpriced and what isn't. They never question the cost of all these sci-fi toys those overgrown kids in the Pentagon want but when it comes to mortgage loans and student loans, etc., they start scrimping and penny pinching. For goodness sakes, any military hardware that doesn't even work correctly should be sent back to the manufacturer and a refund should be requested, be that a rifle that jams or a tank that gets stuck in the sand or whatever, but guess what? This never happens. Why not?

7:07PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Duane B and Nick R, you two are brilliant in your summation of the situation,as usual.

7:05PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

OMG

5:33PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Audry B, did you bother to read the article or do you always just spout off everything you hear on Faux news? Allow me to enlighten you by quoting the final paragraph in the article.

"Sequestration is the ugly legacy of the “crisis” over the debt ceiling that the GOP, “egged on by Tea Party extremists in Congress,” used to hold “the nation hostage,” as Roekel writes in Education Week. All the cuts detailed above could have, should have, been avoided."

5:14PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Poor Audrey. You are so brainwashed by the right-wing conservative news media, such as Fox News, et al, you are just deluded. If anyone needs to do some research, it is you my pitiful, uninformed friend. Unfortunately, I find arguing with people of your ilk to be useless. You drank the kool aid and there is little to no help for you unfortunately.

4:23PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

How can anyone defend this guy anymore?
If Americans continue to support a president such as this then we deserve what the future holds for us......total destruction as the USA .
FOR ZERO DOLLARS

IF you find this hard to believe, research it for yourself, any way you choose.

Three links at bottom of page.

What in Gods name is wrong with this IDIOT & his administration?

Alaska

Obama Donates 7 Alaska Islands to Putin for Zero Dollars

This is what our beloved president Obama has done in 2012 for America so far this year. This was just sent to me, and got very little press to keep it unknown from the American public. Please read the following to see what is happening. Why is he getting away with all of this?

Is there a "REST OF THE STORY"?

This article on Feb. 16, 2012 appears in very few places. Apparently, the regular "professional reporters" consider Obama giving away islands belonging to Alaska and part of the United States as no big deal. Obama is giving these islands to Russia for free, no cost, $zero money or any other consideration. Guess what? The state legislature in Alaska (still one of our 50 states) voted several times in opposition to THE GIVEAWAY! The islands have billions of barrels of OIL and Obama could let oil companies lease parts of the islands and start drilling for MORE OIL!! Should you suspect Obama was trying to sneak this by...? Why??

WorldNetDaily.com

4:22PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Previous administrations have shown that austerity does not work during a recession. Yet, the Republican dominated Congress took the nation hostage last year over the debt ceiling crisis and now it is time to pay the piper! It was a matter of brinkmanship politics orchestrated by the Republicans, but now the Republicans have to pay their bill and they don't like the bill so they are whining!

If there was a fair tax code that did not treat some as priviledged, if the wealthy paid a fair share of taxes on their income whatever the source, some of this, perhaps even most of it would not be necessary.

And to put things in perspective for the so called evangelical Christians of the fanatical right, remember the story of the poor woman who gave 2 copper coins at the temple. From Wikipedia:
"The value of a gift to God, is determined by the nature of the intention of giving rather than what the gift can actually accomplish. Hence, the poor widow is counted as having given a great gift, having kept nothing for herself, while those who give out of their abundance but keep plenty for themselves are counted by God as having given very little. While the passage may or may not be an encouragement to live in poverty, it is certainly an encouragement to give generously."

Get out the vote!!!!!

Vote Democratic 2012!!!!! Vote Obama/Biden 2012!!!!!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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