The Sequester Is Causing Needless Suffering

Children eating breakfast in a Head Start program (John Moore/Getty Images)
Children eating breakfast in a Head Start program (John Moore/Getty Images)

Colorlines' Imara Jones explains why the sequester — which is affecting millions of Americans, including thousands of young children — is unnecessary and even counterproductive.

There are the big trends: Economic growth last quarter was lower than forecast in part because of sequestration. Unemployment remains high and job growth held back by the newly imposed austerity measures. Consumer confidence, a key indicator for where our economy is headed, has been schizophrenic since the beginning of the year as individuals attempt to make sense of how the cuts will impact them.

But while these top line numbers are unsettling, the localized impact on millions of lives in countless communities is even more shocking and absurd. Thousands of Medicare cancer patients are being denied treatment because of sequestration. These are people already in the fight of their lives, and American austerity has made it that much more difficult. As Jeff Vaicra, head of an oncology practice in New York told the Washington Post, "A lot of us are in disbelief."

That sense of disbelief extends to Head Start — the early education program for children of the working poor — where 70,000 pre-schoolers are on track to be denied a place. According to Education Week, one program in Alton, Ill., near St. Louis will have to eliminate half the slots in one of its Head Start Centers …

Though these cuts are astounding, what's truly outlandish is that there's no basis for them at all.


Read Imara Jones' entire piece at ColorLines.

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