Red States Scream as Sequestration Bites

Over at Talking Points Memo, there’s a nice article with some snippets about local news picking up on local cuts because of sequestration.

But outside of Washington DC, sequestration is already causing real problems for regular people, and Democrats are engaged in a counteroffensive — highlighting the day-in, day-out problems sequestration is causing outside of the capital.

…The Charlotte Observer notes, “Closing the control tower at Concord Regional Airport could cost the city hundreds of charter flights from NASCAR teams and other businesses, local officials said Wednesday after learning that the tower’s federal funding is being eliminated. … Concord officials said they were notified Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration that funding would be cut off soon.”

All of which was predicted.  While in the nice little bubble of DC, Republicans are busily trying to point to White House tours, it’s when they get home that they’re going to get a rude welcome.

As the Esquire article pointed out, local news is what people still listen to or watch.  The incredibly easy story for them is some cut which is going to hurt the local economy.  I’m sure NASCAR fans, who mostly have trended “conservative” or are painted that way, are going to love hearing how their racing teams are being hurt because of “government cuts.”  It’s not the only example.  As I said in a previous post:

As the cuts kick in, as the local news starts to report on business X closing because of it, school budgets being cut or local taxes rising, they’re going to get … calls.  Their “town halls,” which they’ve been able to pack with adoring followers are going to suddenly be packed with those same people wanting to know why their local military base, college, school is getting hurt.   They’re. Not. Going. To. Be. Happy.

Like Georgia having school districts lose money,

The state’s largest recipient is Liberty County in southeast Georgia, where 40 percent of the 10,200 children enrolled in public schools have parents working on Fort Stewart. The school system gets up to $9.25 million a year from Impact Aid. Jason Rogers, Liberty County’s assistant school superintendent for finance, said administrators expect to lose $720,000 or more of their Impact Aid funding this spring. What makes the hit particularly painful is that unlike most grants, which must be spent on specific programs, this money goes into the schools’ general fund and can be spent on anything from textbooks and roof repairs to paying nurses and teacher aides

and having their universities and colleges watch their budgets get hit.

Georgia Tech expects cuts of nearly 8 percent in defense-focused research and more than 5 percent cuts in other programs. That could result in a reduction of 40 million dollars in funds for Georgia Tech.

David Hefner, CEO of Georgia Regents Medical Center, says they will be losing millions of dollars in Medicare funding to the hospital.

Louisiana isn’t happy, either, but various Republicans are blithely waving aside that they voted for it, and it was their idea, to try to blame the President

Fifth District Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, the dean of the Louisiana delegation, complained about the “arbitrary” nature of the cuts. Half the cuts will come from defense programs and half will come from non-defense programs.

“Every government program, good and bad, received a hack job,’’ Alexander said in a statement. “While I believe spending is the problem, the president’s sequester is not the best approach to get it in check.’’

Amazingly enough, the American public isn’t buying that it’s “the president’s sequester.”

It’s not even selling in mostly Republican areas, like Texas:

When the sequester deadline came and went last Friday, it was hardly a surprise. In Congress, Republicans had repeatedly made clear they would be willing to let enormous cuts to discretionary spending take effect rather than compromise with the White House on raising revenue. But cutting off their nose to spite their face hasn’t quite worked. As it turns out, the GOP may be defacing its figurehead: the State of Texas.

The economic impact of the sequester on Texas will be enormous. As a Pew Charitable Trusts study shows, Texas receives 8 percent of its state revenue through federal grants, well above the national average of 6.6 percent. Only South Dakota, Illinois, and Georgia receive a higher proportion. One study from George Mason University showed that Texas is among the top three states that will lose out most as a result of the sequester, both in terms of jobs and GDP. The cuts could cost Texas $16 billion in gross state product—1.23 percent of the state’s GDP—and as many as 159,000 jobs.

Well, heck, and not that long ago they were talking about seceding, too!  But the interesting thing is that this is just the beginning for the local media.  The cuts, the “axe” instead of the “scalpel” nature of them,  will take time to implement.  Which means that as an air traffic control tower closes, grants are reduced, funding vanishes, parks don’t open, and people have less money to spend, the stories will become more widespread and people will be … noticing.

The areas that are going to get hit the hardest?  The “Red states.”

In terms of total reductions outlined in each report, the states facing the worst cuts skew heavily Republican. As a proportion of federal dollars received by each state (as detailed in a 2007 study), 11 of the 12 hardest-hit states — and 17 of the top 25 — went for Romney in last fall’s election. Many states in the Southeast and portions of the Midwest will experience the worst damage, in addition to Alaska and Hawaii.

The ones whose members of Congress have been running around telling everyone it was a good idea.  The ones with conservative populations who form up the base of the Tea Party, who are more than ready to tell everyone about the evils of big government and “runaway spending.” Except now it’s their spending that’s being cut, and they’re starting to scream.  They’re going to scream louder as the cuts really start to bite.  As their members of Congress come home for various breaks, they’re going to be having to answer some difficult questions, and blaming the President isn’t going to cut it this time.  It’ll be rather … uncomfortable for them.

After all, up until now they’ve been saying it’s a good thing, so now they have to learn the hard way it’s something else.  There’s an old saying which applies: Be careful of what you wish for.  You might get it.  Well, they wanted this, and so did their constituents.   Now they’re getting it, good and hard.  It’ll be interesting to see if they’re capable of learning from that, but I have my doubts.



Filed under Politics

8 responses to “Red States Scream as Sequestration Bites

  1. Vic78

    It’s looking like that majority’s coming for the president in 2014. People will tolerate your bullshit as long as you do your job. Keeping parks open and schools funded is the least one can do. People are tired of the GOP’s games. We have Fox News telling Paul Ryan he’s living on Fantasy Island. Granny starving is no longer acceptable policy.

    • It’s not just Ryan who is living on Fantasy Island, there’s a lot of these areas, particularly in the South who are as well. To them “big government” was in Washington, “cutting wasteful spending” meant cutting funds for those “lazy, shiftless” people in the cities up North or various brown/black people elsewhere. It didn’t mean them! 🙄

      Now the plane has landed and it turns out that yes, it does mean them. 😯 That “big government” and “wasteful spending” is their local military base, their school districts, their hospital, their national parks. People they know, and things they depend on. It’s going to take a while for that to sink in, but the sequester isn’t a quick bite – it’s a slow increase in pressure.

      • Vic78

        Speaking of people down south, you know that cities that are totally dependent on military bases have been protected from the recession. Since they’re such good Christians they should know that the wages of sin is reduced spending on things they like. I’m not putting out too much hope for them because they support half wits like Mo Brooks and Louie Gohmert.

  2. see above

    Maybe just maybe a few of the impacted citizens will coem to realize they really have been lied to and the next time vote for the guy who doesn’t scream for more tax breaks and let’s drown government.

  3. Cappadonna

    You mean the hack and slash cuts from the sequester are not just going to affect shiftless Black people in New York or border jumping “Mexicans” in Los Angeles?! 😉

    You can kill heating oil supplements for working class Jamaican immigrants in Philly, but now you’re affecting ‘real patriots’!!!

    How dare the Muslim President enact laws — passed by the goofball (mostly White ) Republicans in Congress who are looking to blame that Harvard Negro for their mess.

    The problem with most conservatives and libertarians in America is that they’re more concerned about punishing brown poor people for being, well, brown and poor while less time actually understanding how government works. They always think these pro-corporate, Laisse-Faire approaches to governance will always affect ‘someone else’. Its not until Reality hits that they realize that ‘someone else’ is the guy in the mirror.

    • One of the reasons Republicans have been successful for as long as they have is that they’ve been very good at shifting the blame and blowing as many dog whistles as they can, while ensuring that any cuts didn’t really affect their areas. So for quite some time, those areas have been buffered from “cutting government,” except in a conveniently (and usually Democratic) “big city” in the state. The sequester doesn’t make those fine distinctions that the Republicans have been relying on for so long, and now they’re going to feel it … badly.