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Hand holding thermometer showing high temperatures.
Here's a good, long, depressing, but still partial list of sequester cuts Congress doesn't care nearly as much about as it did about flight delays: low income energy assistance; museum hours; defense nuclear nonproliferation; energy efficiency and renewable energy; employment and training for former soldiers; education for homeless kids; adult basic and literacy education; AIDS drug assistance; AIDS research, including 31 vaccine-development efforts; HIV testing; job-seeking assistance for veterans. And again, that's a partial list.

Here's one of the people who's helped by one of the programs being cut:

Margaret George, a retired widow raising her three young grandchildren in a trailer in Whispering Ranch, Arizona, says her family wouldn’t survive without federal help to pay for electricity.

In March, she paid her $200 power bill thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those costs rise with the temperature, which can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the desert town 50 miles northwest of Phoenix.

“I don’t have the money to pay it,” said George, 62, whose $640 energy assistance grant won’t last through the summer. “I would have already gotten it shut off it weren’t for that program—it was either pay the electric bill or it would be my grandchildren going without.”

No, $640 is not going to last through the summer if her bill is $200 in March before it's even hot out. Which sort of points to the importance of another of the cuts: energy efficiency and renewable energy.

But retired widows raising their grandchildren and adults trying to learn to read and people in need of HIV tests and even, for all the lip service Republicans give the military, unemployed veterans are not high enough on the congressional priority list either to get the special treatment business travelers got or to drive it home that the sequester needs to be repealed wholesale rather than chipped away at where it's making powerful people uncomfortable.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The ATC "Fix" was a disgusting elegant example of: (20+ / 0-)

    Just exactly what the Government considers its priorities these days.

    The Repubs love them some sequester when it is cuts to poor people - after all, those programs need to be gone anyway - but the one tiny slice of comfortable life that was made "less convenient" and it was fixed within a week.

    I was as disappointed in Obama signing that measure as with anything he has done in office, it would seem that politicians aren't even trying to hide their priorities anymore.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

    by 4CasandChlo on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:08:32 AM PDT

    •  that was always the intent (10+ / 0-)

      they had every intention of restoring the cuts they didn't like

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:15:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that is why this is all WIN for the GOP (5+ / 0-)

        Christmas came Early.

      •  I agree that it is abhorrent that only services (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryabein, shoeless, eXtina, FloridaSNMOM

        that affect Congress are being restored.

        However, I believe the Administration's own people.

        Don't forget the Gene Sperling email to Bob Woodward.

        Sperling was explicit that the sequester package was 'designed to be so horrific' that it would force Repubs to the table to negotiate a 'Grand Bargain.'

        And the aim of a 'Grand Bargain' is to begin the process of dismantling the social safety net (especially Social Security and Medicare) in exchange for higher income taxes on 'the wealthy.'  This means next to nothing, if you consider that after campaigning for almost two years, the tax increase negotiated after last year's 'crisis' only resulted in an increase of 6/10's of One Percent on the average couple making $500,000 annual income (these are Dean Baker's figures BTW, not mine).

        This is approximately 1/3 the size of the "cut" to the average Social Security recipient, if the Chained CPI is adopted and implemented (again, per D Baker).

        I predict that parts that affect 'the elite' will continue to be restored, AND the Administration will get their so-called 'Grand Bargain.'

        Remember, the Administration has laid down a deadline for 'tax reform'--end of July.

        So, they'll probably strike their deal in August, before the Congressional pre-Labor Day break, when many folks are tied up with late summer vacations and back-to-school activities.

        When they do come to an agreement, it has already been agreed that it will be 'fast-tracked,' which will aid in getting this done under the radar.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:30:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  She must not be (7+ / 0-)

    making campaign donations to the right politicians. If she was, her problem would be solved by now.

    She just needs to manage her money better so she can buy the best candidates.

  •  Just don't call it a class war n/t (6+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:15:29 AM PDT

  •  Once you liberalzs figure out that profits are (7+ / 0-)

    simply more important than poor people and their snotty-nosed kids, you'll feel better.

    Why should the rich waste their precious money on the friggin' poor?

    And, again, it has clearly shown how fast the invertebrates in Congress can act when their own asses feel pinched.

    Not until

    Americans have to find legal ways to inconvenience and harass their leaders.

    they act when they feel pain.

  •  Meals on Wheels (9+ / 0-)

    How can we justify stiffing Meals on Wheels and yet we can come up with $123 million in nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition including seven truckloads of MREs?  I get it, different pockets of money all being cut by a certain percentage; but the priorities are baffling and to the elderly suffering because of it those justifications don't matter anyway. My grandparents depended on Meals on Wheels at the end of their lives, which allowed them to stay in their rural home of 65 years.  

    “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my new Senator Elizabeth Warren

    by Domestic Elf on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:31:17 AM PDT

  •  This is a reference to the airline flights, right? (0+ / 0-)

    Because those are only for business passengers?

    Less and less. We use go-to-meeting. I'll fly to see my grandmother this summer over a weekend, but only if that's ok with everyone here. Sheesh.

    Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies: once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:52:35 AM PDT

    •  Who the hell said (0+ / 0-)

      you couldn't fly?  Just go an hour earlier...

      just gogogo to another venue and spout your stuff.  And yes, I won't answer your put back.

      •  Nice, drop a snide remark and note you (0+ / 0-)

        won't stick around after. Quite brave of you.

        Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies: once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress

        by GoGoGoEverton on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:15:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody said (6+ / 0-)

      airline flights are ONLY for business passengers.

      But rest assured the flight delays weren't taken care of that fast because of people flying to see their grandparents.

      Hope you have a nice trip.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  people who need Meals on Wheels don't (4+ / 0-)

      fly to see their grandmother, get it?

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:14:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They must not, otherwise airline passengers (0+ / 0-)

        would be getting trashed so often after that decision went through.

        I don't want the sequester any more than you or anyone else does, and yes, it's messed up that everyone seems OK with some cuts and not others, but that doesn't mean that ending the cuts to airline travel is a 'gift to the rich' or 'because of business', and we were talking about backlogs of days, not hours like the poster said above.

        Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies: once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress

        by GoGoGoEverton on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:26:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why should you, as well as (0+ / 0-)

      the well-to-do who fly frequently, be spared the sequester when millions of poverty-stricken aren't? It's bad policy all 'round, but as Chris Hayes put it, the one aspect of it that almost approached policy virtue was that it put the "shared" into "shared sacrifice", for the first time since 2008.

      Let me repeat that: this is the first time since the Wall Street Meltdown that "shared sacrifice" didn't explicitly mean "screw the poor to serve the rich". Everyone go screwed, and so everyone had an incentive to lean on Congress to stop this shit.

      But that was undone when Congress, upon hearing that the rich were being inconvenienced (and that's all an extra 1-2 hours at the airport is, an inconvenience, your hysterical "request of permission" aside) by the non-discretionary nature of the sequester, instantly and near-unanimously acted to remove the inconvenience, without helping anyone else one dime's worth. If you think that Congress acted to spare air travelers out of the goodness of their hearts, I've got a bridge to sell you.

      Congress acted to spare air travelers because the lobbyists lobbied them to. It's a simple, open-and-shut case of the rich making the rules to suit themselves. If you happen to benefit, they don't care - but the moment your benefit causes them even the tiniest inconvenience, watch out.

      And you're apparently OK with this. Remind me: why, precisely, do you call yourself a "progressive"? You don't act like it - your attitude is classic Republicanism: "Me and mine have ours, and screw you for complaining that you and yours still have nothing!"

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:32:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not apparently OK with sequester cuts. (0+ / 0-)

        But I'm also not OK with vilifying those who were spared, just because everyone wasn't. I highly doubt you'd be outraged if the Meals-on-Wheels program support was re-instituted while the rest stayed cut.

        Vilifying people you don't have something in common with: an attitude that is classic Republicanism. Why, precisely, do you call yourself a 'progressive'?

        And you're apparently OK with this. Remind me: why, precisely, do you call yourself a "progressive"? You don't act like it - your attitude is classic Republicanism:

        Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies: once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress

        by GoGoGoEverton on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:00:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The people who benefit from Meals on Wheels (0+ / 0-)

          don't spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying - that's the difference.

          False equivalence is false.

          "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

          by Australian2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:09:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Some short poems for austerity (5+ / 0-)

    "No more chemo for that patient, no more meals on that wheel/
    I'm flying to Reno! Peace out now--'s been real!"

    "No Head Start for the kids, they'll just have to wait.
    But the flights out of National--they'll never be late!"

    "For schools, fewer teachers.  Their budgets just sank.
    Go get a job over there. Build an unwanted tank!"

    "The confidence fairy wants cuts, she wants them today!
    So tighten that belt and get ready to flay!"

    "The economy's no household/You're no German hausfraus
    So stop tightening this belt--Eek, ouch, oo, ouch, OW!"

  •  One priority that will go on max-funded (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, JeffW, shoeless

    and unquestioned, is to maintain the nuke arsenal:

    Even with the Cold War over, the United States is spending $35 billion a year—14 percent of the defense budget, or $96 million a day—on nuclear efforts of which about $25 billion goes for operation and maintenance of the nuclear arsenal. The rest is spent on cleanup, arms control verification, and ballistic missile defense research.
    I, for one, sleep more soundly knowing the arsenal is so well looked after.

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:04:04 AM PDT

  •  Hey and why not? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, shoeless

    The GOP has gotten the message load and clear.  You don't have to pretend any more.  You can be blatant about your disregard of the poor (you don't mean good white people do you?), you don't have to hide your intentions when pushing legislation from ALEC.  You don't have to follow the moral standards you expect to be placed on everyone else.  It's all good.  Just rig up some nice districts and the fools who vote for you will continue to vote for you no matter what.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:16:54 AM PDT

  •  How can power for a trailer be $200 a month? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    I have a 2 story house with a full basement, and even in summer with the AC cranked, my electric bill has never been over $130.  This makes absolutely no sense.  Either she is wasting tons of power, or she is being price gouged on her bill.

    This is the fraud, waste and abuse that we need to fight.  I support assistance for the poor, but we can't afford to hand a massive profit check to the power company.  We need to give assistance to more people and we can't do that while getting robbed like this.

    Now if her electric bill is a legitimate $200, that raises a whole new set of issue.  Does her trailer have any insulation at all?  Is it just sitting in the open desert baking in the sun?  And what is the carbon footprint for that?  Maybe a grandmother and three small children shouldn't be trying to live in the middle of the freaking desert!  Maybe, just maybe, that's not a sustainable lifestyle, and maybe that's why her $640 grant won't last the summer.

    I'm sorry to be harsh about this, but we can't afford to just chuck money at every problem like this.  $200 in electricity for a single trailer is incredibly wasteful, incredibly polluting, and some of the change we need to work for is fixing bad lifestyle choices like this.

    •  Bad lifestyle choice? (0+ / 0-)

      Norm, she may not have a choice. It costs money to move a trailer, and she may not have the means to insulate the place.  It probably isn't a sustainable lifestyle, but I doubt if she has the means to fix it.

      "A chicken for every pot, a firearm for every tot" New NRA slogan credit to Ploughandstars.on the Raw Story 5.5.13

      by pitbullgirl65 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:42:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then I volunteer you to pay her bill (0+ / 0-)

        We absolutely cannot go through life like this, that whenever we come across a wasteful, unsustainable situation, that we just throw up our hands and say "But what are we supposed to do? We're helpless!".  And then we throw money at the problem until the money runs out.  And we encourage no conservation, no efficiency?  Just let her rack up a huge bill and pay it?
        And then what?  What of the next person who needs help?

        No, this grandmother is not helpless to do nothing about a $200 electric bill.  She is doing something very wrong and there are steps she can take to save herself and us money.

        Look at it this way.  There is only so much assistance funding to go around.  If she takes $200 a month, there's nothing left for anyone else.  But if her and others like her were only using $50 or $100 a month like they should be, then 2,3,4 times as many people could be helped.  Someone out there has no power and no help.

        We cannot subsidize waste, no matter what sob story is behind it.  It will never end.

        •  People die without airconditioning in Phoenix. (0+ / 0-)

          So it's more than just a "sob story."

          And there used to be weatherization programs in AZ to help the poor whose homes were not weatherized properly but they are likely another casualty of the sequester.

          Wow.  The lack of empathy for the poor and elderly here is actually a little disconcerting.

          •  Air conditioning is 50 years old (0+ / 0-)

            First, people used to live in the desert without air conditioning.  They can do it again, if they're smart about it.

            Second, don't you think that means that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't have millions of people living in the desert where they are dependent on air-conditioning to keep metal trailers from becoming death traps?

            Look buddy, we can give free electricity and air-conditioning to all the poor and elderly, or we can try and keep C02 below 400ppm.  Your attitude of "empathy" is how we got in this mess in the first place.  That and telling seniors that it's just fine to move to Pheonix.

      •  Well she can always just choose to abandon (0+ / 0-)

        the trailer and move into a homeless shelter.  /snark

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:35:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was having an imaginary conversation with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    returning congressmen yesterday ( in my mind). I was greeting them at the airport and thanking them effusively for eliminating flight delays
    I was grateful because I now new how very important it was. Heck it mattered more than even airport repair and maintenance that they took the funds from, it teaches all of us that lack of any current minor convenience matters more than any long range good.

    It is helping us realign our twisted values. Some felt bad about the homebound not getting their meals or the struggling unemployed getting even less money or how families and the development of children are upended by cutting Head Start... little things like that
    But what are things like that compared to the greater good  od congress and first class dudes not having to wait all those extra minutes? Let the old people on chemotherapy have to find a new medical team hours away from their home to get their chemotherapy or just give up. I mean congress has important things to do like demanding more cuts if we don't want to crash the world economy.

    The old, the poor, the students, the struggling, meh. The old are gonna die soon anyway and how loud can the voices be of the weak or hungry?

    and so on.
    Then the imaginary conversation shifted to just republicans
    and I wondered if any of them ever wished that their main goal was to help the country instead of just thwart everything a Democratic administration was trying to do. What if we had all been on the same side of trying to make things better
    and so on. I got pretty emotional with that one. The sarcasm was more fun

    But I was done with the dishes anyway so I ended the conversation. Didn't even say good-bye.

    As far as ending flight delays NO senators voted against it. In the House only 12 republicans and 29 Democrats were nay votes.

  •  Spent yesterday at VA Hospital (0+ / 0-)

    talking to fellow Vietnam veterans still paying with their bodies and minds for that adventure in foreign policy.

    I shall not debate that war but, by God, those of us who answered the call of our country when it came, will remain my brothers until my last breath. We came out of the slums, farms, and suburbs and were not professional soldiers but took our government at its word that there was dirty nasty work that needed to be done and we did our best. Say whatever you want. I remain an anti-war Quaker/Universalist Unitarian of the 21st Century who continues a schizophrenic relationship with our government and its policies and decisions. However, looking around, I seldom find better ways to positively affect large numbers of people than good government and believe that's what we need to work toward.

    I note that when it's time to send young men and women in harm's way for whatever reason, our Congress seems able to find astounding amounts of money easily. In fact, in Republican administrations, it doesn't even need to be part of the budget. When it's time to pay for the mental health and medical care of the used surviving cannon fodder, well  that's a budget problem.

    Shame, shame, shame. Hold Congress accountable. Tell them you're going to hold them accountable. Then do it. If we don't, then it's our shame.

  •  ADAP cuts may literally be fatal. (0+ / 0-)
    At the Foundation for AIDS Research in New York, analysts estimate as many as 8,610 Americans will lose access to an AIDS Drug Assistance Program funded by HHS, and the National Institutes of Health will lose $153.7 million in AIDS research funding, meaning that 280 research grants would go unfunded, including 31 efforts to develop a vaccine.
    ADAP is the program that gives thousands of indigent HIV+ Americans access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.  Without these drugs, they may die.

    Congress can pass an emergency measure to ensure that business travelers aren't inconvenienced, but it's perfectly content to allow thousands of poor Americans with a potentially fatal illness to face death.

    Honestly, there are days when words are insufficient to express my disgust with the people in Washington.  This is one of them.  

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:50:50 AM PDT

    •  "May" die? (0+ / 0-)

      They WILL die. And do you think that Congress gives a damn? Of course not, especially the Republicans - "Well, now maybe people will listen to us when we tell you of the danger of the ghey lifestyle!"

      There may be the odd Democrat here or there who has enough conscience left to feel a twinge of guilt, but they'll take Wall Street's money to continue screwing over the poor nonstop just the same.

      Net functional difference: nil. And while I might vote for the lesser of two evils on style, I wouldn't donate to it.

      Perhaps it's time that the netroots - especially large aggregate sites like DKos (nearly a million members now, congratulations!) started exacting pledges of its own from candidates. A pledge to NEVER take PAC or corporate money (and if it's given, to either refund it or donate immediately to charity in the PAC's/corporation's name), in exchange for not being sunk in the primaries would be a good start.

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To be clear (0+ / 0-)

        I said "may die" because ADAP is not the sole source of ARVs for many people.  Here in San Francisco, our local government has pretty much guaranteed ARV treatment to residents who need it, regardless of what the state or federal government is willing to do.

        Some ASO's and drug companies also offer drugs to indigent people who have no other way to get them.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:55:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True enough, and I applaud the local gov'ts that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn

          are doing this. However, given the distribution of people living with AIDS, at least some people will die - which is what I was getting at.

          "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

          by Australian2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:31:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wait, $200 was her MONTHLY energy bill? (0+ / 0-)

    That's.....wow. Just wow. My household's energy bill is generally similar, but we're a household of five bachelors, with at least three computers always turned on, aircon, lights, etc. etc. etc.

    My grandparents would consider it a big bill to pay $100/mo for electricity.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:56:40 AM PDT

    •  Phoenix in the summer is a bear. (0+ / 0-)

      And she may be using propane...

      And, as I said in another comment, there used to weatherizing programs in AZ for the poor but I would guess those have been a casualty of the sequester.

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