Friday, February 22, 2013

The sequester and my family

I was just on the phone with my cousin who is in IT for a well known defense contractor. I was speaking with him about the various certification issues I have to deal with as a teacher and I knew that he had similar issues and then he brought up something unexpected: the sequester.  I had forgotten that he was vulnerable. Someone in my close family is facing the possibility of furloughs and being laid off. The sequester was quite honestly just a political exercise in the stupidity of government for me. I was watching the Rachel Madow show last night, and the conversation with Ezra Klein about the sequester was actually eye opening. Basically, since it's a man made crisis, it can be unmade just as easily as it was made.  The congress could just decide to not do it, understanding that a manufactured crisis is obviously not going to force them to make decisions. 

Yea! I thought to myself. Cause this stuff's really gonna hurt somebody, not really thinking about that the people it could hurt are MY people. My cousin has 4 children and his wife is a stay at home mom. They own their home. They have two cars. They have children in school. Fortunately, he has saved money in the eventuality that he will be laid off. "I've been laid off before, so I know what it's like. I can't change what could happen, and I'm not going to stress out over it," is what he essentially said to me.

I don't think I could look at the possibility of my job(s) being gone with such ease. And then I remember, my mother's pension is federal. If the sequester goes into effect, what happens to her? This was a major concern when there was a threat of a government shut down.  

Why am I writing this? Because this is not a game or a frustrating news story to me anymore. People that I love will be affected if the sequester happens. These people have real lives that will change significantly if they do not get paid or are laid off. The macro vision of this mess is scary, but the micro vision is even scarier. The regular people are not really being looked at. I know where I place some of the blame for this situation, but I really don't give a rats a**. The government should be ashamed of itself. We as people should be ashamed that we voted these people into office and they can't seem to figure out how to do their jobs. There's a lot of politicking and strategy that each side has to do, but if America is about the individual, then we need to actually see the individuals lives as important to the whole. The sequester is not just a political exercise; it's real and has real life consequences for real people.

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