While the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration were designed to equally hit Democratic and Republican party priorities, from social services to the military budget, in the Bay Area they would disproportionately target society's most vulnerable citizens and strain already-stretched local agency budgets.
If Congress and the White House fail to forge a budget deal by March 1, the cuts could begin to withdraw $9-10 billion of federal support from the California. In the Bay Area, these cuts would have the biggest impact on low-income families, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, adults living with AIDS, and children ages 3-5.
Back in September, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed a U.S. Conference of Mayors' letter that called on federal lawmakers to resolve the budget conflict before the sequestration cuts could take effect, labeling the budget cuts "a threat" to local economies nationwide. Now, with the deadline looming, city officials and social service providers across the Bay Area are bracing for the impact. Depending to how the cuts are eventually allocated, San Francisco alone could lose more than $10 million in critical social services.
"All across the city, the sequestration hurts those most in need of services and support," Gentle Blythe, spokesperson with the San Francisco Unified School District, told the Guardian.
European nations are starting to take some of the same steps that Republicans are suggesting for the US -- reductions in the public sector, cuts in benefits, etc. And Joseph Stiglitz, an economist who actually knows what he's talking about, argues that it's a terrible idea -- and that goes for the United States, too. Check out this fascinating interview.:Read more »
A substantial majority of Americans support ending the war in Afghanistan, decreasing the military budget, and redirecting that money to domestic needs, a position held even more strongly in liberal San Francisco. Read more »