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Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Sequester hurts the neediest the worst

  • It took only 15 hours for Congress to bow to the wishes of the airline industry to reverse the furloughing of air traffic controllers that triggered long delays at airports.

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  • It took only 15 hours for Congress to bow to the wishes of the airline industry to reverse the furloughing of air traffic controllers that triggered long delays at airports.
    In the end Congress voted for special treatment allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to bypass budget cuts (sequestration) and transfer money from the Transportation Department to pay for all air traffic controllers.
    While planes are back on schedule progressive Democrats are dismayed as they saw most of their congressional leaders cave into the conservative Republicans’ quick fix solution. They criticized the Democratic Party and the White House and accused Republicans of moving funds around instead of increasing the revenue stream. Republicans remain stoic.
    Many are calling the precedent setting move a biased, rich peoples’ capitulation while leaving in place sequestration cuts to cancer patient treatments, military defense, the poor and homeless, including senior citizens struggling with cutbacks in transportation and meals.
    Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels, estimates that 19 million fewer meals will be served to seniors due to the cuts. She adds, “It’s perplexing that we’re saving programs that are inconveniencing others, but we’re not saving programs that are saving lives.”
    Many Missourians are also affected by the two month long sequestration.
    The Mid America Regional Council, while not affiliated with Meals On Wheels, cares for the aging for Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties.
    Jacqui Moore, the director of Aging Services at MARC, says federal fund cuts to MARC will be about 5 to 6 percent. The state is expected to cut $1.5 million for home delivery as well creating a double edge hardship for many humanitarian agencies.
    MARC’s service to the aging will also impact professional caterers and part-time contract drivers.
    “We feed 1,100 people a day in 20 centers and we have put a freeze on the acceptance of new clients even though we have 250 people on our waiting list.” she said. “The demand for our services will grow due to an aging population, the economy and our health care system.”
    Still, a Congress with less than a 15 percent public approval rating, continues along party lines,
    blaming each other for the harmful mandatory budget cuts.
    Prominent commentator Bill Moyers called this Congress the worst that money can buy and 85 percent of the American people agree. Me included.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
     

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