That's what the President of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, called the sequester — and he's absolutely right.
Republicans have once again shown that they'll do almost anything to protect the wealthy and special interests like Big Oil — no matter the cost to the rest of us and to the economy. This time, they have allowed devastating across-the-board spending cuts to kick in.
Just yesterday, the Senate voted on a balanced plan to replace this year's indiscriminate cuts with a mix of targeted cuts and new revenues from ending loopholes for the very wealthiest Americans and corporate special interests. This plan got 52 votes and should have passed but Republicans blocked it by insisting on a 60-vote margin.
It's clear that Republicans would rather impose painful spending cuts that will hurt the economy and millions of Americans than end a single tax loophole for the wealthy and special interests like Big Oil and Wall Street.
As a reminder, here's a list of things Republicans apparently prefer to happen instead of eliminating wasteful giveaways in the tax code:
70,000 kids will get kicked off of Head Start
10,000 teacher jobs will be at risk
7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut
Nearly 140,000 fewer children will receive life-saving vaccinations
Up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated
2,100 fewer food inspections will take place
Tax returns and refunds will be delayed
The long-term unemployed will see their benefits cut by about 10 percent
Nearly a billion dollars in loans to small businesses cut
It could take several hours to get through security at the airport
More than 100 airports might have to simply close down
Our military leaders have said it would weaken our national security
The Secretary of Homeland Security said the cuts will make it harder to protect the country from a terror attack and that the border will be less secure
Not all these things will happen overnight, but they will happen. And the longer the sequester goes on, the worse things will get. Worse yet, unless a permanent replacement is agreed to, these painful and damaging cuts will continue for nine years.
BOTTOM LINE: Instead of standing by and watching as our economy and millions of Americans are hurt by these irresponsible and devastating cuts, Republicans need to agree to reduce our deficit with the kind of responsible, balanced approach that three-quarters of Americans prefer. Their reckless behavior got us into this mess in 2011 and now it's time for them to come back to the table and help get us out of it before the worst impacts of these indiscriminate cuts happen.
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