06 April 2013
Sequestration is all over the media and many people are being affected by the sequestration. Democrats and Republicans alike cannot come to an agreement on how to resolve this heinous issue. President Obama has volunteered 5% of his salary to the U.S. Treasury to help federal employees who have been furloughed. “The White House came up with the 5 percent figure to approximate the level of automatic spending cuts to non-defense Federal agencies that took effect that day,” Kristen Welker, White House Correspondent with NBC News, reported. Congressional salaries are exempt from the automatic Federal budget due to the 27th Amendment stating, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.” (US Const. amend. XXVII.) The Congress chose who will give up their pay, but is unwilling to sacrifice their own money. All congressional members should follow Obama’s example and volunteer back a portion of their salaries to help absorb the impact of the sequestration.
Before beginning the argument there are a couple of big questions to answer. What is the sequestration and how will it affect us? The sequestration began March1st, 2013, due to republicans and democrats being unable to come to a budget cut agreement. Tom Murse, who is a blogger and columnist for Pennsylvania’s Daily Newspaper says, “Sequestration is a term used to describe the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget if the cost of running the government exceeds either an arbitrary amount or the gross revenue it brings during the fiscal year. Simply put, sequestration is the employment of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the face of annual budget deficits.”He continues with the “modern examples” of sequestration and explains, “Sequestration was used in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to encourage Congress to reduce the annual deficit by $1.2 trillion by the end of 2012. If lawmakers failed to do so, the law would have triggered automatic budget cuts to the 2013 national security budget. A super Congress made up of a select group of 12 members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate was chosen in 2011 to identify ways to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The super Congress failed to reach an agreement, however.”
How it affects us goes to the risks posed to our national security and federal prison system, not to mention that thousands are losing their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of people are being furloughed —and— all at a time when Korea is being accused of making nuclear bombs, according to NPR (National Public Radio). An article published the 12th of April 2013 has Kerry Patton, a media commentator and war novel author, pledging, "We will defend our allies. We will stand with South Korea, Japan and others against these threats and we will defend ourselves," That would be nice, but with what army? With the $82 billion in budget cuts, military contracts are being cut, and in turn our military personnel are being laid off and furloughed, and the only people exempt from the sequestration according to Murse, are those with “congressional salaries.”
Wendy Holden, A Herald Reporter for The Register Herald, cites Charles Yates, president of AFGE at the Federal Correctional Institution at McDowell: “‘Sequestration is a mandate that all federal employees, specifically Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employees, take anywhere from 10 to 12 furlough days in an unpaid status. That will take an extra 22 to 35 employees off the staff on a daily basis, leaving less staff to manage the prison population.’” Herald gives an astounding ratio, the inmate to officer ratio will be “10 – 1” prisoners to officers instead of the already alarming “6 – 1” ratio at this time. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, “‘$1.5…