Looming budget cuts severe, unnecessary
With only a few days remaining until drastic federal spending cuts take effect, colleges and students are bracing themselves for the challenge of managing programs on a tighter budget.
The heavy automatic spending cuts, often referred to as the sequester, are lofted to take effect March 1, unless negotiations among Congress can settle.
The roughly 5 percent federal spending cut, equal to $85 billion in across-the-board spending, is expected to impact national parks, science agencies and federal workforce development programs. The White House has warned certain agencies — including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation — that thousands of research awards and positions will have to be cut for the 2013 fiscal budget, which has yet to be passed by Congress.
For colleges, sequestration is expected to cost thousands of researchers their jobs and shut down college workforce programs designed to help unemployed workers. Thousands of students likely will lose their financial aid. The sequester cuts will be felt on a nationwide scale and will strip money away from many instrumental programs.
But when you reflect on the current financial state of the country, the most distressing aspect is it feels as if we are backed into a corner with little else to do.
Omari Sankofa II
A large portion of our country’s financial woes can be directed back to the inability Congress has displayed to come together, and the looming sequester is yet another horrifying example of this.
President Barack Obama has urged lawmakers to either come to an agreement or postpone their decision further, but both sides seem more content on listing off reasons why the other should be blamed.
As the already-fragile economy edges closer to the brink of crumbling, it feels like many of our lawmakers in power seem content with throwing in the towel.
But on the likely eve of the sequester, one of the best outlooks we can take on is that it’s time for our nation to embrace these cuts if Congress fails to act, per usual.
Experts have predicted the cuts will leave severe and long-term impacts on land-grant universities, such as MSU, which might be at an extreme disadvantage for years to come.
Students are likely to miss out on 71,000 fewer supplemental grants and programs — such as science and the arts — that will have less money to operate.
From a collegiate standpoint, these cuts will be noticeable but not as tragic as what could happen to the workforce on a nationwide scale.
Federal workforce development programs, which already have been cut by 30 percent since 2001, stand to lose $460 million more in the 2013 fiscal year.
In Michigan, the sequester would levy $1.7 million in funds for employment search help and cause about 54,400 fewer people to receive the skills and assistance to get a job.
These cuts will be severe and make a noticeable impact on the U.S. for years to come, but they’re unfortunately necessary because of Congress’ incompetence.
If we ever hope to overcome the debt we have generated, we must address the problem and take steps toward correcting it for our future.