While the news of the impacts of the Obama-sponsored Sequester–$85 billion federal budget cuts– directly affects federal employees, it has a residual effect on all Americans, particularly those planning summer vacations.
According to Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson, there are eight ways summer activities may be restricted:
- Fewer, More Expensive Flights? Reuters News Service points out that the operating budget of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will be reduced $627 million, leading to employee furloughs, including air traffic controllers. Already in a hiring freeze and lost overtime funding means fewer controllers and fewer flights which could lead to higher ticket prices. Also, fewer TSA agents will result in longer lines at security checkpoints. Smaller airports could operate without traffic controllers and leave the pilots to manage flights on their own.
- Slower Tax Refunds: If you’re planning to use your tax refund to pay for your summer vacation, you may have to wait. Market Watch points out that IRS employees are facing five to seven unpaid days off. With 5,000 fewer employees than it had on the payroll two years ago, it’s possible refunds will be delayed.
- National Park Delays: National Parks Service with $134 million slashed from its budget is delaying park openings. A $1.75 million budget cut is expected to delay the opening of Yellowstone two weeks longer. Shorter hours, fewer open restrooms, less-tidy public spaces and fewer park rangers will prevail.
- Fewer Work Study Programs will be available for students and prevent thousands of students from receiving low-income federal aid. States facing the hardest blow are California, New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.
- Riskier Food? CBS News reports sequestration cuts at the FDA will result in 2,100 less food inspectors. Also, the law requiring the Food agency to increase inspections at farms and food processing plants may be delayed. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg confirmed increased risks are inevitable.
- Restricted Coast Guard: Budget cuts will result in the Coast Guard taking fewer emergency flights and spending less time patrolling. Result will be that minor emergencies (usually involving summer boaters) could be delayed to attend to the bigger ones.
- Less Disaster Insurance: FEMA could have $375 million cut from its disaster relief budget which is used to help people recover from natural disasters.
- Possible Recession? A recession is possible with reduced federal spending and thousands of furloughed employees making less income and pumping less back into the economy.
If the above occurs, the effects of sequester could be felt long after summer has faded. So keep tuned!