Only 4 days after the March 1st Sequester deadline, people around our nation are already starting to feel the pinch of austerity. Customs and Border Protection reduced overtime for TSA agents over the weekend, and delays at some airports were up 200%. According to the statement released by that agency, “lanes that would have previously been open due to overtime staffing were closed, further exacerbating wait times at airports.” Additional workforce reductions are expected in the coming weeks, so airport officials say the problem will get even worse.
And TSA agents aren't the only ones feeling the pain. The Georgia Department of Labor issued a press release Monday to inform people receiving extended unemployment benefits that they will soon see a 10.7% reduction in their weekly checks. In Georgia, the maximum amount someone can receive under EUC benefits is only $330, and the average is just $260. A ten percent cut in those benefits won't just hurt struggling families, but will have a larger impact to the local economy as people will have less money to spend.
Even in Republican's most cherished industry – defense – people are feeling the pain of austerity. Yesterday, General Dynamics, a company that constructs U.S. Navy ships, warned employees that over 1,000 people will be laid off indefinitely in April, because of the sequester. In less than a week, Republican austerity measures are already wreaking havoc on working people throughout our nation.
It isn't difficult to see how cuts like these will have a broad impact on our economy. We need to be investing in our nation, not cutting off people's economic lifelines. That's why we need to support the Congressional Progressive Caucus's Balancing Act, which invests in America's future, instead of dooming us to austerity.