Uncertainty fuels sequester worries

President Obama signed the sequester order on Friday, putting into effect the federal budget cuts that have been threatened for months.

It will be a while before all the cuts begin to take effect. In the meantime, many people who depend on various government programs for services or for employment are still unsure how the cuts will affect them. It is creating an atmospher of uncertainty and worry, so much so that the anticipation may be worse than the cuts themselves.

Last week the White House released a long list of reductions for Minnesota programs, from education to child care to senior nutrition programs. Exactly how these cuts will affect actual programs and is speculation. We wonder, for example, how Minnesota will be affected by the Navy’s Blue Angels having to pull out of St. Cloud air show, one of the items listed by the White House under Military Readiness.

The state will lose $689,000 in Job Search Assistance for people trying to find new jobs. The White House said that will affect about 23,270 people. Do the math and that averages out to $29.60 per affected job seeker. What kind of help were they going to get for less than $30 each?

Granted, there will be harsher cuts. Funds for programs for students with disabilities will be cut by some $9.2 million, but school districts have been making up for the government shorting them on special ed funds for years.

In the meantime, there is still time for Congress and the president to work out a better set of cuts, if they can give up the finger pointing and blame game.

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