On March 14 the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) notified members that "painful" across-the-board cuts known as sequestration have begun, and unless Congress acts to repeal them, working families and their communities will soon feel the effects; but there is still time to act.
Under the sequester, an estimated 750,000 jobs will be lost this year, and programs that all communities depend on such as education, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure will all begin to suffer 5% - 8% budget cuts.
Tor Cowan, AFT Legislative Director wrote Thursday:
‘Congress must protect vital programs working Americans need, and can help to do so by closing tax loopholes for corporations and asking the wealthiest Americans to do a bit more.
'Congress can still repeal sequestration before these devastating cuts take their toll.'
Here is what AFT claims is at stake:
- Cuts to education
- Cuts to small business
- Cuts to food and drug safety
- Cuts to mental health services
- Cuts to research and innovation
- Cuts to programs senior citizens rely on
- Cuts to the IRS, slowing down tax returns
- Cuts to law enforcement and emergency responders
'Congress created the sequester, and it must act to repeal it.
'Contact your elected officials right now.'
Further fiscal austerity will only weaken the economy, cost jobs and result in irreparable harm to working families and those in need of vital services, according to AFT.
Cowan further insists:
'We cannot balance the budget on the backs of the middle class.
'Tell Congress it’s time wealthy Americans and corporations pay their fair share.'