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What sequestration means for African Americans

In nine days, the U.S. government enact automatic spending cuts due to what is called sequestration. Specifically speaking, the sequester refers to the drastic and severe budget cuts that are set to happen on March 1 if the White House and Congress cannot not find some common ground on the budget.

For African Americans, it means even more economic pain under the first ever African American- headed administration in U.S. history and will have a potentially devastating impact on poor and middle class minority communities — who have yet to recover from the recession.  Even if the administration does work something out, it will not be enough to stave off the additional economic doom, especially given the major economic contraction noted last quarter.

Places like Michigan will lose more than 31,000 jobs in six months and its economy could stall if Congress and the president do not act to postpone these automatic federal budget cuts of $1.2 trillion. This is based on a study by George Mason University, which predicts Michigan will lose 31,210 jobs over six months if the budget cuts take effect. The state’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in December, up one percentage point from the month before.

The U.S. Army estimated in a report that 7,807 jobs in Michigan would be affected as a result of an annual reduction of $333 million. The cuts would be felt at Camp Grayling, Detroit Arsenal and Fort Custer Training Center in Battle Creek. The state’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in December, up one percentage point from the month before.

In summary, the sequester would cut more than millions from 19 federal education programs, including Head Start. In simple terms, another politically created cliff will occur automatically. All this when  jobs are scarce and even people with a bachelor’s degree, have to take whatever jobs are available, many of which  do not require college-level skills.

True, the stock market has shown an increase of 6.5 percent over the last three months. But African Americans are still suffering.  Unlike billionaires, who have recently started dumping their American stocks — especially those stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. People like Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway; John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage crisis and owns the hedge fund Paulson & Co.; and billionaire George Soros are all getting rid of stock that depends on consumer spending.

Yes, the sequestration is bad for America, and African Americas will again be hit hard, for as history indicates we are disposable and will be the first to fall off any financial cliff — real or imaginary.