Because the sky didn't fall after the sequester mandated federal budget cuts March 1, some in Washington claimed it was overhyped and maybe even beneficial. That was never the case, and the sky is beginning to fall on many, like those receiving federal extended unemployment benefits, who are least able to take the blow.

Cuts for people enrolled in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will begin next week, and on average this will mean a $200 reduction in weekly unemployment checks, according to John Barrett III, the director of the BerkshireWorks Career Center. This twice victimizes those who are unemployed in a tight job market. On the horizon are cuts in housing vouchers for low-income families and reductions in Head Start openings.

Washington Republicans who celebrated the sequester are now outraged because FAA budget cuts have resulted in furloughs for air traffic controllers and flight delays, but their efforts to place the blame on President Obama won't fly either. The president offered to end the sequester with a mix of budget cuts and tax increases on the wealthy, but the GOP refused to compromise because of ideological opposition to tax hikes that Americans support. The sequester and its pain won't end until Republicans stop penalizing Americans and do what voters want -- behave responsibly and find a middle ground.


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