How the Sequester Might Ruin Your Summer – and Then Some

Photo (cc) by kalleboo

The sequester – $85 billion in federal budget cuts – went into effect March 1. If you’ve been following the news and thinking it will only affect federal employees facing a furlough, you may be wrong.

The cuts could eventually affect lots of things – including your summer vacation.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers a list of delays, annoyances, and other sequester-related problems you could be facing this summer. Check it out, then read on for more surprises.

There’s no way to know with certainty the exact effects budget cuts will have. And the sequester is highly politicized, so there’s likely exaggeration on both sides. For example, in this Huffington Post article, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) expresses his skepticism:

“It is a terrible way to cut spending, but not to cut 2.5 percent over the total budget over a year when it is twice the size it was 10 years ago? Give me a break,” Coburn said. “We see all these claims about what a tragedy it’s going to be.”

So depending on who you want to believe, the sequester may or may not be a big deal. Here’s a list of potential problems: As the summer progresses, we’ll see if they come to pass.

1. Fewer and more expensive flights?

Reuters says the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will lose $627 million, which will result in sending furlough notices to most employees, including air traffic controllers. They’re also in the midst of a hiring freeze and have lost overtime funding. Fewer controllers means fewer flights. The law of supply and demand would suggest that fewer flights could lead to higher prices.

If you plan on flying this summer, get to the airport early – very early. The cuts will result in fewer TSA agents, which could mean longer lines at security checkpoints.

Smaller airports could be doing without air traffic controllers entirely. The Washington Post reported the Garden City Regional Airport in Kansas lost its air traffic controllers, leaving the pilots to manage flights on their own.

2. Slow tax refunds?

If you were planning on using your tax refund to fund your summer vacation, you may have to wait a bit. According to Market Watch, Internal Revenue Service employees are facing five to seven unpaid days off. Considering the IRS already has 5,000 fewer employees than it did two years ago, refund delays could be a possibility. However, ABC disagrees. In this article, they say refunds won’t be delayed.

With fewer employees and furloughs, however, there won’t be as many people available to man the phones and field your tax questions.

3. Delays at national parks

According to NPR, the National Park Service will slash $134 million from its budget. The cuts have already led to delays in park openings.

Reuters says most of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park will stay closed for two weeks longer than usual after the park cut $1.75 million from its budget and couldn’t afford the snowplows needed to open the roads.

If you’re planning on vacationing in a national park this summer, expect shorter hours, fewer open restrooms, less-tidy public spaces, and fewer park rangers.

4. Fewer work-study programs

If you planned on paying for school with a work-study program or federal aid, you might have to spend part of your summer vacation finding funding.

The sequester will prevent thousands of students around the country from receiving low-income federal aid, as well as decrease the overall availability for work-study opportunities. The state facing the hardest blow is California, which will cut about 9,600 students from receiving aid and prevent approximately 3,690 possible students from entering work-study programs, according to this chart from The Washington Post. Other states hit hard include New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.

5. Riskier food?

CBS News reports sequestration cuts at the Food and Drug Administration will result in 2,100 less food inspectors. In addition, a law requiring the agency to up inspections at farms and food processing plants may be delayed.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg had this to say to the Associated Press:

“We’re going to be struggling with how to really grapple with the cuts of sequestration … clearly we will be able to provide less of the oversight functions and we won’t be able to broaden our reach to new facilities either, so inevitably that increases risk.”

6. Riskier waters

According to the Associated Press, budget cuts will mean the Coast Guard will spend less time patrolling.

While emergency cases will still be a priority, this might not be good news if you plan to spend your summer boating, although it could be good news if you plan on spending it smuggling drugs or people into the United States.

7. Less disaster assistance?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could lose hundreds of millions in funding. Some estimates, like this one from the Washington Post, peg the total at nearly $900 million, including $580 million in disaster relief.

So if your summer includes a tornado, flood or hurricane, you could have longer wait times for disaster relief.

8. A possible recession relapse

With less federal spending and thousands of furloughed employees making less income and pumping less money back into the economy, the likelihood of a recession increases dramatically. Should that occur, the effects could be felt long after summer has faded.

Truth or Exaggeration?

Whether all, or any, of these sequester-related hassles come to pass will continue to be a matter of debate. Time will tell.

In the meantime, what do you think? Is the sequester going to cause real problems like those above, or do you welcome the cuts and think the warnings are nothing but political posturing? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement
5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

3 Big Medicare Costs Just Got Bigger
3 Big Medicare Costs Just Got Bigger

Some Medicare premiums and deductibles for 2020 will take a bigger bite out of Social Security payments.

How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps
How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps

Here is how to get your finances in shape for your golden years, one step at a time.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You probably don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

8 Things That Are Free in August
8 Things That Are Free in August

As summer enters the home stretch, we’ve rounded up these sizzling freebies.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.