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Sequestergeddon

TV news tells us what happens when the government shuts down.

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Our plan, in as much as we had one, was to ignore this whole sequester thing until it went away. But yesterday we found that position was no longer tenable when NBC-12’s Ryan Nobles tweeted that it’s definitely probably going to happen.

So, we offer you this topical blog post: In as few words as possible, here are five ways Richmond-area TV stations say the sequester will impact you if no deal is reached tomorrow.

1. Measles and mumps will spread like the plague. That’s not to mention whooping cough, rubella and Hepatitis B. Under the terms of the planned cuts, 3,530 fewer children will be vaccinated.

2. You’ll be furloughed (if you currently manufacture weapons systems). Rachel DePompa Investigates says 2,814 employees at the Defense Supply Center of Richmond stand to lose 20 percent of their pay through mandatory furloughs. The center didn’t provide comment, but an unnamed lieutenant colonel tells DePompa the sequester would mean ruin for Richmond’s economy as a result of the employees’ reduced spending power. Civilian employees at Fort Lee face a similar fate.

3. VCU will be unable to cure cancer. About $21 million in federal funding for research will be cut, VCU President Michael Rao warns, “some of which usually supports cancer research at the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research and the VCU Massey Cancer Center.” Rao tells CBS-6 the cuts could result in the loss of 100 to 200 research-related jobs at the school.

4. Toddlers will roam the streets. School leaders in Richmond tell CBS-6 they’re prepping for instant cuts to Head Start, an early-childhood education program for kids from low-income families. Across the state, the Obama administration says 1,000 children stand to lose access to the program. Additionally, “up to 400 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.”

5. You will no longer be able to afford meat. With the fewer inspectors working in meat processing plants, expect price gouging at your local grocery store. One butcher tells ABC-8: “I don't think we’ll ever run out of anything. I think what will happen is the meat industry will hike prices in order to basically bide through the time.”


So obviously we should all be freaking out, but confusingly, TV news also warns us to be wary of “a dubious list of budget horribles.” ABC-8 posted an Associated Press story explaining how all this doom talk officials are feeding reporters can be very self motivated -- an attempt to drum up public concern.

Administration officials are coming forward with a grim compendium of jobs to be lost, services to be denied or delayed, military defenses to be let down and important operations to be disrupted. Obama’s new chief of staff, Denis McDonough, spoke of a “devastating list of horribles.”

For most Americans, though, it’s far from certain they will have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day if the budget-shredder known as the sequester comes to pass. …

It goes like this: Put someone's budget at risk and the first thing you'll hear is a threat to close a cherished national symbol or lay off firefighters and police, when in fact there are other ways to cut spending.

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