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Posted on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Federal sequester: What budget cuts could mean for Washtenaw County

By Amy Biolchini

President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress failed to reach a deal Friday to avoid $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts that could soon affect federally funded programs across the country from now to the end of September.

Though every state and county receives money from the federal government to finance certain programs and operations, the extent of the effects of the budget cuts -- known as sequestration -- will vary by community.


A Head Start student waits for her receipt at the newest branch of the T&C Federal Credit Union at Willow Run's Cheney Academy in Superior Township. The federally funded Head Start program for low-income students could be subject to budget cuts as a result of federal sequestration. file photo

Exactly how much the cuts will affect Michigan’s budget and the federal employees in Washtenaw County is unclear at this point.

Here’s a look at the services, research efforts and staff that make use of federal money that could be at risk for cuts under sequestration:

Medicare reimbursements:

The amount of money that the Medicare program provides to reimburse health care providers from private doctor's offices to major hospitals is also subject to the whim of the federal budget.

Medicaid and health care for veterans of military service are not subject to sequestration.

Staffing at airport control towers:

The Federal Aviation Administration staff that work at the control tower at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport could be eliminated, and the hours for the control tower staff at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti Township could be reduced.

Financial aid for students:

Federally supported work-study programs may be affected for students seeking out help in the fall of 2013 and the winter of 2014. Pell Grants will be protected for one year, according to the University of Michigan.

Loan fees will likely increase for federal student and parent loans.

Meals on Wheels:

The U-M Health System has received federal money to run the Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels agency for the past 40 years, and a substantial amount of the funding may now be subject to cuts. The program has volunteers deliver hot meals made at University Hospital to people unable to leave their homes in Washtenaw County -- like the elderly or people with disabilities.

Food stamp programs and Social Security funding will not be touched by sequestration.

Head Start programs:

About $20,944,350 that could be cut from the Head Start program in Michigan that provides early childhood education for low-income families. The cut would mean about 701 jobs would be eliminated from the program’s staff and 3,364 fewer children would be served in Michigan, according to a report from the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.

Locally, Washtenaw County is overseeing the federally funded Head Start program until the end of the 2012-13 school year, which serves more than 500 children. In the 2013-14 school year, the program will be under the authority of a new non-profit organization that's selected by the federal government.

Research funding:

Federal grant dollars used for major research projects at institutions like the University of Michigan could be up for elimination.

About 62 percent of U-M’s $795 million research budget comes from the federal government. U-M is anticipating a cut as high as $40 million in research funding as a result of sequestration.

Programs to help low-income individuals heat their homes:

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income people and families heat and cool their homes, could see a cut of $14.7 million from its $172.4 million budget in Michigan.

Emergency preparedness grants for public safety departments:

About $1.5 million could be cut from Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grants in Michigan, which are used by departments like local fire and police to purchase equipment that helps them respond to emergency situations.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

The Money for Regime Change: I am satisfied to hear that this Nation has enough funds in its coffers to spend another sixty million dollars to help the Syrian rebels to fight for a regime change. If we have a little less to spend here in our Washtenaw County, we can easily accept the inconvenience it may cause. It is always good to change a regime and all problems will go away.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

China did it under Bush bought the US lock, stock and barrel!


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 4:16 a.m.

Sir, You are very correct. Since we don't have the money, we have to live with the Regime and embrace some minor inconvenience. Don't tempt me to ask China for some cash for a regime change in the US.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

I don't think $60M is enough to effect a regime change in either Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

The bill that raised taxes on individuals gave offsetting tax breaks ( provisions pushed by President obama) to Pay no tax GE, Rich Nascar owners and our friend Jack Daniels. We will never get our financial house in order if Senator Levin continues to vote for tax breaks he claims to oppose.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

The Budget Control Act was the most bipartisan bill passed in recent memory. Speaker Boehner, Cantor, McConnell all lobbied for it heavily as did Lyin Ryan who said he'd waited years for something like this to finally pass. In the Senate it passed with 74 votes. In the House it passed with 269 votes, more Republicans voted for it than Democrats. President Obama, speaking of the Sequester portion of the bill, was quoted at the signing that it wasn't his preference but that the overall bill helped end the debt ceiling crisis. If the Super Committee that had been created by this bill fulfilled it's mission to develop a deficit reduction plan (Lyin Ryan was on that small, elite committee remember), the Sequester would never have happened - it was designed to be so odious that neither party would want it come into effect. Congress had had from April 2011 until now to develop a way to solve the sequester issue, but was unable to do so, and NOW choose to say it is the President's plan. How convenient. it appears he is the only one willing to negotiate. He is willing to cut taxes, and only raise revenue on businesses (such the Oil Companies getting billions in tax cut, corporate jet usage, etc.), and the super wealthy who enjoy hedge fund loophole credits, etc. He's not talking about income tax rates. In fact, if you recall, he CUT income tax rates for everyone making less than $400,000 permanently in January (and never increased any taxes during is first Administration). Republicans refuse to even consider these loophole fixes for their wealthy friends. Interesting.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

My income taxes went up and my household income is below $400K. I think you have been drinking the koolaid. Look at your paycheck and tell me what change you see.

Ivor Ivorsen

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

From a recent Pew Research Center poll (February 13-18) "Do you think the Republican Party (is)... out of touch with the American people" Yes: 62% No: 33% It is truly amazing the number of comments above that precisely parrot the failed slogans and talking points of the 2012 Republican campaign. The American people have moved on, better catch up guys.

Basic Bob

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Some people still root for the Lions and Browns, too. They are at least as far removed from reality as the most ardent Tea Party member or staunchest conservative. That still doesn't make me a Bears or Steelers fan.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

Sounds like the answer to my question was a yes.

Ivor Ivorsen

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

Gorc, The TeaPublicans jumped off the bridge in so many ways last November: Immigration reform, equal pay, marriage equality, reproductive rights, voter suppression. It's heartening that the vast majority of Americans chose not to join them. I am encouraged, however, by the stubbornness and power of the extreme righties, existing in their Fox News Infosphere, and the likelihood they will nominate another candidate in 2016 far removed from the experiences of average Americans.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

Ivor....if the 62% jumped off a bridge, would you follow?

Eat Local A2

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Only in Washington is something that's not a cut in actual dollars called a cut. And journalism used to be about facts, not being in the tank for issues and candidates. As the link below reports, the so-called $995 billion sequester ''cuts" over 10 years are actually a $110 billion INCREASE in spending, and yes that is ***after adjusting for inflation***. "How did you go bankrupt?" Ernest Hemingway: "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly."


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

"Socialists are happy until they run out of other people's money." ? Margaret Thatcher


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

If you are against the second tax increase in this short time frame, you are against the elderly, children, and puppies.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Please tell me why these are being called cuts if the budget increased this year. Why then would they cut these parts of the budget? We are being manipulated. We are smart enough to see this, right? Create an emergency, or the impression of one, and the people will overreact and give us what we want willingly. They are mindless sheep.

steve pezda

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

If you agree with what Speaker Boehner and other republicans have achieved here, send him an email thanking him. Finally someone had the guts to stand up to Mr. Obama. But this is just a start; we need more cuts to the out-of-control spending by our federal government.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

They have been filibustering him for over 5 years where have you been.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

I hope before we approve $60 million in aid for the Syrian opposition that Congress (McCain, Graham, Cruz, etc.) finds an appropriate offset. If you cannot take of your own without finding spending offsets, they you cannot help the world, either. Let's apply the same rules. And let's find some offsets to Afghanistan as well. Why do we need to stick our nose in a country that doesn't want us there -- is that to satisfy McCain's ego as well? How are we going to pay for -- yes, our children will pay for the war there as well as the war in Iraq. But the right doesn't complain about those, right?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4 p.m.

I agree we need to take care of our own first! And any aid to Syria will be money we don't have down the toilet. BUT lets not forget Obama IS President and he is doing a dismal job of leading!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Our representatives in Washington, both House and Senate, are useless. There has not been a budget for 4 years. Everything gets kicked down the road. The sequester was setup as a "fate worse than death", by Congress, to force Congress to act. They didn't. Watching what goes on in Washington makes one sick. Both parties, as well as the fringe parties, are to blame. People like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, etc. should all resign since they get nothing of any value done. However, the problem doesn't just rest in Washington. Too many Americans complain about the spending just before they go to the doctor and get Medicare to pay for the visit and extensive tests in a system that doesn't look to see if the test was done prior by another doctor. Americans don't share enough responsibility in incurring these costs, like a bigger co-pay. And while Medicare premiums do make a slight adjustment based on income, they make no adjustment based on net worth - so if you have a few hundred grand in the bank you pay the same co-pay as if you didn't. The attitude that when Washington pays for something it doesn't matter if it's a good investment (think Amtrak, bridges) has to change. All the cheers when the Stadium Bridge funding came through is a great example - the mindset is that if we don't take it someone else will - versus a mindset that says no one should take it, it should be paid for by other means. Not that I think the Federal government shouldn't aide in infrastructure repairs, I'm objecting to the we should take it or someone else will mindset on most government spending.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

You forgot to mention President Obama's role in this debacle.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

The spending cuts, if kept in place all year, will reduce economic growth for 2013 by .6 percentage points and reduce the number of full time jobs by 750,000, according to Congessional Budget Office. If you combine the spending cuts with tax increases approved in the fiscal cliff deal and our payroll taxes cut expiring, the CBO estimates the economy would still grow by 1.4%. That's slow growth, but not the gloom and doom recession rhetoric that the President is spouting.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

He just got a huge tax increase which was more than the cuts of the sequester. I don't understand what the problem is......................Maybe he should slow down on his campaigning and do more of it via television instead of adding pollution into the air by flying all over the country (not very carbon friendly) and wasting precious fuel. Let them eat cake.................


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

This speaks so loudly of the issues with our government. If a private company faced a budget limitation, it cuts spending of what is the least important first. It avoids debt because it knows that will end its existance. Our leadership instead, first threatens the most innocent and needy. This is all to make it OK to either increase taxes or increase our national debt (again to be passed on to our innocent children). Why not cut the funds we give to other countries first or some of the funds we give to the special interest groups? This shows who owns these officials. A very manipulative approach to avoiding their responsibilities but still paying those that own our politicans. This sequester was known far in advance of today.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

Government is a business and should not be run like one. Goerge W was a buisness man and look what it got us, doubled the debt in 6 years, 2 wars, over 4400 dead troops, 10s of thousands wounded, 500 billion dollars drug gift to drug companies, 3 trillion dollar tax cut to the rich to create zero jobs!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Even at the local level it's always police and fire that will be cut first along with school lunches, buses, and things that will affect the general public the most. If I were wanting more of your money I would sell you the same bill of goods that they do..................and hopefully you'd buy it.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:48 a.m.

$14.7 million lost in emergency funds for heating assistance for the poor, $40 million for research funding at UM, no Meals on Wheels for elderly and disabled, 3,400 fewer Michigan children in Head Start, increased student loan fees, and no Ann Arbor Airport staffing (lost jobs, fewer flights, etc.). Welcome to the beginning of sequester impact in Michigan, courtesy of the Republicans. From this point forward any negative economic news will be blamed on the sequester and the Republicans refusal to use a balanced approach of revenue and spending cuts for deficit reduction while insisting on their way of only spending cuts. They are toast.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Wow, does MSNBC have an affiliate here in A2? Prez proposed sequester. got it. Prez demanded tax increase on so-called wealthy in the debt-ceiling debate at end of '12 as part of his "balanced" approach, got it in January '13. Now to avoid sequester, he and demoncats wants tax increases on wealthy as part of a "balanced" approach .... wait, we just played that record. Then a few days ago the demoncats offered a proposal to increase taxes in order to srink the size of the federal government in this sequester debate!!?? -- we need to increase taxes so fed gov will spend less? Only a Sparty would think that makes sense. Of course, the real pay off to the last minute demoncat-sparty plan was that the Congressional Budget office who deomcats and Obama cite often, scored this "plan" and said it would actually increase the deficit because, of course, they proposed spending increases and higher taxes and called the spending increases cuts..... what's wrong with this picture -- in your world, this is 100% the Republicans fault?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

Wrong. The Budget Control Act was the most bipartisan bill passed in recent memory. Speaker Boehner, Cantor, McConnell all lobbied for it heavily as did Lyin Ryan who said he'd waited years for something like this to finally pass. In the Senate it passed with 74 votes. In the House it passed with 269 votes, more Republicans voted for it than Democrats. President Obama, speaking of the Sequester portion of the bill, was quoted at the signing that it wasn't his preference but that the overall bill helped end the debt ceiling crisis. If the Super Committee that had been created by this bill fulfilled it's mission to develop a deficit reduction plan (Lyin Ryan was on that small, elite committee remember), the Sequester would never have happened - it was designed to be so odious that neither party would want it come into effect. Congress had had from April 2011 until now to develop a way to solve the sequester issue, but was unable to do so, and NOW choose to say it is the President's plan. How convenient. it appears he is the only one willing to negotiate. He is willing to cut taxes, and only raise revenue on businesses (such the Oil Companies getting billions in tax cut, corporate jet usage, etc.), and the super wealthy who enjoy hedge fund loophole credits, etc. He's not talking about income tax rates. In fact, if you recall, he CUT income tax rates for everyone making less than $400,000 permanently in January (and never increased any taxes during is first Administration). Republicans refuse to even consider these loophole fixes for their wealthy friends. Interesting.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

I think you are missing the point. Democrats do not want *ANY* cuts to domestic spending. So there is nothing "balanced" about it.

Superior Twp voter

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Nope, SpartyLib, sequester was Broke Insane Oblama's idea. Period.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

Raising everybody's taxes is most popular with the people who pay none.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Let me guess - your solution to balancing the budget would be raising everybody's taxes, right?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:25 a.m.

Unbelievable! we all cut 2% from our lives on January 1st due to reinstatement of the social security tax and you are going to tell me that the government cannot reduce the rate of spending by 2.5%? They will still spend more than they did last year! Come on people use your brains...............THINK if you still can............. You are being played by our leaders (formerly public servants).


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:56 a.m.

You forgot about jobs impacts: Detroit Arsenal, EPA, DCMA, and the VA Hospital...all impacted by sequestration.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

come on ..... really? job losses when these departments will get more money that last year, just not as much (they call that a "cut"). Obama increased fed gov size by 20% while we were in a financial tailspin. Just the opposite of what a responsible "leader" would do. Fed workers make $79,000 for what private sector pays $50,000 or less for. Act like adults and stop the lunacy. Right, left or middle politically cannot defend this government monster. Only a devote socialist or communist can defend what this country has become where the ultimate goal is for the "state" to take over everything and only the political class will live well. Equakl outcome not equal opportunity. History is clear on how this will end.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

I need your help. The budget is larger this year then it was last year withou the sequester increase. I am paying more in tax this year already. This being the case, tell me why these are called cuts.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

The sad part is Congress and Senate are exempt and we have $60M to give Syria...that is BS!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:29 a.m.

That's interesting JBK. I've known some DoD employees as well! Most of whom have put their lives on the line for our country and some who gave their lives. But as you say, most of them are probably slackers.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:42 a.m.

No one cares! My first comment was deleted and I have no clue why. I personally know 3 DoD workers and they are a joke. they make their own hours, cheat on their time sheets, etc... No one will lose a tear over any of this..........................

Superior Twp voter

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:08 a.m.

No Sir/Ma'm, We didn't. Oblama did. It was his idea, and he wanted it. More pain, more gubmint (Obama's kind) needed. Simple, really.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:06 a.m.

Those agencies are just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of Federal employees in Michigan are going to bear the burden of DC's inability to address entitlement reform.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:44 a.m.

Who cares what it means. This needed to happen. Great day for the U.S. citizens.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

The president could have agreed to the idea of giving him discretion so the cuts could be where it wouldn't hurt, e.g. conferences, travel, duplicate programs, ineffective programs, and those suggested by the people running the programs. But no, we have to have scare tactics and lies by his staff, like the education secretary saying teachers were pink slipped and Homeland Security letting out prisoners before cuts are made. Local government has had to cut spending and is trying to do so sensibly and communicating what they are trying to do. President Obama appears to want to take no responsibility for anything, too bad it's not a "the buck stops here" administration


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

And be called a dictator and a socialist if he did which is what the teapublicans are calling him anyway.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

What a slanted picture! Is that the best you can do How about showing a kitten lapping at a bowl of milk? What a joke!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:56 a.m.

The reason for the picture is that Head Start will be affected. Milk for kittens will not.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

They're NOT "budget cuts." Every part of the federal government will still be getting more money than they got last year.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

If you don't have enough money to pay for what you need or the increase in demand it is a budget cut.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

The vast majority of Americans are struggling to keep their lives together these days. When confronted with this reality, conservatives typically respond by pinning the blame on them - get a job, take responsibility, have fewer (or no) kids, give up your dreams. Typically, these words are delivered with a tone that can only be described as vitriol. Unless the majority of Americans do not constitute what we consider America, the right hates America. Love it or leave it, folks.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

You are all just validating my point. Nothing but hate and vitriol for the majority of Americans. It is the average working people who are at fault for everything in this nation, not the people who own it and run it.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Absolutely have less or no kids. And why should I be responsible to make my dreams - and the "dreams" of 50% of the US adult population's come true. Who is helping me with my "dreams"? How exactly are you contributing to the so-called "dreams" of others? Why is someone making minimum wage cranking out babies knowing they can't afford the child? "Shared sacrafice" is what I hear out of libs like you. I have never heard once what the under 65 yr-old crowd who live off the governement are sharing or sacrificing for the greater good - and we're talking millions of people - white, black, latino, etc. Well I guess they share their children, many from dysfunctional homes with dysfunctional "parents" or more like parent in the singular. What do you owe a single unwed mom, intentionally getting pregnant (4 times), who is "struggling" to make ends meet? What is that unwed mom sacrificing for me and rest of us? I know, it was lack of education that produced the single mom with 4 kids from 4 fathers. Right! You have a constitutional right to have a kid but you don't have the right to have me or others pay to raise the child. where does this liberal nightmare end? End the cycle of poverty by cutting off the $$.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:45 a.m.

Vitriolic... has met itself.

Superior Twp voter

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:40 a.m.

Keep up your typical Libspeak milton. See what you really are.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

Milton - You should follow your own advice and get a job, have fewer or no children. That would make my day as I am divorced, make 100k and I am sick and tired of baling out adults who make bad "choices", so yes, the RIGHT hates the America as WE now know it! Pay your own bills and we will get along fine!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

Typical left

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:59 a.m. According to Edward Wolff's paper, cited here, an economist at New York University and Bard College, the bottom 60% of Americans have 2.3% of the nation's net worth. The bottom 90% of Americans own 1.5% of the nation's financial securities. Who was the bailout really for?


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

More money to the rich is all this means.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Mr. Shift - The magic word you missed in the study is "directly" as in directly own 1.5% of the nation's financial securities. If you look at the percentage that are owned in 401Ks and Pension funds the number is closer to 70%. But that little word "directly" is not important to your position, so we will just forget it exists right?

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

If you are talking about TARP, I was against it. The money that went to financial institutions was repaid, so it wasn't really a give away. While usually anything the left wants is exactly that (and does not have to be repaid).


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

Sadly our so called leaders have never met a dime of others money they could not spend - not quite right, they have spent trillions we have not even earned yet. Can you say Balanced Budget Amendment? Truly needed, not likely to ever get acted on with the best politicians money can buy in Washington.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

Since 2009 the Federal budget has increased 17 percent (US Gov figure). The total budget is 3.9 Trillion dollars. The sequester is 85 billion dollars - about 2 percent of the federal spending based on the total budget. The actual cut for 2013 is actually only 44 billion dollars. If we look purely at discretionary spending at 85 billion the sequester is just under 9 percent of discretionary spending -OR- about half of the increase since 2009. This cut is enough that the President has said that most Department of Defense workers will lose a day a week of pay, that the Pell Grants will go up in cost (OBTW - 3.9 billion in Pell Grants went to people who never enrolled in college according to the GAO) and many other tax payer focused reductions in service. I don't see the President or Congress taking 10 percent pay cuts or cutting their own staffs by 10 percent. I am sorry - I just can't get worked up about the numbers - I can about the gridlock that both parties in DC are causing. I did not vote for a single Republican or Democrat this fall. I won't until things straighten out. I will continue to vote for minor party candidates - even though I know they can't win in our two party system.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Good comments but you assume these are real spending cuts -- they are not cuts in spending - they are cuts in the rate of increases in spending. So I was expecting a 5% raise in pay this year and I only got a 3% increase (while the guy/gal paying my salary got a -3% salary decrease!). This is what "the L:eader" says will end the world as we know it.... oh now he says it won't be that bad since his cry wolf act is falling on deaf ears. Exccept who is hyping the hype coming out of Obama - just like a community organizer intended. Still Call 911 cause is forecasting The End.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Indymama - If you give me reasonable major party candidates I might reconsider, but - there were few or none on the ballot that I was presented with in 2012. If I had voted for either party, in my opinion, I was throwing away my vote, so why not help a smaller party get their voting numbers up so they qualify for automatic inclusion on the ballot and the other things the major parties have sheltered their candidates with. Maybe we need a top 2 primary rule like California now has? I could go with that. But the state of both major parties is just deplorable.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

Don Bee..Your voting practices are also part of the are just wasting your vote and helping to create the downward spiral of our Constitutional Government. And I usually agree with your reasoned responses on articles, so this attitude about voting makes me sad.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

"OBTW - 3.9 billion in Pell Grants went to people who never enrolled in college according to the GAO" More pure baloney. Government regulations prohibit Pell Grant $ from being disbursed until a student's class attendance has been verified. Pretty hard to verify one's attendance in a class if the student hadn't enrolled in it. GN&GL

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

We are sinking under the burden of parasites.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

The "Tea Party" is turning into the Hemlock Tea party as far as our economy is concerned.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

THey hate America they want to turn it into another Greece.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

They should cut all Air Traffic Controllers in all the airports in the Washington DC area and leave the small airports alone.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:46 a.m.

I like your idea Tiim!


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

Scare tactics continue -- the first cuts should be made starting with the President and all of his staff then move right on down the line to those in the house and senate. Then, maybe start cutting elsewhere. This is totally stupid. If we as citizens worked in such a fashion, we would be fired.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Nice picture chosen for the article, Not manipulative at ALL. All of the people involved; the person suggesting the picture, the people approving it, the editor (assuming there is one), should be really ashamed. This one photo choice should descrease any credibility you might be trying to maintain as an unbiased news source by about 300%. I mean SERIOUSLY.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

You got it. This is not reporting. It's propoganda. Shameful. Has reported on the fact that this was President's idea, it's not a "cut" in spending but in the rate of growth - a key point (Feds will spend more this year than last even with the tiny $85B (or actually $45B this year) in cuts), the President declined Congress proposal to give him authority to shift $ around to lessen the claimed burden on "essential" programs these reductions in rate of spending increases (not cuts!) might have (can't claim looming Apocolyse then) , and so on and so forth? Perhaps that child is thinking what a pitiful adult population we have who would elect a socialist spread-the-weath and borowed money community organizer - to spend all this money we don't have only to send that child the bill when she is 21 yrs-old. We have a selfish but adolescent adult population spoiled by their parents and now many who pay no federal taxes (other than SSI) can't even contemplete leaving the next generation better off than their generation .... I want mine and if the government has to borrow $$ and take $$ from those who worked their butts off to give it me, too bad. Give me goodies, I give you votes.... Look at the result.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

Why is it that so many believe the only form of poverty is one that leads directly to death? You don't have to be 70lbs and dealing with kidney failure, or drinking out of a cholera infested muck puddle alongside hogs, to be in a bad situation, or to qualify as exploited.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Yup, your point is made. This picture was the best one to show what sequestration means to the United States. Regardless of what started it, what it means, and what happens because of it, this photo is an unbiased visual representation of the most meaningful part. It is not meant to evoke a particular judgement or emotion, it was not chosen to influence readers' emotions or opinions, it is a fair representation of how our lives will be affected. I only wish they had a photo of the flies buzzing around a starving kid's belly and eyes; that would do better in terms of letting us Ann Arborites know what sequestration REALLY means.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

What is of greater consequence - our kids' futures, or stealth bombers and long lines? Good to know what your priorities are.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

Right, Milton. The biggest complaint about the cut is that it's a sweeping across the board reduction, with no analytical judgements applied, so it affects EVERY spent discretionary federal dollar (with some humanitarian exceptions), including defense (one news story recently is the ditch of military air vehicles doing flyovers of sporting events, GASP), and this picture of the starry-eyed toddler looking innocently up at a faceless adult figure dispensing pencils was in no way chosen purposefully over any other picture. They probably had 1000 pictures of things ranging from stealth bombers flying over the Big House to air traffic controllers to long lines at airpots (to name just a few of the "wow, this will get people's dander up" stories), and this one was chosen randomly. Right? Because this picture represents the sum of of the damage, right? This picture is the logical choice for representing the comprehensive result.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Yeah, it would be wrong to portray those actually affected by events described in the article. More appropriate would be some obtuse graphs with an unintelligible legend.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

Few of the cuts will be felt immediately. If the fed gov't gets its act together in the next month or so, the pain will be minimal. I'm not holding my breath, but with the end of March deadline for keeping the gov't running coming up, that is the bigger issue in the long run.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

It's all a game to the politician! They just want to keep you confused...and it seems to be working, so they can keep getting raises for themselves. Stop the plundering of the average American Citizen - vote out all the politicians who have been in office for more than 4 years!


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

Why are all these local initatives getting funded by DC? Why can't we deal with this locally instead of sending tax dollars to the elected monarchy to dole back to buy our votes? Oh, maybe I answered my question.


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Locally isn't any better in fact most times it is even worse, Detroit!

Jack Gladney

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Pigs "might" fly. The sun "could" explode tomorrow.

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

The point of this post was to let people know some of the services funded by federal dollars in the community that could be affected by the federal budget cuts. The extent of the cuts is uncertain at this point at the national level, so using words like "might" and "could" is necessary.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

The portion of Ann Arbor Saline road near 94 COULD be fixed this summer.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Yep - responsible reporting and writing. Ignore the peanut gallery.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

COULD - NOT Will! Amy - what will really be impacted if the sequester lasts a month? 2 months? 3 months? That is real reporting.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan explains the sequester in nice simple terms:


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

Ivor - are you referring to "Krazy Kerry" who the GOP shunned until the previous GOP'er got booted from his gerrymandered office for election fraud?

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Is this the same Kerry Bentivolio that resigned from Fowlerville High School after verbally abusing his students? (source: Detroit Free Press)


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 9:07 p.m. should try some more balanced reporting. I don't like reading's political view points.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

A quick google search will reveal that the source of this list of potential cuts is Since Congress did not produce their own list, this is what we got.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

What is unbalanced here?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Unbelievable, but typical biased reporting. Every service or industry "possibly" affected is just that! The key words are "possibly" and "could be". There is no "WILL BE!" But of course food stamps will not be affected. The entitlements are the foundation of the bleeding. Head Start has been proven for years to be a complete drain and FAILURE. It needs to end. Not just simple cuts. Nothing horrific will happen to the country except more fear mongering and lies.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:47 a.m.

"The entitlements are the foundation of the bleeding." What a strange statement. Entitlements are the return of funds collected during the working years from all Americans, (whether or not we are bleeding). The government has no right to withhold them. "Head Start has been proven for years to be a complete drain and FAILURE." Why would it be a failure to provide for poorer children the pre-school education that those from more well-off families routinely receive? I know a little 3-year-old boy who loves the program and is making remarkable progress. Thus it certainly is not a complete failure.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

Where is your "proof" that these programs are failures? Strong words require strong evidence, otherwise they are little but a strong indictment of your own lack of credibility and tact.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

Why is the reporting biased if the accurate information is not available? The fact of the cuts is not yet even a fact. They won't happen until after the meeting with Obama today and even then will be months before all of them are clear. Furthermore, where are you getting the information that Head Start is a failure?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

Simple analysis of Head Start numbers shown above: 3364 fewer children served because 701 jobs were cut is 4.8 children per job. So each person (effectively) serves less than 5 children. Most teachers would be thrilled to have a class of only 15, so methinks the Head Start program has about three times too many folks involved. Can we say "gravy train"?

Tyrone Shoelaces

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

lkurtz, please give your credentials for evaluating somebody evaluating a social service program.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

Heritage Foundation - Cached - Similar Join Rush Limbaugh and hundreds of thousands of other conservatives as a Member of The Heritage Foundation today. Find a new source, JRW.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

Here is a link to a report on the impact of the Head Start program. Surprisingly, according to this report, overall there is little to no positive impact on students in the Head Start program when followed into higher grades. Perhaps these funds could be used in a better way to address the cognitive, social-emotional development, health outcomes and parenting outcomes that the Head Start program are supposed to improve.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

noreaster - Head Start already has their money for this school year. If the sequester continues as is past July, then there will be an impact for next fall's classes.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:19 a.m.

Perhaps, for once, someone could suggest that we do not race to the bottom. "Someone in Somalia is starving to death, so you should stop complaining about eating nothing but flour. Really, you have too much. Spoiled."


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

Amy - noreaster may be grossly oversimplifying (and I'm a H/S fan) but his math may actually hold water. Or they could be an example of the "sky is falling!" chorus from DC. We'll see as this plays out.

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

Evaluating the staff per student ratio for Head Start programs based on the information provided in this article about what could be at risk for cuts under sequestration would be inaccurate.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Please give your credentials for evaluating a social service program.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

Federal funding for programs like Meals on Wheels is already insufficient to meet demand for services and is not keeping pace with the increase in our aging population. To help support the programs around here visit: Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Fling away the tomatoes. Why? Because from what I hear from volunteers? One worker told me when they handed them a meal? The old timer told her what is this slop? I can't eat this. Gave it to the dog in front of her. Then proceeded to call some take out. Another time? Called a friend and told her what a joke the food was she was handed. I hate to say it, this program is a joke. End meals on wheels.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:06 a.m.

Back in the early 90's my elderly neighbor received meals on wheels. She was a very picky person and I can tell you that most of it got thrown away.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:21 a.m.

The right knows little but hatred and projection of blame onto victims. Thanks for perpetuating the stereotype, jns131. Someday there will be a poster inspired by you, and it will be hammered with tomatoes.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

Do you have any data to back that up, or is that just an off the top of your head remark?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

I hate to say it, but I am glad to see it get kicked. If you see what I see who gets these meals you would be kicking up your heels to see these grannies getting off their butts to cook a meal or two. Sorry but some of these people getting food? Are in rich area not poor. Glad to see this program go. What a waste.

Great Lakes Lady

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Disgraceful that this won't eliminate gov't the gov't is trying to silence Bob Woodward.....pure politics: "Furthermore, under sequester federal agencies cannot protect high-priority, well-run programs and eliminate wasteful, inefficient ones." "Lawmakers deliberately designed this 2013 set of automatic cuts to be undesirable, so as to encourage both political parties to develop a comprehensive deficit reduction package."


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

The so-called threat to Bob Woodward wasn't. Reported accurately in the Wall Street Journal today. Don't assume something without checking it out.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Sounds like the talking points of everyone on the left. How about some real reporting here? The new taxes recently put into place by the feds will raise over $150 Billion with a B dollars this year...while these cuts (really reductions in increased spending for the year) amount to $85 Billion. Where is the $150 Billion going? Sounds like another cry of wolf in Washington.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Everyone wants to keep kicking the can down the road! If those that are supposed to represent us could not reach an agreement before today, what in the world would make anyone believe they will reach an agreement down the road? Let the chips fall and we will see that it is not Armageddon. The lies that are being told on both sides is shameful.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Are shameful, not is shameful.

Top Cat

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Many things about this are unclear. One thing is clear though. It is $85 billion less of a debt burden for our children and grandchildren.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Yes, and some won't be burdened by food or education either.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

It is sad that the baby is being thrown out with the bath water. The $85 billion cut could not have come at a worse time, and all because the right wants to protect their money. Yes, by all means, let's make our children suffer today so they don't have to suffer tomorrow. The debt burden is a fabrication as a short-term issue. And the sequester is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. I really wish people would understand what they are talking about before they sound off. But then why should they be any different than most of our politicians?

Jack Gladney

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Silly Milton. Discussing federal spending and children's arithmetic in the same thought. I vote for funding the US Dept. Of Shoe-Tying and ABCs as well.

Milton Shift

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Get a job, huh? There are millions more unemployed, looking for work, than jobs available. Maybe you should be studying arithmetic with your kids in their 2nd grade classrooms. Learn to count change, read analog clocks. Play with paper coins. You might learn how to add and subtract. It would be a good thing.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

What about the Wall Street Journal. Some things really are just facts.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

Ivor The Washington post is a left wing leaning paper. You expect me to believe them just because they say it? Would you believe anything the Washington Times and New York Post had to say about it?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Ivor --That is a sad thing -- But Mom and Dad may need to get a JOB To support the kids they have Again You are putting it on the kids to get support for mom and Dad

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

Washington Post: "In Michigan around 4,400 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $301,000." Yes, great news for the children and grandchildren.