BECAUSE of reduced federal funding due to the sequester, the U.S. National Park Service was forced to "slice and dice various services it provides, including full funding of the river gauge along the New River," the Daily Mail's John Gibb reported on Wednesday.
That gauge is important for West Virginia's white water industry, and hence, in-state jobs and state revenues.
Earlier in the year, 80 Head Start workers in West Virginia lost their jobs and the program lost its ability to serve 461 children because of cuts in the sequester. Head Start is a federal program for children from low-income homes into pre-school classrooms for school readiness and support.
Nearly 1,000 West Virginia Air National Guard members have or will have to take unpaid furlough days because of the sequester.
The fact is, the sequester, an automatic $85 billion cut in federal spending agreed to between the president and both houses of Congress in the 2011 Budget Control Act, is causing the reductions in federal spending as it had intended -- that is if the parties failed to come to terms on a new federal budget -- which they didn't.
But even with the sequester cuts, the federal government will still spend $642 billion more this year than it takes in.
The sequester does nothing to rein in entitlement spending such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Without any changes, reports the Heritage Foundation, mandatory spending on these entitlements, including net interest, will consume three-fourths of the budget in ten years.
Our government, and the taxpaying citizens who fund it, must make choices. If we want to continue to be able to fund programs like river gauges and Head Start, and a fully functioning Air National Guard, we must stop the growth in entitlement spending.
Some say the choice is to raise taxes on the wealthy. But treating the wealthy like an endless buffet is bound to dry up that source as well. People with lower tax bills can better invest in new business and spend more on the economy.
Congress and the president need to learn to come to terms and come up with a budget so groups like the whitewater rafting industry, Head Start and the Air National Guard can know what to plan for.
Running the most powerful nation in the world without a spending plan, and racking up billions in additional debt while doing so, is not a good choice.