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Are you Worried the Sequester Will Affect You?

Massachusetts is chock full of defense contractors, federal employees and federal program beneficiaries. Are you worried the federal budget sequester will hurt your family's finances?

The federal government has a week before its self-imposed sequestration deadline. If enacted, the across-the-board cut to the federal budget could mean layoffs, decreased aid and lower government spending.

That could mean trouble for some very popular government programs, like Social Security and Medicare. Defense contractors are also preparing for lost and reduced contracts with the government.

Locally, it could also doom smaller programs that have a big impact. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families in need pay for home heating oil and other energy costs. Massachusetts stands to lose over $11 million in assistance under this one program. Representatives Ed Markey and Jim McGovern are trying to shield the program from cuts.

Though designed as a tool to force Republicans and Democrats to negotiate smarter deficit reduction, the threat of indiscriminate cuts has not yet led to a brokered deal.

What about your own pocketbook: Will the sequester affect you? Do you work for the government or in a job that’s dependent on government programs? Are you worried sequestration will hurt you financially or be a drag on the economy? Or is it bitter medicine for a country that needs to lower its debt? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Matthew February 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Once again the poor and elderly are getting the shaft. But banks? We have all the money in the world for them. Oh, and don't forget foreign aid, because other countries are apparently more important than the homeland.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 23, 2013 at 04:07 PM
The market needed a correction even prior to the bank bailouts/housing bubble burst. We have been operating under a false economy since Greenspan played "hide the cannoli" with the prime and the Dow hit 10k in 1998. Even so, it isn't hard to see an orchestration of Machievallian proportions is at work here.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 23, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Meanwhile, in Hackville: http://bostonherald.com/
Ajax February 23, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Maybe it will force the government to be more efficient with our money for a change. Maybe it will force some key changes such as raising the social security retirement age.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 23, 2013 at 11:26 PM
@Ajax: raise it to what, 85?
Matthew February 24, 2013 at 01:58 AM
POT, I was thinking the same thing. Yay! Let's all work until we die!
Ajax February 24, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Age 67 would be a start. Back when social security was started, most people did not live to 65 - so yes people did work until they died. There is no way people can be expected to work until age 85, but there is no way we can expect to support people with this pyramid scheme system with longer lifespans.
Matthew February 24, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Ajax, Why target the elderly? Are we that callous as a nation? There are billions and billions to be trimmed elsewhere (like letting corrupt banks fail instead of bailing them out).
Ajax February 25, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Entitlement programs such as social security are driving a large piece of our debt. Its not about targeting the elderly. I plan on being elderly too one day. However, the program is structured in such a way that it is not compatible with the changing age demographics of our society. Adjusting the retirement age to 67 does not make us a "callous" nation. Just keep in mind social security was not designed for 20+ years of payouts. You are right, they are plenty of places where the government throws away our hard-earned tax dollars. I cited one example. There are many more.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 25, 2013 at 01:30 AM
It's not so much the benefit payouts as it is the cost of medical care. Lets start with the over-charging hospitals that enjoy every tax break known to man while, at the same time, gauiging the consumer via private and public insurance proxies. The only people retiring at 65 these days are public sector types, those forced off their private sector jobs via age bias and those checking out with legitimate medical issues. Hell, I even know a few Teachers who won't see retiremewnt until their mid-sixties...after they have spent the last decade in an admin job for the exponential retirement bump, natch.
Matthew February 25, 2013 at 07:13 AM
Social Security is not an "entitelment" program. That puts it in the same categroy as welfare. Hard working people pay into it and expect something when the time comes. Social Security is not, in and of itself, draining the economy. Part of the problem with Social Security is that government uses it like a bottomless bank account full of endless supplies of money. So blame them. Yes, you cited one example, but it is the same tired example we keep hearing over and over again. Apparently it's the safe bet when trying to tackle the budget.
Maura February 25, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Ajax-The "full retirement age" for anyone born between 1943 and 1954 is 66. And for anyone born in 1960 or after it is 67. If one choose to accept social security prior to reaching this age, their benefits are reduced. I don't think you can go back and change those ages now. I don't know what the process would be for upping the age in the future.
melinda tillie February 25, 2013 at 07:53 PM
You cannot live on Social Security. The elderly have paid into this...for Retirement Ajax. And your thoughts about years ago "people working until they died" My Grandfather retired at 65 back in the late 50s and lived until the mid 60s. there you are wrong. Thank you very kindly.
melinda tillie February 25, 2013 at 07:54 PM
And yes, theSequester will hurt evryone.
Ajax February 25, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Average lifespan was about 70 back then. Some live longer and others less. The program was not designed to handle the rapidly growing 80+ demogrpahic we have now.
Matthew February 25, 2013 at 09:44 PM
My grandfather retired in the early 70's and lived until almost 100. He lived on social security that whole time.
Ajax February 25, 2013 at 09:49 PM
There is an element of entitlement due to the redistribution of wealth that occurs in social security. The government is 100% to blame. They created an investment pyramid scheme similar to the one Bernie Madoff had. The only difference is that social security investors such as us are aware that the government is throwing away retirement funds on unrelated programs while Bernie Madoff did so in secret. The bottom line is that the government
Ajax February 25, 2013 at 09:51 PM
The only thing you could do is change the ages for retirees in the distant future. Regardless, the program will be broke when it is time for me to collect.

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