Sequester takes aim at children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sequestration, government’s monument to inflated egos, now has a face.
Or a multitude of faces, and counting.
They are the young boys and girls of southeast Louisiana and beyond who because of federal budget cuts will no longer be allowed to participate in the local Head Start programs. They are the children who found comfort in a loving afterschool environment when perhaps there was none at home.
But in Congress’ current climate, partisanship overrides common sense and agenda trumps the greater good. Consequently, youngsters are being deprived of what has proved to be a successful program for underprivileged children.
In Jefferson Parish, nearly 80 young people are losing their places. And on a grander scale, in Massachusetts more than 1,300 youngsters have lost seats in Head Start classrooms.
As unfortunate as the cuts are, the greater obscenity is that it even came to this point.
Officially, sequestration is a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that was originally scheduled to be implemented Jan. 1, 2013. But the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 granted a two-month stay as politicos postured and pontificated on the national stage in a feign-hearted attempt to reach a compromise, but even with the looming of the so-called fiscal cliff, politics latest contribution to modern lexicon, government stood still.
Consequently, more than $85 billion worth of cuts went into effect in March, the carnage strewn across the mammoth landscape of bureaucracy.
For many, sequestration was more of a fiscal labyrinth, opined by many, understood by few. Now, it has hit home.
Head Start offers an array of valuable programs for young people beginning as early as 6 weeks old, the most vulnerable members of society. The centers provide free preschool and offers valuable parental involvement in the critical areas of nutrition, health, education and social needs.
Apparently, these young people, these young faces, were somehow lost in the proclivity of party politics that govern today’s contemporary politics.
What is most difficult to understand is this worst-case scenario could have been avoided with a few egos shelved and agenda put aside. How do you explain that to thousands of young children?