Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Real Impact of the Fiscal Cliff

If two federal branches of government (Legislative and Executive) don't reach an agreement soon, we will go over the "Fiscal Cliff."  Unfortunately, this would risk the possibility of sequestration, which is automatic federal spending cuts, along with an expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  For Americans, that means we'll get less from federal programs while bringing home less net pay.

Many (not all) Republicans discuss upper-class Americans and small businesses.  Many (not all) Democrats discuss middle-class Americans.  Why isn't there more of a focus on socially disadvantaged Americans, who are disproportionately more likely to be Black and Latino?  Unfortunately, this group is silenced from multiple salient arenas (e.g., political, economics, social justice, voting, etc.), and the fiscal cliff is no different.  The fiscal cliff will result in legislatively mandated cuts in federal programs that many socially disadvantaged people rely on (e.g., unemployment benefits), given the structural lack of opportunities in those communities.  In an already extremely tough environment, our government representatives will allow this group of Americans to deal with yet another circumstance that limits opportunities and results in additional "symptoms" to social ills (infant mortality, crime, disadvantaged neighborhoods, etc.).  When will people remember this group?

The fiscal cliff and sequestration are extremely important.  We cannot ignore the group of people who will have the hardest time recovering from this drastically difficult circumstance, even if it occurs for only a couple of weeks.  When we see social ills occurring disproportionately in socially disadvantages areas, it's important to remember things like the fiscal cliff and sequestration before people start saying how social ills are based on personal responsibility.

What do you think? Do the fiscal cliff and sequestration have a disproportionately stronger (negative) impact on socially disadvantaged Americans?

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