Protesters rally against budget cuts outside of San Fransisco State University (coolmikeol/Flickr)
Back in June, when the effects of the sequestration were first starting to settle in, certain media outlets like The Washington Post printed that the Obama administration had exaggerated their budget cut predictions.
“[Sequestration] has not produced what the Obama administration predicted: widespread breakdowns in crucial government services,” David Fahrenthold and Lisa Rein wrote in The Washington Post.
The general consensus appeared to be that since planes were still taking off from the major airports and poor people weren’t starving to death in the streets, the budgets cuts simply weren’t that bad.
But as the months continue to roll by, we’re now beginning to see that the consequences of austerity are very real, and only getting worse.
Nationwide, states are making severe cuts to their social safety net programs.
Kansas plans to throw more than a fifth of its nearly 90,000 unemployed residents off of the food stamp rolls by reinstating federal work requirements for the program that are normally waived during times of unusually high unemployment, ThinkProgress reports.
The Department for Children and Families projected that 20,000 unemployed Kansans currently on food assistance will be affected.
Federal rules for food assistance require able-bodied recipients who do not have dependent children (a very small percentage of food stamp recipients) work at least twenty hours per week in order to receive the aid for longer than three months, but states can waive that requirement when jobs are scarce, and many states have chosen to do so during the recession.
Kansas is the fifth state to reinstitute the work requirement, and ThinkProgress reports that Oklahoma and Wisconsin are poised to follow suit.
In Kentucky, tens of thousands of low-income people have seen childcare and kinship care all but eliminated from this year’s budget.
Al Jazeera America reports that, with few exceptions, no new families will receive public childcare subsidies, and current recipients will be cut from the program if they earn more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level ($19,000 per year for a three-person household, the lowest eligibility rate of any state).
Furthermore, no additional families will get kinship care, which is a monthly subsidy that encourages relatives to take custody of orphaned, abused and neglected children (and runs half the cost of a foster care placement).
Earlier in the week, families rallied in Frankfort, the state capital, to protest the cuts.