Effect of sequestration on Ramona, region

Guest Editorial

By Joseph Halsted

Sequestration is a term invented by Sen. Harry Reid during the Budget Control Act negotiations last August. Since no agreement was reached by Congress on national budget cuts, sequestration was invented to automatically cut an additional 10 percent, equaling $500 billion, from the Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2013. This follows the 2012 cut of an initial $500 billion.

At an open hearing at the USD Shirley Theatre on July 13 chaired by our Congressman Duncan Hunter and Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Vir.), the immediate ramifications to San Diego County were openly aired.

Due to these cuts, roughly 200,000 active duty personnel will be forced out of service — the equivalent of eliminating the entire Marine Corps. And for California, it is estimated that 125,789 jobs will be lost, along with $10.79 billion in gross state product (GSP).

In San Diego alone we’re looking at an immediate net loss of 30,000 defense industry jobs combined of both active duty servicemen discharged early and employees of local defense industry companies.

As these people become unemployed, starting in just a few months, it is anticipated that an additional equal number of private sector jobs will likewise be lost as a quarter billion dollars in lost annual DOD salaries hit all the support industries, from autos to groceries to restaurants and more, for these (soon to be former) defense workers.

When $2 billion to $3 billion gets extracted from the San Diego community in just one year, how many of our Ramona neighbors will become unemployed? They’ll need unemployment assistance, as long as that lasts, and many will be forced to relocate. Their homes will be sold at distressed pricing, affecting the value of all the real estate in Ramona, wiping out the very modest recovery so far this year.

What can you do?

Fortunately our congressman, Duncan Hunter, is leading the fight against sequestration within the Defense Appropriations committee, yet our two senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, presumably support these draconian cuts.

Ramona needs a groundswell of public support for our congressman’s efforts aimed at all federal lawmakers who are not fighting with him to reduce or eliminate this disastrous tsunami just over our horizon.

Joseph Halsted is a Ramona resident.

   
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