Sequester This: The Impact in Nevada, Cut Women And Children First

Deficits Don't MatterYesterday’s post was theoretical — that which decreases aggregate demand will reduce our national Gross Domestic Product.  Today the White House has released what the impact of the sequestration would be specifically in Nevada, and it’s not pretty.

Education

Nevada’s not been known for its generosity with its K-12 education funding. The information obtained from the 2010 Census shows Nevada spending approximately $8,422 per student, while the national average stands at $10,499.  [Census pdf] [LVSun 2011]  Sequestration makes this situation worse.

“Nevada will lose approximately $9 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 120 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 14,000  fewer students would be served and approximately 10 fewer schools would receive funding.”  [Nevada pdf] (emphasis added)

In the real world, the average teacher aide in Clark County salary is reported as $20,378.  [salary.com] Average teacher pay is reported as approximately $51,777  annually. [RGJ factchecker]  Of the $9 billion lost to state and local funding for K-12 education in Nevada, if we lose 120 teachers and aides the loss to local economies could range from $2,520,000 (if all the losses were aides) to $6,240,000 (if all the losses were teachers at state average pay.)  If we arbitrarily take the half way point, (half losses of aide jobs plus half losses in teacher jobs) then Nevada stands to lose about $4,380,000 in consumer spending as a result of the sequestration cuts.  Less spent for housing, groceries, clothing, utilities, medical needs, transportation, etc.  What this state doesn’t need as it struggles out of the Housing Bubble/Wall Street Wizard Mess Recession is a significant decrease in disposable income for consumer spending.   And we haven’t even gotten to the part wherein 10 schools would face cuts, and 14,000 fewer students would be provided with federally supported services.  It gets worse:

“In addition, Nevada will lose approximately $3.8 million in funds for about 50 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.” [Nevada pdf]

Those would be Special Education funds. There’s no way to say it other than to observe that special education services are labor intensive.  The services are labor intensive by definition, by the terms of Individualized Educational Plans, by the needs of children who are physically or mentally incapable of performing some tasks without personal assistance.  This, perhaps more than any other example, illustrates the problems with across the board cuts without analyzing priorities.  How is it preferable to cut services for the most vulnerable children among us in order to preserve subsidies for oil and energy companies?

“Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 300 children in Nevada, reducing access to critical early education.”  [Nevada pdf]

This would be sorry enough were it not for the following unfortunate fact: “13% of Nevada’s eligible children are currently being served, leaving about 87% in need of services.”  [NHStart] That’s right, 13% of Nevada children who are eligible for Head Start  are NOW served — that’s an under-service rate of 87% and the sequestration would cut the number of children served even further.   How could the Obama Administration “over hype” the significance of additional cuts to a program that’s already struggling in Nevada.  To this, the Republicans say that “there will be no more revenue,” i.e. “We will not cut loopholes for corporate jets, corporate subsidies, yachts, and accounting tricks for overseas operations?”

Health

“In Nevada around 1,150 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $78,000.” [Nevada pdf]

Here we go again.  We’re already in a hole and the sequestration would simple exacerbate the situation, things had been improving:

The Nevada Health Division says Nevada ranked 40th in the nation last year for vaccine coverage in children between the ages of 19 months to 35 months. That’s up from 51st in 2010.” [KTNV]  So, in 2011 we’d moved up from 51st in the states and territories ranked in terms of childhood vaccinations to 40th, and in 2013 we can expect to revert to lower climes?  However, it’s not just kids:

Nevada will lose approximately $258,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Nevada will lose about $690,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Nevada State Department of Health/Human Services will lose about $123,000 resulting in around 3,100 fewer HIV tests. [Nevada pdf]

What could possibly go wrong?  Hepatitis C infections? Lower substance abuse treatment levels? Fewer HIV tests?

Women

“Nevada could lose up to $57,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 200 fewer victims being served.” [Nevada pdf]

It’s ridiculous enough that the House Republicans have a substitute bill for VAWA which denigrates tribal courts and refuses services to gay and lesbian couples, and ignores abuses perpetrated on immigrant women, but to cut funding for services and shelters to abused spouses and children is beyond the pale.

A complete list of sequestration effects in Nevada can be found here, as a pdf document.

So, Why Are We Doing This?

Is it because the terrible horrible deficit demonstrates a nation at risk of bankruptcy? Is it because our “out of control” spending is taking an increasing portion of our GDP?   The truth of the matter in one chart:

Deficit Share GCP

To see the President’s proposal, including his last offer to House Speaker John Boehner, click here

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