Sequestration just as harmful

To the editor:

Your recent article about the government shutdown ignored the sequestration cuts that gridlock over the budget has essentially guaranteed will continue. That means cuts to Meals on Wheels will go on, as will cuts to job training programs for veterans. Sequestration could also begin to delay veterans’ benefits next year if Congress does not replace it with smarter, more targeted budget cuts.

Of course, it seems hard for Congress to agree on anything these days. But it’s equally hard to believe there isn’t a better way to cut the deficit than reducing meals for homebound seniors and delaying benefits for wounded veterans. Lavish conferences and perks for federal employees should be scrutinized, along with plain old waste – like paying $8 billion annually to maintain empty government buildings.

We should also cut away failing programs like the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter, a $1.5 trillion new fighter jet that is over budget, behind schedule and criticized as “inferior” to Russian and Chinese jets.

These programs deserve to be slashed while programs for seniors and veterans deserve protection. That’s just common sense. Sequestration turns that on its head, however, and as long as it continues, seniors and veterans will get the short end of the stick.

Thomas Bandzul

Legislative Counsel

Veterans and Military Families for Progress

Burke, VA