Sequester in Action: Head Start Cuts

By Jared Bernstein
Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The furloughs haven’t much phased in yet, and the economy doesn’t show obvious signs of sequester drag yet.  It’s early, however, and anecdotal signs of trouble (brown shoots?) are showing up, like this one from an Indiana paper (h/t: SP).

At least two Indiana Head Start programs have resorted to a random drawing to determine which three-dozen preschool students will be removed from the education program for low-income families, a move officials said was necessary to limit the impact of mandatory across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Got that?  A lottery to see who gets kicked out of preschool?  That’s how we’re building the future?  Really?  That’s a better way forward than closing the carried interest loophole or lowering the housing subsidy to the most affluent homebuyers?

Columbus resident Alice Miller told WTHR-TV that her 4-year-old son, Sage, was one of the children cut from the program. She spoke about how the program has helped her son advance academically and socially…“He loves school,” Miller said. “I don’t know how I’m going to tell him he’s not going back.”

If that doesn’t break your heart, you might want to get to the emergency room to see if it’s still there.


Jared Bernstein joined the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in May of 2011 as a senior fellow. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team. Before joining the Obama administration, Bernstein was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Between 1995 and 1996, he held the post of deputy chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor.


This post originally appeared at Jared Bernstein’s On The Economy blog.

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