Valdosta Daily Times

March 7, 2013

The first of a thousand cuts?

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Despite months of warning that the sequestration budget cuts would bring large segments of American society to a halt, the nation continues to move forward nearly a week later.

We seem to have avoided the immediate chaos, panic and financial collapse once predicted as the aftermath of sequestration.

Compared with Valdosta’s flooding and subsequent infrastructure failures within the wastewater treatment plant, sequestration seems like some distant Washington, D.C., thing that has little to do with life in South Georgia.

Nonetheless, we are feeling the effects of               sequestration — perhaps not as a flood, but as a  slow and persistent drip that could increase here, there and everywhere in the coming weeks and months.

Though it had been planned for several months, The Times received a call early last week that sequestration may cancel the U.S. Coast Guard Band show scheduled for Valdosta. By the end of the week, the Coast Guard Band’s entire tour had been canceled.

This week’s edition of the Moody Volunteer, the Air Force base’s newspaper, reports that sequestration has cut aviation support at public events. This means aerial performers such as the Air Force Thunderbirds will be ending their seasons as early as April 1. Among other things, it also means the end of flyovers even for military funerals and graduations.

Meanwhile, as airports wrestle with losing towers to sequestered funding, Valdosta Regional Airport’s private status will allow it to continue operating.

In the coming weeks, South Georgia and the rest of the nation will likely experience the effects of other cuts. None possibly as sudden, drastic or dire as originally predicted. Perhaps, they may be small, yet, persistent and unexpected, but hopefully never enough to evoke the imagery of the ancient Chinese method of torture: Death by a thousand cuts.