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Sequester cuts get real for unemployed Americans

The sequester will mean cuts to the unemployment checks people depend on to pay bills.

One reason House Republicans might not feel a sense of urgency about budget cuts that start today? They're kind of abstract. No set timeline. No clear definition of who gets hit.

So you can kind of understand that, right?

Richard Crowe most definitely does not. He's a steelworker -- or, he was, until he was laid off nine months ago. He's collected unemployment since. And federal unemployment is one of the programs being cut because of the budget cuts.

Crowe isn't quite sure what will happen come Monday, or in the following weeks. His check is expected to get smaller by about 10 percent. That's cutting a good $76 out of the $764 he receives from unemployment every two weeks. "It isn't enough to begin with, and then you're losing money on top of it. It ain't good.  I struggle to pay bills now."

His wife works, but doesn't make a living wage. His Plan B? Crowe continues his job search. He says he's applied for over 200 at this point, but hasn't had much luck.

Crowe says he's not happy with Congressmembers from either party. "I worked my whole life. I don't want to be on unemployment. But I don't think the 535 people, any of them care about you."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Shame on Marketplace for, in multiple places in today's show, being the mouthpiece of this inept administration in laying the blame at the Republicans. This was Obama's idea and he did not get bailed out. This is fitting. He brought this on, refused to lead anyone out of it but instead stood over everyone waving his arms trying to shame everyone else because like a spoiled child, he didn't get everything he wanted. When will we get a budget from this government (this is shameful to both congress and the white house)? When will there be any kind of rational discussion on spending cuts? Note: No amount of revenue will ever be enough for this white house or these democrats - why is it the end of the world to roll back our spending by 2 years to 2011 levels? if it's that bad, we must be almost Greece. And if it's not, get busy fixing and stop the bloody name calling and finger pointing and fear mongering already. All the bums need to go and we as an electorate need to send tough, principled folks in to mop up and make the hard choices to move us forward.

Piffle. Claiming this was Obama's idea is like blaming Solomon for the woman who wanted to cut the baby in half. The cuts were supposed to be draconian enough for Congress to act. They didn't. Congress is the problem (more specifically, the GOP).

As far as budgets are concerned, we had a spending bill in 2009, but we haven't had a traditional budget since the 90s, but rather continuing resolutions.

Marketplace is as about as neutral as you can get. Check your other sources; you'd be surprised what you can learn.

No surprise that after interviewing someone down on their luck that Kai was smart enough to know that a smug snooty hip witticism wasn't quite in order, so he was speechless. Next time, besides saying thank you and good bye, perhaps a coach could remind him to consider something totally oldfashioned and provincial such as "good luck." On the other hand, perhaps i should have been satisfied and kept quiet since Kai didn't say something like "ha ha, you're unemployed and i'm not."

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