The Face Of A Sequester Victim

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(Note: Iggy asked me to post this for him, so in spite of the by-line, it really is by Iguanadon………)

Hello Slopers,

That’s right, it’s Iggy, with a header post. A first! And it’s not about bacon, dogs or kitchen remodeling. It’s about the world we live in, or more so, the country we live in.

We’ve all heard about the sequester and personally I was all for it. The government wastes hundreds of billions of dollars a year and it’s time to make cuts. The 85 billion sequester is a good start.

However, as usual, instead of it being done the logical way, they went with the sweeping cuts. Instead of using a scalpel to cut precise areas that need cutting, they went with the cleaver or axe method and simply chopped everything.

I just found out a couple of weeks ago that a segment of the Iggy family is getting caught up by the sequester. Normally when you hear this, people start whining or bitching about how unfair it is and I’m not here to do that. Everyone suddenly becomes a special interest group in their own opinions and try to save their own asses. I’m not here to do that either. My mother always said I’m special, but I don’t expect special treatment. Actually the outcome isn’t horrible in this case, fortunately.

I simply wanted to share this story so that everyone remembers that behind all the rhetoric, all the yelling, all the screaming, there are good, hard working people out there who are being affected. There are various articles being written and this is just one listing some of the areas being hit as the axe falls.

However, one area not mentioned in that particular article is in the area of research.

As some of you know, as I’ve mentioned in my frequent rambling in the comments section, our son-in-law is in the PhD program at a prestigious college up north and has been working for the last 3 years towards his doctorate. I’m not bright enough to understand the details, but suffice it to say it’s in the field of cancer research. He is about a year or so from completing the program and all is great. Or it was… Until he received word that the project/grant that the research has been funded under isn’t being extended.

So, what does this mean? It means that there have been cutbacks and not as much money available for all research going on everywhere. It means his project will simply come to an end before it was scheduled to. All work will cease. And sadly, so does his path to his doctorate. Snip. Funds cut. Done. Three years of work basically for naught. You can’t just move to another grant, study or project and put in another year. You’d have to start completely from scratch.

Horrible sounding, isn’t it? To put in that much work, to be that close, only to be told one day that you won’t cross the finish line, through no fault of your own.

Now, in this particular case it isn’t a devastating event. He of course already had a Master’s degree, and the work he’s done provides him with a second Master’s (after he writes a thesis), so he’s not walking away empty handed.

I guess I was disappointed because I wanted a doctor in the family. He alone raised the average IQ in the family by about 50 points. 😉

He’s an amazing young man, a wonderful husband and an ecstatic new father. He has a long, happy and fruitful life ahead of him. In some email conversations that Mrs. Ig and I have had with him, he’s approaching this with a positive attitude and says that his double Masters will actually be viewed almost as positively as a PhD and even in some circles PhD’s aren’t viewed all that favorably. So, this will not be a huge strike against him, nor should it mean greatly reduced earnings in the workforce.

Again, this isn’t a horrible event for him, but remember, every time you hear about cutbacks, layoffs, furloughs, etc, real people are affected. Think about those workers who are being told that they have to take 1 day off without pay each week for 6 months. That’s a 20% pay cut during that 6 month period. They are not permitted to use vacation time, it must be taken without pay. Seeing as how most working stiffs barely survive with a full salary, this is a substantial cut that stings. Hell, I’d have to drastically reduce my bacon consumption (if I hadn’t mentioned bacon in my first header post, a lot of you would have been disappointed).

We’ve all read about the research projects the government funds that sound ridiculous, and some may be, but let’s hope that they are the ones that are cut and not the ones that could be leading to a treatment that could extend or save lives.