It’s unusual for a political drama like the federal government’s debt ceiling agreement to capture much attention in everyday conversation. After all, the debates in our nation’s capital are a long, long way from our far corner of the world.
But this time, everyone seemed to sense that this agreement – which still has very few details – will have an impact on all of us at the household level. Already, some of our neighbors are paying the price.
The Social Security office in Coos Bay/North Bend is cutting back on office hours because of budget cuts, limiting the ability of the seniors and disabled to get hands-on assistance when they need it.
Unable to depend on federal support to replace timber sale receipts, Curry County is continuing to cut back on services. A Brookings office for social services has been closed, for example, forcing those with the least resources to find a way to get to Gold Beach when they need help. The sheriff’s office maintains a Harbor substation only through the generous support of volunteers.
Meanwhile, the post office in Agness, the smallest in Curry County but certainly the most remote, is on the closure list. Since tax funds do not support the postal service, this is not part of the budget debate, but it illustrates the how rural areas can suffer in national budget solutions.
Likewise, funding for rural air services – such as the airport improvements at Crescent City – were part of the fight over reauthorizing Federal Aviation Administration taxes and fees. How much will it cost you to drive to the next closest air service in Arcata, North Bend or Medford?
Do you have retirement funds or other money in stocks? Did you see the free-fall in your investments over the past 10 days as the market reacted to the political statemates?
It’s no wonder we were all paying attention!