Sequestration cuts were never intended to be fair, well-reasoned pullbacks of bloated government agencies.
Rather, the proposed $1.2 trillion in cuts were crafted as a way to force members of Congress to forge a deal on long-term deficit reduction.
Now that a broader agreement appears unlikely to materialize, at least in the short-term, taxpayers are left trying to figure out how their services will be impacted and to what extent.
Critics of sequestration claim the policy measure not only takes a bludgeon to federal programs, when a scalpel would be more appropriate, but also unfairly targets low-income Americans.
NBC Bay Area spoke with school, housing and social services officials on the frontlines of crucial services to determine if the cuts are unfairly impacting the poor.