If you haven’t heard, Congress is enacting an across-the-board set of mandatory budget cuts today, dubbed “The Sequester.” Just yesterday, Congress failed to pass both Republican and Democratic alternatives that would help avoid the $85 billion in budget cuts which will be imposed by automatic sequestration this year alone.
If Congress continues to fail to come to an agreement for a deficit reduction plan, the sequester will result in $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next ten years. These cuts will affect thousands of American citizens as jobs are lost and benefits slashed. They could even affect you.
The interesting tea leaves reveal that maybe our friends in Washington are more concerned about these cuts than the general public truly is. A Fox News Poll shows that 57% actually believe this is the only way to control spending in Washington. Maybe more instances of sequestration legislation will take affect in the future.
What is the Sequester?
The sequestration legislation calls for a set of across the board budget cuts that resulted from the Budget Control Act of 2011. At the time, congress decided to raise the debt ceiling with the agreement that a deficit reduction plan would be put in place. Republicans and Democrats appointed to the committee that was tasked with creating the deficit reduction plan failed to come to an agreement.
The automatic sequestration language was placed in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to ensure that some action would take place to help reduce the deficit. But because both political parties failed to come to an agreement, the sequester is set to take place.
No one believed that Washington would let it get this far—but it has. President Obama is doing his best theatrical performance to paint the Republicans as the problem, never mind that his party controls the Legislative and Executive branches of Government!
How the Sequester Will Affect You
Immediately, the biggest budget cuts will be felt by aerospace and defense contractors, who rely on the Federal Government to renew contracts, and who hire—and layoff—workers on the basis of those contracts.
But there are many ways that the sequester budget cuts could affect you.
- Federal Government Worker? Expect to see furloughs or pay cuts.
- Unemployed? Your checks could be reduced.
- The Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday that the cuts will result in fewer food safety inspections.
- Ever visit a national park or library? Services and hours could be reduced.
- Meals on Wheels user? Fewer senior citizens would be served as budgets are slashed.
- Receive housing or mortgage assistance? Housing for lower-income Americans and government-funded mortgage assistance programs would most likely feel the impact.
- Ever travel? Fewer government workers at TSA could result in longer lines at the airport.
What happens now?
The strict but vital budget cuts is a necessary step to finally get the economy on the path it should have been all along, according to some political pundits. However, both political sides agree that automatic sequestration is not the proper means of instituting a deficit reduction plan.
President Obama is expected to meet with congressional leaders today to discuss how to move forward and solve this political divide and budget crisis.