Top 5 Sequestration Facts of 2013
So there was one topic we didn’t hit on Thursday’s #TWiBRadio docket: the sequestration.
Honestly, none of us quite understood it enough to broach the topic on the show, and figured we can’t be alone. So we did some research, and found the top 5 facts you should know about the 2013 sequestration.
1. Why is it called “the sequester”?
The law allows for the executive branch to make small spending cuts across all programs to the congressionally appropriated budget. The government then uses that money to pay down the debt. It’s called “sequestration” because the government is basically setting aside money in order to pay the bills.
2. So what’s the problem?
All programs get cut, we’re not just talking defense contractors and federal parks. According the Senate Appropriations Committee, schools will lose anywhere from $60 million to $1.2 billion towards teacher salaries and building maintenance for crumbling schools. Approximately 6.6 million special needs students will lose access to education because school districts can’t afford the teachers.
And that’s just education.
More than 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and children will lose access to crucial mental health services, there will be 424,000 fewer HIV tests conducted by the CDC, research on debilitating and life threatening diseases will be halted, and Medicare providers will lose billions in revenues. And that’s barely skimming the surface.
3. So who do we blame for this?
Right now, the democrats and republicans are blaming each other. But let’s be honest, the Republicans are being obstinate. Democrats proposed a mix of tax increases and domestic cuts which would ease the burden on the working poor, but the Republicans said no. The only thing they agreed upon of late was the 2011 Budget Control Act which led to this sequestration fiasco in the first place. The Republicans, while unwilling to raise taxes on the wealthy, want President Obama to shift the cuts to “mandatory” programs that affect the most vulnerable like Medicaid, health insurance for kids, and welfare. That’s right, instead of taxes on the wealthiest Americans, they want to hit kids, the sick, and the poor.
4. When will this all take effect?
The deadline is March 1, and the effects for some will be immediate. Unemployment checks sent around March 7 will be greatly reduced, and by April 6, the Defense Department will start laying off their civilian work force. Other government agencies will furlough their employees beginning in April, so food inspectors and air traffic controllers, for example, will be ostensibly laid off until September 30.
5. This is bullshit!
Indeed. President Obama is currently on a national campaign, hoping to get the public to put pressure on Republicans, but people likely won’t be motivated until they really start feeling the crunch this Spring. President Obama proposed a deal that includes tax revenue, so you know, that’s not likely to happen given the Republican allergy to “tax” anyone but poor folks. But if you feel so inclined, and you should because this really is bullshit, write to your congressperson, especially if they are a Republican. Because if the Republicans and Democrats can’t come together on this, or anything, we face a drastic cut to federal services for millions of our most underprivileged and vulnerable citizens AND a federal shutdown at the end of March.
Where’s Jamal when you need him?
Filed Under: Barack Obama, Budget, Debt, Deficit, deficit reduction, democrats, economy, education, jamal, policy, poor, President Obama, republicans, sequester, sequestration, students, tax increases, taxes