From Washington Post:
“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health-care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”
In the long partisan conflict over government spending, the sequester is where the rubber meets the road. Obama is betting Americans will be outraged by the abrupt and substantial cuts to a wide range of government services, from law enforcement to food safety to public schools. And he is hoping they will rise up to demand what he calls a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that replaces some cuts with higher taxes.
But if voters react with a shrug, congressional Republicans will have won a major victory in their campaign to shrink the size of government. Instead of cancelling the sequester, the GOP will likely push for more.
“It would be a big problem for the White House if the sequester came and went and nobody really noticed anything. Then people will start saying, ‘Well, maybe we can cut spending,” said John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who penned a recent Wall Street Journal piece titled “Learning to Love the Sequester.”
Adding to the liberal angst is concern that the scale of the cuts may be overstated, at least in the short term. While the sequester orders the White House to withdraw $85 billion in spending authority from affected agencies in the fiscal year that ends in September, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that agencies will reduce actual spending by only about $44 billion, with the remaining cuts carried over into future years. Compared with total 2013 discretionary spending, that’s a cut of less than 4 percent.
. This time a refusal to compromise by conservative leaders in Congress would lead to massive, damaging across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, potentially dragging the economy back into recession and hurting American families by slashing critical investments in job training, public health, and public safety.
The spending cuts, also known as the “sequester,” are a direct result of a long push by conservatives to take the nation’s economy hostage in order to secure massive, harmful spending cuts. In the summer of 2011, in exchange for agreeing to pay America’s bills, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) negotiated the deal that wrote the sequester into law, stating that he had gotten 98 percent of what he wanted. Though there is a concerted effort to blame the president for the sequester, no amount of whitewashing can erase the fact that many conservative members of Congress voted for this plan.
Under the terms of the sequester, federal spending would be cut by $1.2 trillion from March 2013 to March 2021. States stand to lose billions of dollars in critical grants needed to fund everything from schools to new police officers to parks. In fiscal year 2013 alone, states stand to lose an estimated $6.4 billion in federal funding. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 750,000 jobs could be lost because of the sequester. Taking a meat cleaver to spending in such a blunt, unfocused manner would send a shockwave through our economy and would hurt countless American families.