Five days. That’s how long until the sequestration goes into effect. Sequestration, painted as one half of the worst thing ever, is a series of across the board federal cuts which are scheduled to occur if Congress doesn’t act to cut spending. And Congress hasn’t acted on spending since 2011 (when they voted not to act on it).
Are you scared yet?
It might not be as bad as you think. Before we get to the nitty gritty, the bits that Congress and the President are fighting over, remember this: no matter how loud both parties shout at each other, this is all a fake line in the sand. They could fix it tomorrow. The deadline wasn’t dropped down from the heavens: it was plucked out by Congress. They could pass another law tomorrow and change it. And indeed, they might. They have already pushed off the debt ceiling a few times this year (if you’re keeping score, the new deadline is May 18).
But it makes for good politics now. Governors from both sides of the aisle tend to side with the White House, bracing for the cuts which will total $85 billion. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) said about the cuts, “I’ve not given up hope, but we’re going to be prepared for whatever comes. There will be consequences for our state.” Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) took a different tact, saying, quite bluntly, “It’s senseless and it doesn’t need to happen.”
Cuts are expected to hit education hard, putting thousands of teacher and teacher aide jobs at risk. Defense-related jobs aren’t exempt with cutbacks planned in military-heavy states like Texas and California. Also on the chopping block? Aid to Hurricane Sandy. If the cuts go through as planned, many states worry that they won’t be able to plug the holes.
While the GOP wonders “What’s the worst that can happen?” the White House claims to have an answer. The White House has released fifty separate reports, outlining the potential damage to each state if the sequestration is allowed to happen.