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What is Sequestration and How Does It Affect Us

According to USA.gov, Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies. Congress stopped the cuts from happening by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January 2. This law pushed the budget cuts back until March 1, 2013.  If Congress couldn’t agree on a budget to reduce the deficit by March 1, then sequestration would happen and $85 billion in spending cuts would go into effect.

But here’s a few things to keep in mind.

1. The $85 billion figure can be misleading because the government has automatic spending increases built into the budget each year.

2. The government’s increases come to about $100 billion in 2013.

3. Sequestration isn’t really cutting overall government spending, it’s reducing the overall increases in government spending. 

Bottom line: These reductions will pull about 1.3 percent out of 2012 GDP.  We can survive that with one hand tied behind our backs. We’ve overcome much worse. 

We should view this moment as an opportunity to get control of our government’s untenable, dangerous spending.  Yes, sequestration’s mandatory across-the-board reductions will undoubtedly inflict some discomfort in some areas of our lives (i.e. less money for air traffic control might leave airports running less smoothly and less on time); but the $85 billion in cuts will hardly impact the most bloated sector of federal spending — entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  But, hey, maybe this experience will show both politicians and voters that we can survive – even thrive – without Uncle Sam spending himself (and us) into oblivion.


 

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