President Obama signed the order last night that officially began ‘sequestration’, an automatic ‘across the board’ cut in government programs with no evaluation of which programs are more or less valuable, which programs are more or less efficient, and no evaluation of which programs actually could use more, and not less, funding.
The sequestration came about because Congress, specifically the Republicans in Congress, spent over a year absolutely refusing to compromise on ways to balance the budget, specifically closing tax loopholes and/or raising taxes on large corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers.
I ran to my keyboard this morning (I was surfing on my smartphone) when I read that Robert Reich is alleging that the program WIC (Women, Infants and Children, which provides formula and healthy foods to that population) was being eliminated. Turns out, it was a friend’s interpretation of this article. (as far as I can tell), but if it were true? Wow. Just wow.
A little further digging shows that while it doesn’t appear that WIC will be eliminated, hundreds of thousands of women and children will be turned away. This is still a big f*cking deal. So yeah. Bad idea.
The Washington Post put up a graph last year that spells out the areas of sequestration and highlights those programs (Social Security, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program) which are exempt from cuts. <a href=”https://www.amnottheonlyone.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/the-sequester-cuts-in-one-graph” “>Glancing over it gives a good idea of what kind of cuts will come and where.
My position is clear on the sequestration. I think it’s an absolutely terrible idea and that Americans will pay a toll in human lives and human misery. I strongly suspect that sequestration will throw us into a depression equal to or greater than the one in the 1930s.
Apparently, most Republicans actually agree with me, if that liberal rag Business Insider can be believed. They did a study widely quoted in progressive news outlets that shows that when stripped of labels, a plurality of Republicans preferred the solutions of the progressive caucus (when stripped of that identifier) over other proposed solutions.
Oh, and Stephen Colbert agrees as well:
Real people, real Americans, will suffer, and this will cause a global effect that will be difficult to recover from. And I lay the blame almost entirely on Congress, specifically on those in Congress (mostly Republicans) who are so completely bought and paid for by corporate interests that they are thinking in terms of short term profit taking rather than the long term wellbeing of their constituents.
All that said, there is plenty of room for disagreement on the responsibility for the sequestration cuts as well as their expected effects. In that light, today’s dance invites you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions about the cuts.
- Do you fully understand the idea of the sequester? How it came about? What it was trying to accomplish?
- Who do you hold responsible for sequestration, in whole or part? Why?
- Do you think overall that sequestration was a good or bad idea? Why?
- What do you foresee as the greatest immediate effects of sequestration? Medium term (three to six months)? Long term (over six months)?
- Do you think that public pressure will force Congress to adopt one of the plans put forward initially to prevent sequestration? If so, which one? Why?
- What do you think is the best way to balance the US budget? How big a priority is this for you? Does it come above or below fixing problems that are throwing increasing percentages of Americans into poverty and near-poverty?
- How do you think this battle is going to end up affecting elections in the next year? The next four years?
- What have you been doing to advocate for your preferred outcome to this battle?
As always, I welcome a spirited discussion in the comments. I will be moderating, and I will not tolerate personal attacks. I am not a government entity, and this website is MY space – my online living room, as it were. Guests will be polite or will be asked to leave. That said, please feel free to comment, share, and pass this around. The more people who are having debates like this one, the better.