Daily Meme: Don't Forget the Sequester

The House is finally starting to make moves on the debt ceiling and the budget, but it's important to note that one sure casualty of this extended stand-off is all of the federal spending already slashed by the sequester earlier this year.

The clean CR passed by the Senate, you may note, restores government spending at post-sequestration levels, meaning that no matter what, Republicans end this battle with a substantial, if unlikely to be splashed all over the news, policy win, regardless of how the politics of the shutdown are dissected and graded.

And, it's not looking like the budget cuts are going to prompt a public outcry either, despite their myriad troubling effects. Only 23 percent of respondents in a recent National Journal survey say they've noticed the budget cuts at all.

With programs and jobs being chopped up left and right, it looks more like Americans have taken our sparse and underfunded programs as the status quo, instead of something worth getting angry about, something troubling on its own.

Or, perhaps the fact that we're punishing a few counties with more cuts than the rest, meaning that while much of the nation only feels the sequester as a bug bite, it has swallowed other communities whole.

And as one economist put it, public perception may change very soon: "People are looking around and saying, 'Gee, the economy hasn't imploded, life isn't so bad. But they're clearly becoming more apparent, and I think we'll see this in much slower growth for the rest of the year."

In short, "Sequestration is 'horrible'...but 'the public hasn’t quite figured it out.'"

Local government officials are definitely feeling the cuts. In Camden, New Jersey, one woman who helps low-income families find housing said, “We can’t help them. There’s no way for us to be able to help them. This is a crisis.”

Head Start programs across the country have been eliminated or minimized. Special education has also been hit by disastrous cuts.

Because of the shutdown, more of the already suffering Head Start programs were forced to shutter.

Federal defender offices have been cut by 23 percent nationally.

Science has also suffered mightily at the hands of the sequester. Federal research funding is at its lowest level in 40 years.

And don't forget the military. Bases around the country have had to administer thousands of furloughs and cuts.

And in the end, the sequester—not even counting the new problems caused by our government's lengthy intermission, could shave 1.2 percent off our GDP over the next year, and cost over 1.6 million jobs.

 

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