Sequestration used to mean something something entirely different than it does these days. Not that it matters. Automatic cuts in this particular instance will hurt everybody.
Sequestration used to be sort of a trust fund, where money was kept instead of spent. In this case, there would be no money kept.
The across-the-board cuts, which are scheduled to go into affect Friday, do not affect governmental agencies the same. There are exceptions in both defense and education programs, for example, as well as Social Security. If the automatic cuts are allowed to become policy, nondefense spending would be cut by $77.3 billion and defense spending would be cut by $72.1 billion.
According to studies released by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Health and Human Services Department, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor would lose 93 percent of its funding, or a possible loss of nearly 2 million jobs.
This revenue loss would not occur all at once. The Office of Management and Budget would be responsible to implement the process. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated cuts of 8.4 percent in fiscal year 2013.
The study further concluded that for every $1 billion slashed, the health care industry would lose 54 percent more jobs and the education industry would lose 138 percent more jobs than $1 billion slashed from defense.
This whole sequestration budget issue was agreed upon by all members of Congress during the negotiations around the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans, who won the fight over the original tax cuts, are trying to rewrite the budget rules to save more for defense and take away from entitlement programs.
By labeling it something else, Republicans are deflecting responsibility. Democrats, though, have not been much better, insisting on more revenue rather than budget cuts, thus creating a philosophical stalemate rather than a common sense approach. If the sequestration cuts go into effect, no one wins.
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council, based in Foster City, issued a press release emphasizing that California will lose funding -- 93 percent of it -- for education, public safety, health care and job training.
“Yet again, Republicans in Congress are threatening to throw the economy back into recession unless Democrats agree to benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Executive Secretary-Treasure of the Labor Council Shelley Kessler said. “They are willing to allow deep ... cuts that hurt working families.”
Iowa Senator Tom Hayden, who chaired the Appropriations subcommittee, wrote in his report, “Under Threat: Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services,” that a better, fairer solution is needed and referenced budget talks in 1982, 1984, 1990 and 1993.
“In the five years following the 1993 deficit-reduction law, the U.S. economy created over 15 million new jobs,” he wrote. “We can repeat this success. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel ... The time for ideological posturing is past.”
A study completed by Auburn University concluded: “The number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time -- which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.”