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TELL US: Do You Care About 'Sequestration'?

Has the scary news about the impending federal sequester got you worried?


If it feels like we went through something like this just a month or so ago, you're right.

That was when we were warned that the country was set to nosedive off the "Fiscal Cliff" back in December. As you'll recall, part of the Fiscal Cliff was a series of tax cuts dating from the Bush Administration era that were set to run out unless President Barack Obama and Congress came to terms before the expiration.

You saw the results when the government took a bigger cut from your first paycheck in 2013.

But now we're teetering on the verge of another federal precipice with the Sequestration. But what is it?

What the Sequester Is

Part of the resolution of the Fiscal Cliff was the American Taxpayer Relief Act. That extended some tax cuts and raised the nation's debt ceiling so the federal government could keep functioning. Part of the agreement was that in exchange for those goodies, there would be $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to deal with the nation's ballooning debt.

Those cuts were supposed to be negotiated by a bipartisan Super Committee with a March 1st deadline. If the Super Committee couldn't come up with an agreed-upon $1.2 trillion in cuts, the Sequester would automatically kick in.

The sequester is an across-the-board 10 percent cut across all federal departments, affecting both the military and social spending.

What Sequestration Isn't

The $1.2 trillion in cuts would take place over a ten-year period. The White House, which agreed theoretically to the cuts when Obama put his signature on the American Taxpayer Relief Act, put out a series of 51 press releases to show what is viewed as the harm that would be caused by spending cuts. 

The sequester was a measure that would cause automatic cuts if Congress and the Super Committee couldn't come up with the cuts themselves. That was a compromise to deal with spending hikes in order to try and take a stab at the nation's burgeoning $16.62 billion debt. 

In New Jersey, the cuts in the short term would mean the loss of millions for higher education, aid for disabled children, and environmental funding, according to the White House. 

There would also be massive furloughs - not firings - of Department of Defense employees, since part of the sequester's bipartisan nature was that the cuts would affect Republicans (typically viewed as being pro-defense) and Democrats (seen as being for social spending.)

The alternative to spending cuts, as the Obama administration sees it, is raising taxes on the wealthy.

TELL US: What do you think about the sequester? Are you worried it'll mean immediate pain from which the nation and the state won't recover? Are you worried about the national debt? Should Congress raise taxes on the rich to stave off sequestration budget cuts? What do YOU think?

Jersey Joe February 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM
It's best that you get your facts straight before posting such self- serving statements. You conveniently forget what our lying, duplicitous, alarmist President has previously said about this issue. To jog your reverse racist memory, he was for sequestration before he was against it, (among the countless other statements he has made, only to reverse himself in order to pander for votes). This is a regime that thrives on crisis, yet somehow our POTUS avoids accepting responsibility for his actions or nonactions. Ever wonder why unemployment remains so high, our economy is again on the verge of another recession, we haven't had a budget in over four years, the real estate market remains in shambles, gas prices show no sign of returning to affordable levels, etc, etc., etc.? There are answers to these questions but you wouldn't want to hear them anyway. The real truth hurts!!!
Katy Lake February 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM
The only travesty is obama pretending like he just got the news that there's a sequester. Obama plays on the low information voters like you who get hysterical when he waves his hankie. I see that the one thing you never mention is the TRILLIONS in DEBT that these cuts are to go for. My kids are going to get stuck paying that debt. Maybe that's not a problem for you. I guess being sterile has its uses.
Enough already February 26, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Our government, at ALL levels, spends too much money. For every dollar that is spent, almost half has to be borrowed. That is insane! Spending must drop a lot and if needed, then raise taxes, but reduce spending first and then see what we need.
larry cary February 26, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Remarkably, what was considered politically unthinkable 18 months ago by most of those in Congress is now viewed as desirable by the right! In a bizarre political compromise the sequester was agreed to because it was thought to be so bad that it would force Congress to do the right thing, and now they are obviously not. Unemployment will rise, a second recession encouraged, our national defense weakened and poor people hurt all in the name of protecting the super rich from having to pay their fair share of the cost of being an American citizen. I only wish the Obama administration had the political character needed to target the cuts so they fell heaviest on those districts responsible for sending the Tea Party people to Congress. At least they would get what they deserve.
stephen mckessy February 26, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Get rid of all those in Washington and put a party in for the people with this crowd thats there now nothing gets done and us the so called middle class is suffering enough already!
Christopher February 26, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Our country is in debt to the tune of $16.5 TRILLION DOLLARS. If we can't find a way to absorb $85 billion in cuts, then the country is going to facing far worse problems in the future. There's no magic way out of this mess, people. What would happen to you and your family if you continued to spend more money than you take in?
Penguin February 26, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Larry, you're right on all counts. Latest news I read indicates Obama will do some targeting of the cuts. How does Mitch McConnell explain to the people of his state that more than 10,000 of them will lose their jobs, and the state's 3 airports may be forced to close, so that he can continue to protect the richest citizens?
Johnny Lucid February 26, 2013 at 01:36 PM
It's all BS. A bad idea whose time has come. A phony crisis cooked up by the President and Congress in such a way that they will "rescue" us from the sequester. A pox on both branches of government. All 537 of them ought to be tar, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.
Concerned Westfield Citizen February 26, 2013 at 01:45 PM
The "scariest" part of all of this is that we have re-elected a president whose only goal seems to be creating phony crisises so he can blame others. Presidents are supposed to lead and govern, not constantly campaign. Thank you to all you low information voters out there who put this guy back into office. Too bad you probably remain ignorant to how bad a job he actually is doing.
Reuben Ryder February 26, 2013 at 01:48 PM
The Rush Limbaugh crowd goes crazy. Jersey Joe, this will come to a shock to you but unemployment remains high because the Republican Controlled House does not have a single economic policy other than austerity. Your entire response is illiterate when it comes to understanding economics. As for Katy, you should consider the possibility that if you throttle the economy at this point, we will go back in to a recession and that any of the cuts that are being made will be wiped out by an additional lack of revenue. This is what is meant by destroying the next generation by trying to save it. Quite frankly, one of the reasons why we are in the trouble that we are is that Bush fed off of people like you.
Jersey Joe February 26, 2013 at 01:50 PM
I'm enrolling my entire family,(including 16 grandkids) in language classes------ MANDARIN!!!!
Concerned Westfield Citizen February 26, 2013 at 01:52 PM
here we go, blaming Bush again.
UnionAtty February 26, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Nope. No concern. The world is not coming to an end folks. This is another manufactured crisis - much like the healthcare debate. In fact, here's a great quote that should sum up how you should look at the issue of sequester: ""The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006
Enough already February 26, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Blame the Tea Party, that's all people cane do these days. How about blaming those that take and don't put in? I hate the word 'entitlement', since when did America become a nanny-state?
Jeff B February 26, 2013 at 02:12 PM
In my opinion, the government should multiply the sequester by several times, so we have real dollar cuts rather than primarily cuts in planned growth. The economy would be weak for a year but recover strongly thereafter. Businesses have tons of money but no confidence that government will behave rationally - so they restrain spending. Change that and Obama would be a hero, because businesses would make up for government cuts and the deficit would eventually drop materially, as we get real economic growth. That said, these clowns in Washington are too dumb to realize that the primary reason for the historically dreadful recovery is them. Who in their right mind would trust a government that refuses to produce a Federal budget to deal with borrowing a third of every dollar spent, actually cancelling some programs and dealing with massive waste and fraud?
GGG February 26, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Now this BHO quote is further proof that our liar in chief is a pandering fool. I am still waiting for the health care debate to be broadcast of c-span.
Gary Charwin February 26, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Actually, the sequester was suggested and agreed to by this president and his minions. it came as the result of this president completely ignoring his own commission who had the audacity to suggest the government control its nasty habit of borrowing 40 cents for every dollar spent. Your suggestion to have this president TARGET certain people, though, is reminiscent of how he is implementing everything from drones around the world (and in our country) to giving himself permission to "round-up" anyone who might be a threat. Sounds like you're comfortable with that too. As you stated, you'd have no problem with "certain" people getting what they deserved. Hey it's been done before and I'm fully expecting this president and his worshipers to start the "targeting" soon. Pray for this nation. These are dark times.
BobDee February 26, 2013 at 05:00 PM
What's shocking is, this far along in the country's death spiral into collapse and there's still folks trying to make this a partisan issue. Wake up man!
Ricky L. February 26, 2013 at 05:01 PM
There used to be a time when "cuts" meant just that - not a reduction in future growth. Our president continues to campaign ad infinitum, going on his third road show of hysteria to blame others for a dismal lack of leadership. Should he take the reigns and actually lead - hunker down and meet with members of both parties and resolve this crisis, he could be a hero. But, he is bored by the economy, and it shows. He prefers addressing issues that are more important to him, issues that appeal to his community-activist background and designed to cultivate a larger voting base, and without regard to the economic crisis this nation has faced and continues to face during his term. Blaming former president Bush (and not a Democrat-controlled Congress), a group of conservative Republicans or Taxed Enough Already party conveniently ignores this Administration’s massive borrowing, spending, debt, and incalculable future entitlement costs that have gotten us to where we are. Our President is incredibly adept at using his media-savvy operatives, rich Hollywood friends, and an accommodating media to cultivate his blame-free image and getting fellows like Reuben to follow along and spew forth MoveOn.org talking points, without bringing anything of value to the table. Lead, Mr. President, lead. And not from behind, or by standing in front of a camera pointing fingers at others.
BobDee February 26, 2013 at 05:03 PM
lol...that does sum it up.
Anthony Messina February 26, 2013 at 05:24 PM
What concerns me is that even with the sequester, it won't be nearly enough to make a dent in our nation's debt. Cut or withhold all of the elected officials salaries and you'll see them move to make some changes.
Attack of the Baseball Cards February 26, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Sequestration was the brain child of President Obama. As someone else already stated, he was for it before he was against it! When the financial cliff was approaching just prior to the Presidential Election, President Obama asked for tax increases with the promise that in the first quarter of the new year he would tackle spending cuts and wouldn't again ask for tax increases. Now here we are, in the first quarter and as Ronald Reagan would have said, there he goes again, asking for more tax increases. Because of then tax increases, the sales in my small business are off for the first quarter by 18% and I have had to adjust to the lost income. The sequestration has a (OBAMA) mandated slash of 2.5% of spending & your telling me the government can't adjust to that!!! Instead of negotiating & meeting with Congressional leaders, President Obama is plying golf with Tiger Wood and making campaign stops. Mr. President, the time to campaign is over! It's now time to b a leader,to roll up your sleeves and do some work...therein, I think, lies the problem!
John P. Foote February 26, 2013 at 06:10 PM
If sequestration finds leads to some fiscal austerity in Washington than so be it! Obama is NOT solving our country's debt and government bureaucracy issues.
Natalie R. Krauser McCarthy February 26, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Obama created this and is now "against" it. If a taxpayer ran their household like this, they would be bankrupt. And the $85 billion is across ten years. It's less than a dribble. If these people could be fired, they should be.
Ted Martin February 26, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Almost everything from this administration has proven false, incompetent or downright subversive to American life. Sequester is just another example. If you wish to consider that this President is actually competent, then you must consider that he is deliberately trying to destroy the country; and there is merit to that discussion. No "leader" in our history has divided and lowered the American public to such a childish, name calling debate as he has in bringing this great country to it's knees. Perhaps shutting down the government would be good for the country and the takers would now have to fend for themselves and learn the realities of life instead of continuing this march towards civil war. If POTUS was intelligent, decent, and pro-American, he would have resigned during his first term.
gam February 26, 2013 at 11:26 PM
We could probably absorb ever dollar of this in cuts to foreign aid.
chupa February 27, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Can we please remember that this is not actually a cut in spending ... what is does is cut the rate of increase in speding!! Obama has got to stop putting his chicago style political view above the people of this country.
Michael Lewis February 27, 2013 at 03:50 PM
At the risk of economic heresy... The dollar is no longer linked to a fixed standard (be it gold, silver, or whatever) – its value is simply relative to that of other currencies. This is fine so long as we – as a nation – are prepared to control our money supply, can produce enough of our strategic essentials so as not to have to pay for imports in foreign currency equivalents, are prepared to offer our trading partners high-enough interest rates to hold the dollars rather than spend them (or produce enough things they might want to buy or be prepared to have them buy strategic assets or otherwise invest here in the US) or are prepared to accept a certain amount of inflation. To date oil has been denominated in dollars, and many abroad accept low interest rates on dollar deposits because the dollar is perceived as a “safe haven” of value. We are no longer strong enough or independent enough to be the sole arbiter of the value of the dollar…eventually something will have to give. It is unfortunate that it will take an artificial crisis to force an honest and transparent discussion (which will probably not occur anyway).
Jane Doe February 27, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Debt: another manufactured crisis. Calvinists cry, "The sky is falling! The gov't borrows half of every dollar it spends!" (Meanwhile at home they borrow 80% of disposable income-- hopefully they'll move that back towards 50% during this period of contraction & low interest rates.) Yes, gov't spending needs trimming during hard times. Since the late '70's our gov't could see the wane of mfg coming. Instead of facing it head-on, gov't chose to jigger the accounting, turning our economy into a casino, dividing our people among the 'house' & the poor slobs gambling their disappearing incomes away. The world will right itself; mfg is already starting to come back as 3rd-worlders become too wealthy to make outsourcing profitable. Meanwhile we have to cut. Maybe sequestration helps the pols save face. And Yes, for heaven's sake, we need to tax the rich. During the 1950s and early 1960s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90%--and the economy, middle-class, and stock market boomed. We've been trying the opposite path for decades: where's the $$? Get any of that trickle yet??
Westfield123 February 27, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Obama came up with the idea of Sequestration now live with it. Why doesn't Obama and his wife try to conserve some of our money? Both of them try to come off like a regular brother or sister but meanwhile they like to live the high life at our expense. Trips to Aspen, Hawaii, MV and golf with Tiger Woods. Meanwhile, the majority of Westfielders put him in office.

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