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?