If Congress allows the sequester cuts to go through Friday, almost $85 billion dollars in cuts across the budget will take effect. Ben Bernanke appeared before the Senate to express the negative impact that sequestration will have on the economy if it is allowed to occur. Bernanke was frank with the Senate and his fellow Republicans. He warned that short-term spending cuts would damage the recovery that has taken the U.S. years to accomplish and that sequester cuts are not the route this country should take to reduce the deficit.
“Given the still-moderate underlying pace of economic growth, this additional near-term burden on the recovery is significant. Moreover, besides having adverse effects on jobs and incomes, a slower recovery would lead to less actual deficit reduction in the short run,” says Bernanke.
The sequestration is projected to have an extremely negative impact on the economy and American citizens. As examples of the kinds of cuts citizens could see once the sequestration goes through, in California alone, education and childcare cuts totaling $87.6 million could affect the jobs of some teachers as well as funding for education for children with disabilities. The cuts may no longer allow approximately 2,000 to qualify for childcare services. Vaccination funding would be cut by $1.1 million and senior citizens relying on nutrition assistance programs may face problems due to the cuts affecting organizations that rely on funding for meals. Over $14 million in sequester cuts would put California parks out of funding as well. In addition to specific cuts in various states, civilian employees at military bases across the country could be furloughed and face considerable pay cuts.
“We’re passed the days when we had strong, effective leaders running this country,” says Mike Papantonio, host of Ring of Fire. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being lobbied to Congress, then-president Lyndon B. Johnson didn’t wait until the last minute to take action. Instead he was up front and center, pushing a campaign to have the bill approved with relentless phone calls to the law makers and in the end, due to his persistence, the bill was signed.
In less than two days, the sequester cuts are scheduled to take place, unless President Obama can stop letting the Republican Party walk on him and negotiate a stop to sequestration. It’s time for Obama to play hardball and call Republicans out by name. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that President Obama holds much hope that continued negotiations will be successful before the sequester takes effect. He has scheduled a conference with congressional leaders from both parties on Friday, hours after the sequester starts.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.