Right now, the American people are like frogs in warm sequester water.For some, inundated with all the corporate media talk about out-of-control spending, the cuts to the deficit feel good right now. But as the sequester takes hold and federal spending is pulled from the economy, those views are likely to change.
US elected officials seem to be focused primarily on making sure the other party is to blame, when in fact both are to blame, and on measuring the political fallout. In many ways, this is part of the battle to determine which arm of the corporate duopoly will have a majority in Congress after the 2014 year elections.
In fact, Zero Hedge published a disconcerting list of twelve recent events that show the next economic collapse may almost be upon us. And, they point out that the sequester will make things worse. Less money in the economy when big business is not spending is a sure sign of economic disaster, potentially even deflation which could lead to worse than a recession.
The sequester will cut $85 billion in government spending from March 1 to September 30. It is a 5% cut for most federal spending, but because the fiscal year began on October 1, 2012, five months have already passed and thus the one year cut is jammed into 7 months. Some agencies, like those providing unemployment benefits have been unable to prepare so there are likely to be 10% or so cuts in checks to the unemployed. Other agencies have been able to prepare somewhat by not filling vacancies and taking other budgetary actions since last October. And others, which give out grants for research, will be giving out fewer funds in grants. How the sequester will impact agencies will vary from program to program.
It will also vary from state to state. States like, Virginia, New Mexico, Alabama and South Carolina, with high federal spending will face more severe cutbacks, while states like, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Oregon, with less federal spending will face less. But there will be budgetary pain all across the nationin health care, housing, education, security and immigration, among others.
In fact, probably the best comment on the sequester came from Chris Hayes who pointed out that if the White House and Congress really want to scare themselves, the next threat should be a trillion dollar spending program, half to create government jobs and half to pay-off peoples debts!
We can’t say it enough: It’s important to know the facts so we know what we are facing, but we can do something about it. We are inspired that people all across the country and across the world are taking action to protest and to build alternative systems. This week on Clearing the FOG, we spoke with Thomas Gokey of Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee. Learn how debt affects your community and what you can do to resist it. There will be a week of national solidarity actions to bring awareness to medical debt and the solution of a national single payer health program March 16 to 23.