by MATT GORDON Editor-in-chief
The 2013 sequester was passed on March 1, 2013, and Americans can expect spending reductions of approximately $85.4 billion.
The cuts were first enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which stated that the cuts would be put into action unless the government was able to agree on a budget by January 1, 2013. The date was postponed, but Congress still could not come to an agreement and the president was forced to sign the bill enacting the cuts.
The biggest area of spending that will be affected is discretionary spending, which includes defense and non-defense aspects. This area represented approximately 36 percent of federal spending in 2012. Certain programs will also be affected including Medicare, with spending being reduced by two percentr. Cuts are split evenly between defense and non-defense categories. Certain programs like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay, and veterans’ benefits will not be affected, as they are considered more important.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the sequester could reduce 2013 economic growth by about 0.6 percentage points. About 750,000 jobs by are expected to be created or retained by year’s end.
Many people in Washington support the sequester, as it is a call to action in the Senate.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “There is a silver lining in the [sequester]; we’re cutting spending, which we need to do. The point is, we need to do it responsibly. Smart cuts, not across-the-board, slashing, arbitrary cuts.”
While Blumenthal supports cutting government spending, he also believes that the sequester should be lifted and that a permanent budget should be installed. Democrats are trying to work with Republicans to form a new budget.
“We need to have a balance on the other side, too, which the sequester does not address,” Blumenthal said. “There’s money there to be saved.”
Others are against the sequester and only see it as a recipe for disaster.
Junior Hayley Davino said, while being asked how she felt about the plan cutting Medicare spending, “Senior citizens need to have some form of health care and be able to get their needed medications. The government can not just leave them to buy their own medications, and cuts in Medicare canonly hurt that process.”
Many people disagree with the plan to reduce spending on mental institutions and hosptals, saying that the mentally unstable or diasbled people will not receive the same care that was afforded to them before the sequester.
On a side note, White House tours will also be shut down because of the sequester, which will hurt Washington tourism and educational trips to the President’s house.
Although the sequester may cut spending in many key areas, it is important that the government cuts spending across the board, especially in the defense department. The extra money from that should be put toward healthcare or the economy, two important issues in the US. All in all, the sequester can only help the national debt and hopefully not hurt those in need.