Tagged: budget

Sequester, explained

By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
@Brandon_S_Lewis

During the first few months of 2013, the “sequester” has been a hot topic in the media, economic debates and White House conversations. Many Americans believe the term refers to government budget cuts but there’s more to it than that. Do you feel confident about your definition of “sequester”? Here’s what I think you need to know.

Overview 

  • In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act which contended that if Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a plan to reach the $1.3 trillion goal of reductions in federal spending to pan out over the next ten years, dramatic budget cuts would be implemented. It was deliberately created to have severe affects and was intended to inspire collaboration and agreement. However, since the goal was not met, the sequester was put into effect.

Sequester is… 

  • The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending that went into effect on March 1. Throughout 2013, over $85 billion worth of cuts will be implemented across American agencies.

What will be affected? 

  • There will be an even split in spending cuts between domestic and defense programs
  • Everyone, essentially, will be affected by indiscriminate spending cuts
  • No programs are eliminated, but federal investment in the programs across the board is drastically reduced. 

Possible Solution 

  • Compromise between Democrats and Republicans
  • Balanced plan to reduce deficit

The sequester is in effect because the Republicans and Democrats can not compromise. Republicans and Democrats in Congress were supposed to come to an agreement on how to reduce the country’s financial deficits. Since they weren’t able to agree on any proposal, arbitrary automatic cuts (aka the sequester) were implemented.  Hopefully, Congress can come to an agreement soon because they brought this crisis on themselves (and us) and only they can fix it.

I asked a few students about the sequester to see if what they knew about it.

Holiday shopping on a college student’s budget

By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
@HeatherGoldin

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Kind of hard to believe with the stress of finishing up class and studying for finals. And on top of finals season, there’s the stress of holiday shopping for friends and family. Whether it’s a white elephant gift exchange with friends, a gift for your roomie or shopping for your family at home for when you finally get to see them after the semester ends, the amount of people you get gifts for adds up

Christmas present

It’s gift giving season / PHOTO VIA kidfocus.com

along with the price. How are we supposed to afford buying gifts when we spend all of our money on coffee and comfort food? Fear not, there are options.

The closest supermarket: 

Think Shaw’s or an equivalent. What is your friend’s favorite candy? Make a study snack pack for your roommate. One year I got a hot chocolate mug that came complete with hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was stoked. Your fellow college students understand what it means to be a broke college student. Try having a gift exchange with a low budget set so one feels obligated to spend a large sum of money.  Note: This might not work for bringing home in your suitcase because most food is perishable, obviously.

Goodwill:

Good for more than funny costumes and ugly sweater holiday parties, thrift shops of any sort are sure to have the perfect present at a low price. The key to Goodwill is shopping when there are good donations. It can be hit or miss, but when you do find a great gift for your sibling you can be sure no one else will get them the same thing. Check out Goodwill’s website  for the location nearest you! Just remember that one man’s trash is a college student’s potential gift idea.

Dollar Tree: 

It’s in the name; the dollar store is a college student’s best friend when it comes to the shopping season. Obviously you get what you pay for, so you probably won’t find high quality gifts here. However, think about the dollar store as the finishing touch to your gift. Wrapping paper, bows, the whole nine yards. You might even find a cute key chain or stickers to make your gift even better. Everyone loves stickers.

Handmade the old-fashioned way:

This one is for your dear parents. They of all people should understand the financial situation you are currently in. It is certainly a great gift just to have you home for the holiday season, so why complain? It’s the thought that counts, so give mom and dad a heartfelt card made with love. Put a little humor into it and draw a picture of what you wish you could afford to buy them this holiday season.

‘Tis the season for gift giving and finishing off the semester strong!

Check out what people had to say about about shopping on a budget on Storify.