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.

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