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Do Now #67: The Sequester Begins

| March 1, 2013 | 2 Comments
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www.whitehouse.gov

www.whitehouse.gov


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

The sequester is now in effect. Some of the key spending cuts will be in areas of air traffic, early childhood education, health, food safety, environmental services, recreation, criminal justice, research, and defense. What area will affect you, your family, community, and/or the country the most and why?

Introduction

Late Friday evening, President Obama signed an order required by law that set in motion the automatic, government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester. While it won’t lead to across the board tax hikes – as the fiscal cliff threatened to do – it will result in sweeping cuts to government services that millions of Americans rely on.

What is going to happen? More than $85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts to military and domestic programs over the next seven months ($42.7 billion from each). Of course, there is some dispute over the extent of the damage, and a number of conservative groups – particularly those advocating for smaller government – argue that the impacts are grossly exaggerated as a political scare tactic. While seemingly large, they say the cuts are still but a tiny percentage of the federal budget – a mere 2.3 percent.

However, a series of independent analyses have made clear that these cuts will exact a pretty large toll throughout the country. An article in the Texas Tribune illustrates the extent of various cuts in each state, as well as the impact per person. Generally speaking, the sequester is expected to stunt America’s already sluggish economic recovery by reducing our growth (in terms of GDP) and killing approximately one million jobs over the next two years, according to estimates by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Most immediately, the cuts will result in widespread service cuts, furloughs, and layoffs throughout government agencies. A New York Times Editorial breaks down some of the key cuts you may notice in the coming months in areas like Air Traffic, Early childhood education, Health, Food safety, environmental services, recreation, criminal justice, research, and defense.

The Lowdown goes into more detail of the issues surrounding the sequester, investigating its background, why it is happening now, how it relates to the fiscal cliff, and what measures can happen to seek an alternative action.

Resource

The White House video President Obama Makes a Statement on the Sequester – March 1, 2013
President Obama delivers a statement about moving forward in light of severe budget cuts that will start to take effect today, and answers questions from the press.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with@KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to tweet their personal opinions as well as support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

The Daily Show segment Sequester 2013 – Prelude to the Return of the Barter System – Feb. 25, 2013
In the face of the budget sequester and subsequent economic apocalypse, Samantha Bee checks items off her bucket list.

LA Times post Across the board budget cuts are set to slice federal spending – March 1, 2013
Across-the-board budget cuts were set to begin hitting federal agencies at midnight Friday after last-minute efforts by President Obama and congressional leaders failed to produce a compromise to forestall $85 billion in automatic reductions that all sides said they wanted to avoid. This post contains a Quiz: How much do you know about looming federal budget cuts?

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Category: Do Now, Do Now: Government and Civics

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About the Author ()

Matthew Green runs KQED’s News Education Project, a new online resource for educators and the general public to help explain the news. The project lives at kqed.org/lowdown.
  • Meg.R

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  • Meg.R

    If gun control laws became more strick,people will still find a way to get guns either if its for good or bad. But i also think it would not be wise to continue to sell guns to everyone. Either way people will always find a way to get a gun if they want.