“It is like a slowly growing cancer.” That is how Steven Warren of the University of Kansas described the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” to Sam Stein of The Huffington Post. Sequestration took effect eight months ago, and it has already been a disaster for the American people. Two of the worst sequester cuts took Head Start preschools and services away from 57,000 children and scuttled groundbreaking scientific research. Sequestration also eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. And things will only get worse.
There are four factors making next year’s sequester even more damaging than this year’s. First, and most simply, the sequester makes larger cuts in 2014 than it did in 2013. Second, many of the cuts that were legally made this year have not actually been implemented yet. Third, one-time fixes that mitigated sequestration’s worst impacts in 2013 cannot be used again next year. Fourth, sequestration made cuts to little-noticed but critical functions of government—cuts that will be particularly devastating if they are not reversed soon.
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