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Idea of the Day: How the Sequester Would Hurt American Communities and Families

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In just one week our nation faces yet another manufactured fiscal crisis. This time a refusal to compromise by conservative leaders in Congress would lead to massive, damaging across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, potentially dragging the economy back into recession and hurting American families by slashing critical investments in job training, public health, and public safety.

The spending cuts, also known as the “sequester,” are a direct result of a long push by conservatives to take the nation’s economy hostage in order to secure massive, harmful spending cuts. In the summer of 2011, in exchange for agreeing to pay America’s bills, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) negotiated the deal that wrote the sequester into law, stating that he had gotten 98 percent of what he wanted. Though there is a concerted effort to blame the president for the sequester, no amount of whitewashing can erase the fact that many conservative members of Congress voted for this plan.

Under the terms of the sequester, federal spending would be cut by $1.2 trillion from March 2013 to March 2021. States stand to lose billions of dollars in critical grants needed to fund everything from schools to new police officers to parks. In fiscal year 2013 alone, states stand to lose an estimated $6.4 billion in federal funding. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 750,000 jobs could be lost because of the sequester. Taking a meat cleaver to spending in such a blunt, unfocused manner would send a shockwave through our economy and would hurt countless American families.

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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
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Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
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Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
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Radio: Chelsea Kiene
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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here