Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey, remember sequestration?

Maybe it's too soon but aren't you curious about what happened to the "devastating" impact of federal cuts under the sequestration?

Hey, remember sequestration?


With Washington and national media focused on guns, immigration reform, poison letters and, sadly, the aftermath of the Boston bombings, it seems the nation has forgotten all about the "devastating" impact to the economy from the so-called sequestration.

Maybe it's still too soon. Maybe devastation still is coming.

But I recall ominous predictions of very bad things across the economy when automatic federal budget cuts totalling $85 billion this year took effect back on March 1.

Remember? There would be 800,000 civilian defense employees forced to take unpaid leave; massive air travel disruption by April 1; hundreds of thousands of kids kicked off nutrition and Head Start programs; 10,000 teachers and 7,200 aides gone; national parks ruined, and the economy pulled down even further.

What's happened so far? No White House tours.

Now maybe the issue isn't get much attention because the truth is the federal government (and probably every person, company, state and local government) actually can live and pretty much move on with a 2-percent cut in spending.

And maybe, as mentioned, dire predictions will come true in time, or ARE coming true and being ignored by media obsessed with stories of the moment.

But either way, a national Gallup poll says half of America has "no view" on the effects of sequestration more than a month after it took effect.

The poll's findings include: 49 percent say they "don't know enough" to comment on the impact, and 57 percent "don't know enough" to say whether it's been good or bad for them personally.

And, of course, there are political splits: 30 percent of Republicans call the cuts a good thing while only 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Meanwhile, the issue is clearly being under-reported or outright ignored. And the only apparent movement on getting a new budget agreement on spending and taxes is President Obama's offer of trimming Social Security benefits and Medicare, which is certain to set off riffs among Democrats.

But, hey, I feel certain things will soon get better. Don't you?


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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