The political football that is sequestration will be intentionally grounded today as lawmakers on both sides of the field decide how to approach the next play. In the meantime, cheerleaders for and against sequestration are holding pep rallies to fire up the public about what lies ahead — depending on who emerges victorious in the political gamesmanship.
Many Republicans and independents have argued that if any government spending is going to be cut, it must be done by force; thus, lawmakers should allow the sequester to stand. According to Pew, about 49 percent of respondents to a recent poll said the cuts should be delayed. A surprising 40 percent said sequestration should be carried out. And even an impressive one-third of respondents who described themselves as Democrats favor full-on sequestration.
Those who have aligned themselves squarely against any sort of sequestration are working overtime to alarm a populace that has been desensitized by story after story of the horrors of looming government cuts that rarely happen.
Here are some of the more interesting “the sky is falling” sequester headlines:
Wired reports that sequestration will lead to a backlog of delays in veteran funerals at Arlington National Cemetery:
There’s currently an average of 31 funerals a day at Arlington, the nation’s most prestigious resting place for war veterans. But the Army expects that under the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, that average will drop to 24. As first tweeted by CNN’s Barbara Starr, that works out to 160 fewer funerals every month.
The Army says Arlington’s top priority is to bury troops killed in action in Afghanistan. That is not going to change under sequestration. Arlington representatives say that such burials typically take place within two weeks of receipt of the bodies of the fallen.
Science Works for U.S. issued a press release this week, lamenting that sequestration will mean a drastic reduction in the amount of “basic scientific research”:
George Washington University undergraduate research students April MacIntyre and Hamza Rahimi spoke of their concern that cuts to research would change the career plans of a generation of aspiring young scientists, doctors and engineers.
Federal research funding provides “resources to educate bright students with a passion to change the world through science,” says Rahimi, a senior. “Cuts from the sequestration will close off an essential pipeline, limiting the options of students across the country who are just like us, as well as damaging American competitiveness around the world,” he adds.
NBC reports that air travel will be snarled as budget cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration will mean longer security lines.
In a press release earlier this month, the White House Office of Management and Budget claimed that sequestration could lead to outbreaks of foodborne illness as food inspectors are laid off. Likewise, layoffs of workplace safety inspectors could lead to an increase of employee injuries throughout the Nation.
And just about every mouthpiece representing any facet of America’s vast military-industrial complex has come out saying that sequester will put all Americans in danger.
What has gone largely unmentioned in all of the sequestration sensationalism is that the Federal government will still spend more money in the year following sequestration than it did before the cuts took place.
Do you think sequestration is really all that scary?