4 Ways Sequestration Gets Worse in 2014
Somewhere along the way, there was a miscalculation. The far-reaching budget cuts known as sequestration were supposed to be so bad that it would serve as a commitment device for both fiscal conservatives and liberals, but Democrats and Republicans were apparently unable to negotiate a political ceasefire. The parties failed to unite against what many considered to be impossibly large reductions to the federal budget, and spending cuts began in March.
The sequester is a monster with roots in the 2011 Budget Control Act. It cuts total federal spending by about $1.1 trillion through 2021 and leaves little unaffected. Major exempted programs include Social Security, Medicaid, and pensions, but defense spending and education programs like Head Start are not spared. In February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that sequestration would impede the creation or retention of 750,000 jobs and negatively affect GDP growth by about 0.6 percentage points.
When the law went into effect, the sequester became a political hot potato and was used as munition in the October budget and debt ceiling impasse. While many Republican lawmakers can tolerate sequestration spending levels and want to use them to help balance the budget, such deep cuts fly in the face of Democratic fiscal strategy, and the result has been a tense tug-of-war.
The Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy think tank, recently published a report, effectively putting its hands on the rope. The think tank argues that the sequester in 2014 will be much worse than the sequester in 2013 for four primary reasons.