Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three days into the sequester and there are signs that many Americans are not that concerned. A Washington Post poll found that just one in four Americans is following news of the impasse closely. And in our own WCCO web poll 48 percent of those who replied say they are not at all worried about cuts.
So how does the public’s indifference affect the stalemate? For most Americans the impact of the sequester will be more of a slow squeeze than a hammer blow.
The furloughs of air traffic controllers will begin next month and cuts in meat inspections likely won’t affect what you see at the grocery store or prices for weeks. And the massive cuts to federal grants for local schools won’t come until next school year.
While it’s not clear how the sequester will end, we do know a key date to watch for. On March 27, the government runs out of money and Congress and the President will have to reach a deal on new funding.
Humphrey Institute Professor Larry Jacobs appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“Right now, it looks like car crash on car crash before we have a whole highway of wrecked cars,” Jacobs said. “What you could see is that Republicans could look at sequestration as a win for their side, saying now we can go forward to make a deal to fund the agencies at their funding over the past year that would avoid the government shutdown that we saw in the mid-90s that didn’t help Republicans at all. I think it would have to happen before the 27th.”
When it comes to the sequester, Minnesota and the upper Midwest are better off than areas of the country that are home to large numbers of defense department employees.
In Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia, 90,000 Defense department workers will soon get furloughed for one day a week. That 20-percent drop in their weekly paychecks is expected to have a dramatic effect on the local economy.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.