On National Public Radio’s “Diane Rehm Show” yesterday, CBPP Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein discussed sequestration, describing it as “nibbling at the edges in a way that exacerbates economic pain” and “not addressing what really matters to our fiscal long-term problems.” He explained the budget cuts’ harmful effects and what we can expect if they remain in place:
DIANE REHM: Jared Bernstein, how come we are just now beginning to feel the effects of the sequester?
JARED BERNSTEIN: Because these type of things typically phase in. Most of the agencies and programs whose funds are being cut through sequestration are operating on funds that were coming to them over the years, and they’re able to go a few months on kind of rainy day funds, what they had in the bank as it were. Now we’re starting to see the cuts fall… We’re seeing them in Meals on Wheels. We’re seeing them in housing subsidies — as many as 140,000 low-income families could end up being denied rental assistance at a time, of course, where demand for that sort of thing is going up in a tough economy. Unemployment insurance is being cut for some long-term people who are jobless, medical research, park services, Head Start…
And, Bernstein noted, the cuts will continue to affect these programs for the next nine years:
DIANE REHM: Turning to you Jared Bernstein, all of us are wondering — how long is this going to last?
JARED BERNSTEIN: That’s a really important question because a lot of people think, “If we can just slog through 2013, we’re done.” Unfortunately, the answer is 2021. This thing is in place for nine years, 2013 to 2021. And it ultimately is supposed to cut $1.2 trillion out of the budget over that time period, and we’ve seen $85 billion of those cuts — that’s what we’re talking about so far. So there is a lot more to come unless Congress can figure out a way to either get rid of it, or replace it.
Listen to the full interview here.