Well, it's happened. The deadline has come and gone for Congress and the president to agree on an alternative to mandatory across-the-board budget cuts known as "sequestration."
That means possible cuts to the number of children who can attend Head Start early childhood education programs. And possible impacts on nonprofit organizations that rely on federal funding.
The Social Security office in Creve Coeur, which serves a vast swath of the surrounding area, may see cuts in service as employees are furloughed.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 4,500 workers at Scott Air Force Base may see once-a-week furloughs through September.
All this was supposed to be the bitter pill Congress and the president (and us) would have to swallow if they couldn't come up with a better way to rein in federal spending.
Is it a bitter pill, though? The Washington Post reports on five myths surrounding the sequester, including the question of whether it will actually reduce runaway spending and begin to control the deficit. The Post argues that spending has slowed in many areas and, perversely, "as services are cut, the fees users pay for those services are lost. For example, sequester-driven furloughs of air-traffic controllers will lead to the number of flights being reduced."
The newspaper also suggests that the immediate impact on cuts won't be bad:
"The damage will accumulate in less visible ways, as irrational reductions in public spending impede economic growth and job creation; reduce investments in education, infrastructure and scientific research; and further disrupt the routines of a modern democracy. The longer the sequester remains in place, the more harm is inflicted."
Do you agree with the Washington Post, that things won't be bad at first, but will get worse? Do you think it's a healthy dose of tough medicine? And do you expect to actually see any impact in your day-to-day life as a result of the sequester?