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Sequester Looms

In this Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks about the sequester, as he stands with emergency responders, a group of workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on the White House complex in Washington. Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they’ve already gotten much of both. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In this Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks about the sequester, as he stands with emergency responders, a group of workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on the White House complex in Washington. Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they’ve already gotten much of both. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Well, it’s coming.  Sequestration.  It’s a strange word in this context.  — why do we call this process sequestration, anyway?  Let’s call it what it is: budget cutting.  85-billion dollars of government-inflicted across the board budget cuts — which will take effect at the end of this week — unless Congress can work out a deal, which nobody expects will happen.

If they take affect, the budget cuts will hit Massachusetts in a variety of ways.  According to the White House, they will result in about 7-thousand civilian defense workers being furloughed in the state.  The NIH would have to slash hundreds of grants — and stop or delay scientific research projects.  Locally, the federal cuts would hit everything from aviation security to education to veterans services.

Guests

Scott Kirsner, columnist at the Boston Globe.

Linda Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard University. She served as assistant secretary of commerce during the Clinton administration.

More

The White House released this breakdown of cuts that will directly impact Massachusetts.

Boston Globe “Massachusetts will lose more than 60,000 jobs, much of it in the defense industry, and $127 million in federal research funding, harming a critical sector of the state economy, if Congress allows across-the-board spending cuts to go into effect in March, according to a report released Friday by Representative Edward Markey of Malden.”

WBUR “With the nation hurtling toward yet another key fiscal deadline, defense contractors, research hospitals and social services providers are among those in the New England region sounding the alarm over looming federal spending cuts…While states with larger military bases and defense installations may suffer more direct and immediate consequences from sequestration, New England is a hotbed for defense-related manufacturing and research by numerous private companies.”

Boston Herald “Education and the military would take among the biggest hits in Massachusetts from automatic cuts to the federal budget set to take hold this week, according to a report the White House issued Sunday as it seeks to avoid the impending economic fallout.”

 


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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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