the sequester

What Did the Sequester Do This Weekend?

US President Barack Obama speaks to the media about sequestration in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, March 1, 2013 following a meeting with US Speaker of the House John Boehner and Congressional leaders. Obama summoned congressional leaders Friday in a bid to avert a damaging $85 billion in arbitrary budget cuts. Obama was bound by law to initiate the automatic, indiscriminate cuts, which could wound the already fragile economy, cost a million jobs and harm military readiness, in the absence of an deficit cutting agreement.
… President Obama’s approval rating. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, after weeks of partisan finger-pointing and nonexistent negotiations, President Obama finally signed an order mandating $85 billion in government spending cuts. Though the sequester is a slow-burning kind of  budgetary crisis, its effects were already being felt in a variety of places this weekend. Here are some examples of the kind of story we’ll be hearing all day, every day until Congress figures out a deal: A massive road-clearing operation in Yellowstone National Park has been postponed; the Navy’s decided against sending a second carrier to the Middle East and will begin idling four air wings next month; the Army said that it began curtailing training for 80 percent of its soldiers; possible FAA furloughs in California are already threatening the shutdown of up to eleven air traffic control towers in and around Los Angeles; and millions of government employees are already preparing for possible one-day-a-week furloughs starting in April. But perhaps the most significant cut so far is to President Obama’s approval rating, which dropped four points (to 47 percent) in Gallup’s Friday poll.