It will be tough for the GOP to sell the idea to the public that Obama and the Democrats are responsible. First, people are already willing to believe the worst about Republicans. Secondly, the White House can count on the media to hide the true author of the sequester: Barack Obama.
The White House issued a "fact sheet" on the partial impact of the sequester on government programs:
- Cuts to education: Our ability to teach our kids the skills they'll need for the jobs of the future would be put at risk. 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk, and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut.
- Cuts to small business: Small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs in America and instead of helping small businesses expand and hire, the automatic cuts triggered by a sequester would reduce loan guarantees to small businesses by up to $902 million.
- Cuts to food safety: Outbreaks of foodborne illness are a serious threat to families and public health. If a sequester takes effect, up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur, putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production.
- Cuts to research and innovation: In order to compete for the jobs of the future and to ensure that the next breakthroughs to find cures for critical diseases are developed right here in America, we need to continue to lead the world in research and innovation. Most Americans with chronic diseases don't have a day to lose, but under a sequester progress towards cures would be delayed and several thousand researchers could lose their jobs. Up to 12,000 scientists and students would also be impacted.
- Cuts to mental health: If a sequester takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated. This would likely lead to increased hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these individuals.
Some of those programs could use some cutting, but it should be done with a scalpel, not a meat cleaver. Along with the defense cuts, and cuts in agencies like the FBI, FDA, and the Department of Justice, there are large cuts in programs for the poor like WIC and Meals on Wheels.
So who will get the blame if people start yelping about cutting their programs? The GOP has the better case, but the president has the bully pulpit. And with the press on his side and Obama excoriating the GOP for not raising taxes on "the rich" - again - it doesn't take much imagination to wonder which side will get the blame for this fiasco.