In ten days from now, on March 1st, the first automatic across-the-board spending cuts -- the sequester -- will begin taking effect. These indiscriminate cuts will, as President Obama explained in a recent weekly address, deal a huge blow to the middle class:
"If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off. Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable. Programs like Head Start would be cut, and lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be scaled back. Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open. People with disabilities who are waiting for their benefits could be forced to wait even longer. All our economic progress could be put at risk."
"And then there’s the impact on our military readiness. Already, the threat of deep cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And we will be forced to make even more tough decisions in the weeks ahead if Congress fails to act."
So what is Congress doing to avoid this recipe for disaster? Well, the Republicans in Congress made the cute little sign in the photo above, and named it "Obamaquester," and said whatever happens isn't their fault. Then all of Congress took the week off. Because even though everybody in Washington, DC says they hate the sequester, nobody actually wants to get rid of it.