On Friday, March 1 a series of budget cuts take effect that could kill the jobs of hard-working Americans and stifle our recovery. The sequester, as it is officially named, is a series of arbitrary, politically motivated budget cuts, impacting investments that create jobs, lead to innovation from research and development, and protect our most vulnerable. Some are calling it a self-inflicted wound; others a scare tactic. Either way, reality is setting in that these budget cuts are more than an inconvenience, they will put us back in a recession by killing hundreds of thousands of jobs and make us less competitive in the global economy.
In order to put in perspective the effect of these budget cuts, they are estimated to eliminate or furlough 2.14 million jobs and cut 1.5 points off of GDP growth for the year. The job losses would effectively put the economy right back to where it was over a year ago in February 2012, less two million jobs. Millions in the workforce simply don’t have time or the resources for a setback like this one and certainly don’t support the ongoing political brinksmanship surrounding these cuts.
Instead of budget cuts we need to do more to make our economy work for working people. Congress should reinvest in America by confronting the causes of climate change. Investments in infrastructure and clean energy will create the good, family-supporting jobs that we need to keep America strong and prosperous. Growth not cuts will get us ready to face climate change, create family-supporting jobs, and keep America on the road to recovery.
Investments similar to those that we made in the Recovery Act will once again reinvigorate the economy and expand American-made clean energy technology. Recovery Act programs like 48C (the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit Program) and job training programs made it possible to turn 25 months of consecutive job losses 2008-2010 into 28 consecutive months of job growth. Renewing similar investments will create jobs and address the deficit once again.
Forget growing the economy and combatting the effects of climate change, allowing these budget cuts to take effect next week would make us even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the next superstorm and a quickly weakening national infrastructure. Burning America’s bridges to prosperity and a brighter and stronger economic future is no way for an economy to function properly or grow. But, this debate has already consumed too much of our time. Instead, we should be focusing on the real problems facing our country — climate change and unemployment— and not another politically manufactured crisis that hurts us all.