Time is up. The self-inflicted spending cuts Congress agreed to in 2011 now take effect. President Obama signed an executive order allowing the mandatory $85-billion spending cuts in the next 7 months to take effect Friday evening.
Half the cuts will affect military spending. The other half will affect federal agencies including USDA.
The initial intention of the sequester was to force a resolution to slash the budget deficit and the $16 trillion national debt.
Obama acknowledged that while the cuts will be “painful,” they won’t be completely disastrous, “We will get through this,” he said. “This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think, as some people have said. It’s just dumb. And it’s going to hurt.”
The effect of the forced spending cuts will even be felt in Iowa’s small towns, like Columbus Junction.
This week, it’s business as usual at the Tyson Foods plant there where 1,200 employees process pork but the automatic cuts could force furloughs for USDA inspectors.
That wouldn’t just have a dramatic impact on the plant; it would hit the entire community including a small business just across the street from Tyson, truck cleaning company, Hogwash.
“It could definitely hurt us,” manger Jake Lehman told WQAD. “We all love our job here, and if this goes down and we all have to go somewhere else and find new jobs. Right now, it’s tough to find jobs in this economy.”
To give you an idea of how dependent the small business is on Tyson; employees say 75-percent of their work comes from Tyson and its customers.
Any furloughs that do happen will require a minimum 30-day notice.