'Sequester' could cripple recovery: White House

At a press conference on February 5, 2013, President Barack Obama urged Congress to take action to avoid sequester cuts with a short term budget fix.

"Unless Congress acts by March 1st," according to a fact sheet released by the White House today, "a series of automatic cuts -- called a sequester -- that threaten thousands of jobs and the economic security of the middle class will take effect."

The report lists 30 reasons why Congress should act now to ensure that doesn't happen.

"From a macroeconomic perspective, in terms of ... the overall economy, the Congressional Bugdet Office is saying that it would shave close to a percentage point off of GDP growth," said New York Times economics correspondent Catherine Rampell.

That might not sound like a lot Rampell explained, "but when you think about the fact that we've been under 2 percent growth for a while, that's actually quite significant."

"Why are we risking it?" asked Heidi Moore, the economics correspondent with The Guardian. "Maybe something bad will happen, maybe something bad won't happen, but we know how to prevent it, which is to just stop this and come to a decision about what we're going to do about the deficit."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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