Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk. Delays await at airports. Padlocks are ready at national parks.
The nation will suffer greater risk of wildfires, workplace deaths, and even surprise weather events, if government predictions are to be believed. Our entire military readiness and superiority are at risk.
What if nobody cares?
President Obama sure does. He’s making the case, aggressively and comprehensively, that the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect at the end of the month will have a devastating impact, both on the economy and on essential government services.
“They will slow our economy. They will eliminate good jobs. They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do,” the president said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
But there are few signs to suggest the public is listening. A poll out late last week found that barely one in four Americans said they’d heard much about the automatic spending cuts — known unhelpfully for public-comprehension purposes as “sequestration” — and four in 10 said they were comfortable with the cuts going into effect.
“Here’s yet another deadline, and everyone’s telling us everything will be destroyed if we go past it,” said Michael Dimock, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which conducted the poll. “It’s very hard to get the same sense of urgency for a third time in a row, just two months after the last one.”