Unlike the fiscal cliff, which had Wall Street titans swarming Washington every other week to press Congress into action, big business executives have largely ignored sequestration.
Politico’s Ben White reports that “some of the most influential business organizations are adopting a decidedly blasé attitude, staying largely silent on the matter. And so far, the markets don’t seem to care much either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,075, less than 100 points below its all-time high in 2007.” - Read more at Politico
GOP ACCUSES WHITE HOUSE OF FEAR-MONGERING The White House is sounding the alarms on sequestration, warning of furloughs and layoffs that could threaten national security…but Republicans, among others, are refusing to buy into these doomsday scenarios.
The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin reports “The Obama Administration’s decision to release hundreds of illegal immigrants from detention centers…ahead of $85 billion of spending cuts set to kick in on Friday have exacerbated the Republican outcries. They believe the president is using scare tactics to paint the GOP as the cold, uncompassionate party that doesn’t care about people. And they accuse Obama of shirking his responsibility for managing the budget reductions.” - Read more at The Fiscal Times
EDUCATION SECRETARY EXAGGERATES TEACHER LAYOFFS Last Sunday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said teachers are already getting pink-slips ahead of sequestration. But when Duncan could only name one school district that was issuing sequester-induced pink-slips, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, author of the Fact-Checker blog, got on the case and discovered the district Duncan referred to had instead issued “transfer notices” not lay-off notices, and they were completely unrelated to the sequester. - Read more at The Washington Post
PRIVATE SECTOR WILL TAKE BIGGEST HIT? The private sector will be hit harder than the public sector if sequestration takes effect, with nearly four private sector jobs lost for every one public sector job, according to Third Way and Regional Economic Models, Inc. Their projections claim that more than 1.8million jobs would not be created because of the drag on growth, well above the 750,000 figure cited by most government officials. - See the report here
VOTING FOR SHOW The Senate is expected to vote on both the Democratic and Republican alternatives to replace the sequester cuts taking effect tomorrow. Both are expected to fail. Check back with The Fiscal Times’ Debt and Taxes blog for more later and follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day here
LEW CRUISES THROUGH CONFIRMATION The Senate confirmed Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary Wednesday evening by an overwhelming 71-26 vote. - Read more at Reuters
LIBERAL DEMS WANT EVEN HIGHER WAGE HIKE A handful of liberal Democrats in the House and Senate are working on legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years and index future increases to inflation. President Obama has called to hike the minimum wage to $9 from the current $7.25, a proposal that already faces criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike who say it could hurt the small business community. - Read more at The Hill