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Congress

Want to Add 1 Million Jobs to the Economy? Cancel the Sequester Next Fiscal Year

Repealing the cuts would boost near-term output and employment.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., an ovarian cancer survivor, cheers before speaking at a "Rally for Medical Research"   in April. The rally was to focus on sequestration’s cuts to National Institutes of Health  funding.

photo of Niraj Chokshi
July 25, 2013

Its impact may not have been quite as dire as initially predicted, but the automatic cuts under sequestration will take their toll over the next fiscal year. If the scheduled cuts are canceled this August, the nation would have 900,000 more jobs in the third quarter of next year (the end of FY2014), according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In June, 11.8 million people were unemployed and looking for work, according to Labor Department figures.

Canceling the cuts would increase government spending by about $14 billion in FY2013 and $90 billion in the next fiscal year. The nation's economic output, as measured by the gross domestic product, would be 0.7 percent higher. The calculations were made in response to a request by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

While it may seem like a no-brainer to cancel the cuts, CBO notes some important caveats. Repealing the cuts, they wrote, would add to the nation's debt, ultimately reducing output and income, relative to continuing the sequester. While that may be true, many complain that the automatic cuts are too blunt and could be more smartly targeted.

 

CBO was also careful to note that the estimates were midpoints in a range—GDP would be anywhere between 0.2 percent and 1.3 percent higher, while the number of jobs added could be anywhere from 300,000 to 1.6 million.

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