Economics expert speaks out about sequester impact

Automatic budgets cuts set to kick in with sequester impact.

Automatic budget cuts of federal programs are set to kick in Friday if the sequester goes into effect. Dr. Gautam Hazarika, associate professor of economics at The University of Texas at Brownsville said for most this will mean a minimal impact.

The sequester he said was included by Republicans when a deal to increase the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion was reached in 2011.

It was set to ensure the government would cut spending over the next 10 years by $2.4 million the same amount they added to the national debt.

Hazarika said half of those cuts have been made already, now the battle is to figure out how to make up the remaining $1.2 trillion.

"There was a clause put in (the agreement), that if they couldn't decide about the nature of these $1.2 trillion - if they couldn't decide exactly where they were going to cut this money - then across the board automatic cuts would come into play," Hazarika said.

Social Security and Welfare programs like food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will not be affected by the sequester.

But in the border region, Hazarika adds, cuts to the military budget could mean less customs agents at international bridges, longer lines and less international commerce.

"(International commerce) is also important to our economy because you have a lot of goods coming from Mexico, and goods going to Mexico and they have to be checked by our customs agents, Hazarika said. But if there are less guards on duty, it takes longer for those cargos to get across."

Hazarika agrees the government needs to make spending cuts, but not with a sequester.

This across the board automatic cut is not sensitive to what's important to us and what isn't, it just slashes blindly," Hazarika said.