UNDATED (CBS) - We are just eight days away from $1.2 trillion in budget cuts known as the sequester and while President Obama says Congress needs to stop the sequester before it kicks in, others are wondering if it would be better to let the cuts happen.
Defense department workers got sobering news Wednesday; most of them will take a big pay cut unless something is done to avoid the deep budget cuts known as the sequester.
Jessica Wright, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness says, "If furloughs are enacted, civilians will experience a 20% decrease in their pay between late April and September."
Robert Hale, the Pentagon's chief budget officer, says the furloughs will save the government $4 billion to $5 billion. But President Obama says the cuts should be made elsewhere. President Obama says, "There's no reason they should be furloughed, there's no reason they should lose their job or be laid off, this is a problem that Congress can solve."
President Obama is trying to pin the blame for the last minute budget crisis on Congress. And with both chambers in recess until next week, the president has the stage here in Washington all to himself. He says, "I'm hoping that while they're back home they're hearing it from their constituents so that when they get back here, they're ready to do some work and we can avoid these automatic spending cuts."
But congressmen back home may not be getting the earful the president is hoping for. While nearly half of Americans want the cuts avoided, a substantial 40 percent would let them happen. And some on Capitol Hill agree with the 40 percent. Sen. Rand Paul says, "Not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester is far short."
If the cuts do kick in, that same poll shows more people would blame Republicans in Congress than the president.
Some economic projections say the sequester would cut at least a half of a percentage point off economic growth and add a quarter point to the unemployment rate.