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Why most Americans are yawning over 'sequester' – and why that matters

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But unless you work in certain industries – such as defense, which is slated to take half of the cuts – it’s just the latest food fight in the dysfunction known as Washington politics. Fiscal crisis fatigue among the public appears to have set in. Just two months ago, Washington was on the edge of its seat over the “fiscal cliff,” the tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect on Jan. 1 as required by law, and aimed at setting the nation on a sounder fiscal path.

The sequester was due to take effect then, but in the last-minute agreement was delayed until March 1.   

Now the White House and congressional Republicans are at each other’s throats again, and without any clear reason for most Americans to care, many simply don’t – at least not yet.

The proof is in the numbers: In the run-up to the “cliff,” 40 percent of Americans told Pew that they were following the situation “very closely," 15 percentage points fewer than today’s figure, the Post notes. And 3 in 10 said they understood the implications of going off the cliff.

Part of the issue of public attention could be that the Washington players involved in sorting this out – the White House and congressional Republicans – have not begun to negotiate yet. They are both playing a PR blame game, trying to win over public opinion before they (sooner or later) sit down and try to hash something out.

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