First off- just what the heck is sequestration? Before I let the experts take a swing at this I'm going to apply my preschool political powers to the issue at hand- using crayons!!

Let's say one group of people loved blue crayons.  I mean all the different shades of blue too. (Talking to you powder blue!)


Another group really loves red crayons.  Like the blue crayon lovers, they like many different shades of red too! (Magenta we can't stay mad at you)

Brandi Johnson/Flickr

But the crayon box wasn't big enough to fit all the different shades of red and blue.  Each group refused to give up any of their favorite shades- but they agreed that within a set amount of time they would work it out.  If they didn't there would be an automatic and unavoidable reduction in the number of crayons! (only so much room in the box)

John Morgan/Flickr

Now that the deadline is coming- they haven't reduced the number of crayons.  Truth be told they probably have more of them.   Interesting part of this debate- many of these crayon colors (by agreed compromise) cannot get taken out of the box.

So this leaves many crayon colors in jeopardy of getting taken out of the box (sequestration) to make room for the reds and blues.  Canary Yellow may be forced to move back to their parents.

Brandi Jordan/Flickr

So here's that last part in smart guy talk.

Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is "sequestered" by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated by Congress. In theory, every agency has the same percentage of its appropriation withheld in order to take back the excessive spending on an "across the board" basis. However, Congress has chosen to exempt certain very large programs from the sequestration process (for example, Social Security and certain parts of the Defense budget), and the number of exempted programs has tended to increase over time -- which means that sequestration would have to take back gigantic shares of the budgets of the remaining programs in order to achieve the total cutbacks required, virtually crippling the activities of the unexempted programs.

You can read that and more here- but I think I covered most of it with crayons.

So who's unexempted? Well here's just a few figures on how North Dakota would be affected by the March 1st sequestration.

About $1.13 million in funding for primary and second education, putting around 20 teacher and aide jobs at risk.

About $1.49 million in funds for about 20 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 200 children education.

About $270,000 to help prevent and treat substance abuse, meaning about 100 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs.

About $14,000 for services to victims of domestic violence, affecting about 100 victims.

About $206,000 to provide meals for seniors

About 2,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed.

Those civilians furloughed?  Many are members of the North Dakota National Guard.  Read the full story from KXnet  here.

The Pentagon has been ordered to trim 46-billion dollars from its budget. The effects WILL be felt locally.

Over 6-hundred employees in North Dakota, including around 4-hundred in Bismarck-Mandan, could see a twenty percent cut in pay. The North Dakota National Guard will be forced to cut $6.5 million dollars from its budget if a compromise isn't reached by Friday. That includes 2.6 million dollars in payroll by changing the work-week for some employees....there are three types of employees in the guard: federal technicians, federal active guard and reserve soldiers and state employees. The cuts would only effect the federal technicians.

Now the furlough period will last about 6 months.  These workers will only have a four day work week. (Yay! 3 day vacation!)  Resulting in a 20% loss of pay.  (Boo! Can't afford vacation!).

So March 1st,  you may discover that sequestration cuts have a direct effect on you.  Might all just depend on the color of your crayon.  (Khaki- you may want to sit down for this)

The National Guard/Flickr