Sequestration is a series of government-shrinking budget cuts set to go into effect on March 1. The problem is that these budget cuts are cutting from areas of the government that should be the last to get cut — things like infrastructure, defense, etc. Instead, out-of-control entitlement spending on programs like unemployment insurance and Medicare is left alone.
Thus, the balance of spending in the federal government is getting awfully lopsided with more funding for non-essential government programs than essential.
BusinessInsider has this handy graph to demonstrate:
When you break down the amount of money being spent on social insurance programs and compare it to funding of essential government functions, there are some pretty disturbing trends:
In 2017, for the first time since the surpluses of the 1990s, the government will be spending less than 40 percent on typical government stuff, and more than 10 percent paying down interest on the debt.
The government will also be spending close to half of the budget on what are essentially insurance programs — income insurance for the elderly with Social Security, poverty insurance in the form of Medicaid, SNAP and other safety nets, and heath insurance in the form of Medicare.