If automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal spending happen, it would cause a crisis in Tennessee, one of the leaders of the Fix the Debt Campaign said Wednesday.
Early New Year's Day, members of Congress passed fiscal cliff legislation and put off the decision on what to do about the impending automatic spending cuts, which are scheduled to go into effect March 1 if Congress doesn't come to a different agreement.
—$100 trillion: Estimate of how much money has already been promised for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
—$70 trillion: Estimate of the net worth of the country
—$16 trillion: Amount the United States owes creditors
—$46 trillion: The country's deficit after considering the net worth of the entire country
Source: Tim Pagliara, co-chair of Fix the Debt-Tennessee
Tim Pagliara, co-chair of Fix the Debt-Tennessee, said in a conference call with reporters that if those cuts go into effect, the state will lose 7.7 percent of its revenue.
"This money has already been allotted for spending," he said. "[The sequestration] cuts would create a sub-crisis even within the state."
The National Review Online reported Wednesday that Republicans, who want to tighten federal spending, may let the sequestration cuts go into effect.
The publication quoted Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, as saying, “Of all the things I’m pretty sure of in life, the sequester will happen. Our team wants to see spending cuts.”
The Fix the Debt Campaign is a nonpartisan movement that launched in July 2012 and aims to get the United States on a solid economic path.
The organization is made up of a variety of leaders, such as senators, mayors and CEOs. Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is on the Fix the Debt steering committee, according to its website.
Former Tennessee Gov. Winfield Dunn, who is co-chair of Fix the Debt-Tennessee, also spoke to reporters Wednesday morning and said that the country's leaders need more of a sense of urgency and a rational path to economic stability.
"It is going to take the wholehearted effort of a group of people who have been chosen to attend to responsibilities in Washington, D.C.," he said.
Pagliara complimented Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both Republicans from Tennessee, on their leadership roles in the fiscal cliff discussions.
He also said there needs to be a discussion about entitlement spending for services such as Social Security and Medicare.
"If you take the entire net worth of the country—what we already owe—and you net that out, we are still $46 trillion in the hole," he said. "That's why the entitlement discussion has got to take center stage. We don't solve and stabilize the debt problem until we make some commonsense choices on the problem. "