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Who really gets hurt by the sequester?

Thirsty for some good news on the sequester?
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Thirsty for some good news on the sequester? President Obama invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House Friday for a meeting on the sequester, which is approaching faster than a meteor over Russia.

Again and again this week we listen as politicians decry the harmful cuts sequestration will bring if it takes effect as scheduled at the stroke of midnight Thursday. Obama has warned us to expect everything from delays at the airports to fewer meat inspections. Republicans claim the president is using scare tactics while complaining about a lack of leadership from the White House. In the meantime, average Americans wait and wonder how their government can play chicken with funding things like vaccines for children, keeping the nation safe from terrorism, and air traffic control.

Knowing how difficult it is to get anything done in Washington, the idea was to arbitrarily pick a number--in this case $85 billion dollars--in random and reckless cuts to government spending that happen automatically if Congress doesn't devise a plan to avert them by March 1st. Think about it. That is our elected representatives admitting the wheels of government have become so clogged and dysfunctional with political creosote that they no longer trust themselves to do the jobs we've sent them to do. Instead, they needed an artificial trigger, a guillotine of sorts, hanging over our collective heads and ready to drop if they don't remove the neck of the nation from the chopping block.

But this isn't metaphorical, this is real. In Kentucky, victims of domestic violence will have nowhere to turn. In Ohio hundreds of teachers will lose their jobs. In Arizona over 1,000 children will lose access to Head Start. In Mississippi seniors will no longer receive meals provided by the state. All 50 states will suffer. More importantly  millions of actual human beings who live in those states will suffer.

Unless...and this may just happen...President Obama and congressional leaders emerge from Friday's White House coffee clatch with a serious and sober plan to avert this manufactured misery and get on with the business of the next debt ceiling debacle or continuing resolution to keep the government running or a fresh debate of flag lapel pins...

Want to know what is really going to happen, be sure to tune in as host Martin Bashir gets the very latest from NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker on Wednesday's show at 4 p.m. EST, only on msnbc.