WaPo: So, sequestration actually hasn’t been hell on earth
posted at 1:06 pm on July 2, 2013 by Guy Benson
Before “sequestration” took effect, the Obama administration issued specific — and alarming — predictions about what it would bring. There would be one-hour waits at airport security. Four-hour waits at border crossings. Prison guards would be furloughed for 12 days. FBI agents, up to 14. At the Pentagon, the military health program would be unable to pay its bills for service members. The mayhem would extend even into the pantries of the neediest Americans: Around the country, 600,000 low-income women and children would be denied federal food aid. But none of those things happened. Sequestration did hit, on March 1. And since then, the $85 billion budget cut has caused real reductions in many federal programs that people depend on. But it has not produced what the Obama administration predicted: widespread breakdowns in crucial government services.
The Washington Post recently checked 48 of those dire predictions about sequestration’s impact. Just 11 have come true…In some cases, politicians transferred cuts from high-value programs to lower-value ones. Employee travel was limited. Maintenance deferred. But in other cases, they found “cuts” that didn’t cause much real-world pain. The Justice Department, for instance, prevented furloughs by “cutting” $300 million in money that had already legally expired, as well as $45 million meant to house detainees who didn’t exist. This is why the sky didn’t fall. Sequestration was intended to show there was no longer any escape from austerity in Washington. There was.
Lessons: (1) The dire predictions were false, and (2) Washington politicians — even liberal ones — really can find waste and fat to trim when push comes to shove. Contrast this reality with the alarmist forecasts of imminent meltdown the White House peddled for weeks in advance of the miniscule spending reductions. Those “cuts,” incidentally, took effect four months ago yesterday. The zombie apocalypse should be arriving any minute now. But if it doesn’t, perhaps our massively in debt federal government could survive another haircut or two — and withstand some longer-term reforms while we’re at it.
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