Green Room

WaPo: So, sequestration actually hasn’t been hell on earth

posted at 1:06 pm on July 2, 2013 by

I thought I’d re-up this story from the headlines.  White House fear-mongerers hardest hit:

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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Still no White House tours for the peasantry though, that money found itself in the First Family vacation fund.

antipc on July 2, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Time for Sequesteration 2.0: IRS Bonuses

blammm on July 2, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Cut more.

The sequester was a drop in the ocean. $85 billion is a rounding error in the Obama administration.

Good Lt on July 2, 2013 at 1:37 PM

And yet, non-Federal employees at companies like mine continue to be furloughed and lose their jobs. I’ve taken a 35% pay cut and know many people who have been laid off from their companies that do business with the government.

One couple I know is postponing their wedding until the furlough is over. Unlike Washington, they know how to conserve money when it’s needed.

I’m really tired of conservatives overlooking the human quotient of this problem. My firm was NOT over-heavy with people. We had to cut because Obama and Congress haven’t approved a budget in five years, Washington isn’t spending money on Federal contracts or awarding many new ones, and nobody in Congress knows what the hell they’re doing.

Nothing’s changed. Any industry with a large stake in government contracts–made that way because the govt. started outsourcing decades ago–has laid off many workers in the past few years. Let’s stop pretending there’s no human face to this.

Meryl Yourish on July 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

But what about the horror of three-day weekends Guy? WHAT ABOUT THE THREE-DAY WEEKENDS???

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is also closed today. Jackie Simon is with the American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing EPA workers. “With EPA closed, it’s a get-out-of-jail-free-card day for polluters,” Simon says. “There’s no one there at EPA to enforce our clean air and clean water laws. No one there to hold polluters accountable.” …

I asked why she came to the HUD office. “To try to get some information about lower-income housing and to see can they help me pay for move-in fees,” she says. Woods is currently homeless. She’s trying to change that. But if she wants help from HUD, she’ll have to come back Tuesday.

_RobRob on July 2, 2013 at 1:45 PM

With as much waste as there is in the federal budget, how could sequestration be “hell on earth”?

The only “hell on earth” is the budget itself. And its authors.

NoPain on July 2, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Government workers get raises and bonuses. I haven’t had a raise since Bush.

They also found money to reward those IRS stooges.

It’s a joke. These peoples idea of pain would be a joy for much of the private sector.

acyl72 on July 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Put the Blue Angels back in the air. Ground Air Force One.

CurtZHP on July 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Nothing’s changed. Any industry with a large stake in government contracts–made that way because the govt. started outsourcing decades ago–has laid off many workers in the past few years. Let’s stop pretending there’s no human face to this.

Meryl Yourish on July 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Yes, there is a human face to the cuts. If you can create a false economy under federal waste, then yes, people are going to suffer when the time comes the federal government has to tighten its belt.

If the government had been accountable from the beginning, there wouldn’t be any issues now, would there?

Turtle317 on July 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Put the Blue Angels back in the air. Ground Air Force One.

CurtZHP on July 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM


antipc on July 2, 2013 at 2:34 PM

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