Daniel Doherty

The automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration” took effect last year, an idea first proposed by the Obama White House (and subsequently supported by Republicans), and signed into law as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The idea behind sequestration was to temporarily raise the debt ceiling in exchange for automatic spending cuts that would only be triggered if -- and only if -- Congress' "Super Committee" didn’t come up with a solution to reduce the nation’s long-term deficit.

As it turns out, the spending cuts did take effect, and despite incessant warnings from administration officials that sequestration would lead to massive layoffs, almost every single government worker kept his or her job. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, sequestration resulted in just one layoff in FY 2013. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released the following statement:

“DOJ officials reported that one DOJ component—the U.S. Parole Commission—implemented a reduction in force of one employee to achieve partial savings required by sequestration in fiscal year 2013. Despite relentless warnings about the dire consequences of sequestration’s budget cuts, it appears sequestration resulted in only one layoff. While that’s good news for federal employees and other workers, it is devastating to the credibility of Washington politicians and administration officials who spent months – and millions of dollars – engaging in a coordinated multi-agency cabinet-level public relations campaign to scare the American people. Taxpayers expect us to root our predictions in fact, not ideology and spin. The facts seem to say the experts underestimated sequestration’s impact by between 99,999 and 1,599,999 jobs, according to two frequently-cited estimates by Goldman Sachs and the Congressional Budget Office.

The breathless politicians and administration officials who tirelessly warned that teachers, firefighters, policemen and federal workers would receive pink slips as a consequence of sequestration turned out to be wrong. Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell the day before sequestration took effect: “Imagine if the sequester occurred, and it had very little impact on most Americans?”

Well, my friends, the sequester did occur and it had almost zero impact on federal and state workers. Remember this the next time the White House makes bogus and outrageous claims without any evidence.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography



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