Remember last year when everyone was talking about "devastating" cuts to the federal budget due to "sequestration"?
As then White House flack and now-CNN Crossfire host Stephanie Cutter defined sequestration last spring, it amounted to a "series of automatic and destructive budgets cuts that you and your neighbors are just beginning to feel."
The horror, the horror: White House tours canceled, military bands not playing, little kids starving, planes dropping from skies (not that they would have had passengers, what with the TSA lines getting infinite due to budget cuts…).
Yeah, no. Not only were those cuts removed through a bipartisan budget deal passed early in 2014, they were hardly draconian to begin with. The cuts slated for last year totaled $44 billion in a $3.5 trillion budget, plus a slightly lower amount for this year and going forward.
So how many federal employees got shitcanned because of reduced funds in 2013? A hundred thousand? A million? More? According to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, a grand total of one (1), in the Department of Justice's Parole Commission.
As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) explains:
"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,"
"Today, I'm sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget with the hope of soliciting a fact-based explanation for the American people. The American people deserve to know the truth, especially if it suggests politicians' favorite programs can endure far more in budget cuts than sequestration imposed," Dr. Coburn added.
The investigators looked at 23 federal agencies and found that
19 agencies reported curtailing hiring; 16 reported rescoping or delaying contracts or grants for core mission activities; 19 reported reducing employee training; 20 reported reducing employee travel; and 7 reported furloughing more than 770,000 employees from 1 to 7 days.
Watch "5 Sequester Facts to Know Before Committing Suicide," which we released last year and includes a great medley of President Obama assuring us that "thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off," that air traffic and airport security will take it on the chin, and "that these cuts will set back medical science for a generation."