Let’s accept the demonstrably false premise that sequestration and the government shutdown brought on by it in 2013 were entirely the work of obstructionism Republican lawmakers. Doing so requires pretending that chief Obama economic adviser, Gene Sperling never appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” March 3 of that year and admitted that the idea of sequestration had come from the White House. If we accept this alternative reality, then responsibility for the tens of billions of dollars in automatic budget cuts and the attendant mass firings and “furloughs” at the federal level that followed all fall on GOP shoulders.
So exactly how many government jobs were lost? The redoubtable Harry Reid declared on the Senate floor on July 13, 2103:
We have learned that the sequestration need job creation. We need to help the middle class by creating jobs. [Emphasis added]
It turns out that Reid’s estimate was so grossly inaccurate that to determine the real answer using Common Core math would require erasing more than a million and a half little boxes. An audit performed by the Government Accountability Office and released last month shows that one federal job — a single position — was cut as a result of sequestration. An employee of the U.S. Parole Commission was the lone casualty of an experiment in controlling government waste that saved taxpayers $85!
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.
This is not to suggest that jobs in the private sector were not affected by symbolic measures taken by the administration in an attempt to turn public sentiment against the evil GOP. White House tours were unnecessarily discontinued and national parks were closed. Such spiteful and needless actions on the part of the Obama White House adversely impacted vendors who sold food and souvenirs.
The even more encouraging news to be taken from the GAO’s findings, provided professional politicians are ever willing to act on it, is how vastly bloated the government coffers are. As the shutdown approached, the White House and Democrat lawmakers warned that spending cuts need to be made surgically, with a scalpel, not with an ax, as they believed Republicans were threatening. Considering the fallout of sequestration, it would now seem more fitting to go in with a bulldozer next time.
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- Shutdown misstep: How Obama administration plan put country at risk
- National Park Service losing $76 million a day in revenues during shutdown
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- WH admits ‘putting forward’ idea of sequestration
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