Only One Job Lost in Sequester

May 14, 2014

Despite claims from government officials and commentators that the sequester would wreak havoc on the American economy, the cuts resulted in the loss of just one federal job, writes Nick Gillespie, senior editor at Reason Magazine.

When the sequester budget cuts were announced last spring, Washington was overwhelmed with reports that the cuts would be disastrous. Chief among these claims were the jobs that analysts said would be lost. Goldman Sachs predicted 100,000 layoffs, while the Congressional Budget Office estimated job losses of 1,600,000. 

How many jobs were actually lost? Just one, that of an employee with the Department of Justice's Parole Commission. Senator Tom Coburn (R- Okla.) commented on the divergence between projections and reality: "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."

Coburn noted that the experts "underestimated sequestration's impact by between 99,999 and 1,599,999 jobs."

Of 23 federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office reports that 19 curtailed hiring because of the sequester and seven agencies furloughed more than 770,000 employees for one to seven days. Sixteen agencies reported that they "rescoped" or delayed contracts or grants, 19 reduced employee training and 20 reduced employee travel.

The cuts were not as draconian as they were made out to be, Gillespie says. Last year's cuts were set at just $44 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget.

Source: Nick Gillespie, "'Devastating'" Sequester Cuts Cost a Total of One (1) Federal Job!" Reason, May 8, 2014. 

 

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