Sequestration body count: one Justice Department staffer

Remember when Democrats were screaming that the fiscal discipline of sequestration was the equivalent of wrapping piano wire around Uncle Sam’s neck?  Why, those savage and irresponsible spending cuts were going to litter the streets unemployed government workers!  We’d be lucky to make it through the crisis without Hooverville tent cities appearing on the Potomac, where the former Deputy Assistant to the Assistant Director to the Deputy Assistant Director of Social media boiled his shoes to make soup for his family, callously consigned to live the vie da broka after struggling to put out three Tweets a day for a mere $200k in salary and benefits.

Actual number of federal layoffs due to sequestration: one.  

Yes, you read that right.  One.  Some staffer in the Justice Department got the sack.  And we only know about that poor soul because Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) insisted on a full accounting of sequestration’s effects from the General Accounting Office.  The Hill reports:

[Coburn] asked for a complete list of federal civilian employees and “a list of all departments or agencies that have implemented a reduction in force due to sequestration.”

Buried in a GAO report from March is a finding that in all of the federal government, the Justice Department alone laid off one staff member as a result of the $80.5 billion in automatic spending cuts implemented in 2013 as a result of the sequester.

The Obama administration and Democrats last year claimed that sequestration would be devastating to the government and to the wider economy. Republicans have repeatedly questioned those claims, calling them scare tactics.

Coburn said the one layoff reported by the GAO is a stark contrast with estimates from both the Congressional Budget Office and Goldman Sachs that suggested it would lead to far more job losses.

“The facts seem to say the experts overestimated 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,” Coburn said.

Dry witticisms aside, Coburn is said to be “outraged” by the disparity between Administration scare-mongering and the actual results.  Someone from the OMB responded to the GAO report by saying we should think about the 800,000 jobs the government could have created, were its hands not cuffed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  That sounds like the best argument for sequestration I’ve ever heard.  We nipped 800,000 federal hires in the bud?  More sequestration, please.  


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