The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Farce of Sequester

Posted on | May 9, 2014 | 5 Comments

Alas, the cruel imposition of draconian right-wing austerity!

At the core of the dysfunction in Washington is this dilemma: Government must approve spending cuts, yet government has no interest in approving spending cuts. Federal employees are quite content with their lifestyles — 46 percent more in retirement benefits than the private sector, cozy job security — and don’t want to see them trimmed. Thus even spending reductions that make it through Congress rarely make a difference.
Look at what happened with the sequester.
By now just reading the word “sequester” should render the average reader cowering under his desk while “Flight of the Valkyries” thunders in his mind. Sequestration, after all, was supposed to hack apart the social order as we knew it. Chris Matthews called it a “doomsday machine.” President Obama warned that “people are going to be hurt.” The Congressional Budget Office predicted 750,000 jobs could be lost. Sequestration, as the trendy metaphor went, was a meat cleaver when what we really needed was a scalpel.
It now seems the cleaver had a rather dull edge. A recent Government Accountability Office found that the sequester resulted in exactly one government layoff. One. . . .
When Congress agreed to cut $37.8 billion in 2011, it was called “the largest annual spending cut in our history” by President Obama, and lethal austerity by many liberal economists. The bureaucracy responded with shell games and chicanery. The Census Bureau cut $6 billion by agreeing not to run the 2010 Census again in 2011. Congress killed $14.6 million for construction of the Capitol Visitor Center, which was finished in 2008. Not a single federal employee was laid off.
According to the Washington Post‘s David Fahrenthold, many conservatives embraced the sequester out of frustration with the 2011 non-cuts. Now we know that the sequester didn’t have a meaningful impact either. . . .

(Via Memeorandum; more at Hot Air.)



5 Responses to “The Farce of Sequester”

  1. ariyadesai01
    May 9th, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM The Farce of Sequester #TCOT

  2. Adjoran
    May 9th, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

    To say sequester had no effect is to say the bottom line is the same now as it would have been without it, which is clearly untrue.

    Leftists have ever decried any cuts – even reductions in planned rates of increases – as draconian and cruel, leading to a return to a Dickensian society. It’s what they always say. Must be in a playbook somewhere.

    The truth is that to meaningfully cut the budget means cutting jobs. It’s the biggest expense. And while the leftists will scream about that, too, it is hard to claim there is no fat when people get performance bonuses for poor performance, even with sequester in effect (as at IRS), and even for employees who admit they spend 4-6 hours of their work day surfing sado-masochist porn sites (as at EPA).

    You can cut all the discretionary programs you want, eliminate foreign aid and welfare and all sorts of spending, but without cutting large numbers of federal employees, the budget problems will persist.

  3. JeffWeimer
    May 9th, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    The sequester had a political effect – “shutting down” the most visible and painful operations in order to mitigate any actual cuts.

  4. K-Bob
    May 9th, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

    Hey, we have buildings to fill!

  5. Matt_SE
    May 11th, 2014 @ 5:58 am

    And who gutted the sequester last year? Paul Ryan, the establishment Republican “budget whiz.”
    There was a reason Mitt Romney picked him, and it wasn’t just to “excite the base.” Establishment Republicans have NO intentions of shrinking government.