The job lost as a result of the sequestration cuts

Harmful automatic budget cuts — known as the sequester — threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the still reports on their website, regarding what the term sequestration will mean to U.S. citizens.

The “explainer” went onto say:

In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if they couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion — including the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction lawmakers in both parties have already accomplished over the last few years — about $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts would start to take effect in 2013.

“Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t compromised, and as a consequence, harmful cuts — known as the sequester — begin March 1.”{1}

Harry-Reid-obama_1556405cThe particular line to note, in what those that write for call an “explainer”, is that Congress hasn’t compromised.  This assessment, from a decidedly partisan explanation, says nothing of President Barack Obama’s inability to compromise, and it is does not even provide what could be called a more fair representation of two party’s inability to find compromise, such as: “Unfortunately, a compromise could not be reached.”  It’s Congress that would not compromise on their principles leading up the the March 1, 2013 date, so they want you to know that it’s Congress that you can thank when Armageddon begins.

Armageddon has, indeed, fallen upon our land, thanks to Congress, as it has now been reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that among the twenty-three government agencies and departments, that complied with these rapture manifesting cuts, a worker in the Department of Justice (DOJ) lost their job as a result of the sequestration cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013.

No government official has come forward, at this point, to detail for the American public the strategies the federal government has in place for dealing with the loss of this job, and until it does those that heeded all of the sequestration warnings may experience undue stress wondering how the federal government will persevere.  No government official has come forward, at this point, to address how this lost job will affect the daily lives of ordinary Americans; whether it will affect those government services that we’ve all come to expect from government; how the stock market might react; and how –not if– but how our relationships with other countries will be damaged by this Parole Commission worker being laid off.  Those that believe the sequestration warnings, suspect that these government officials are currently avoiding the specifics of the effect of this lost job to prevent the civil unrest that they apparently believe might result from it.

A spokeswoman for the GAO told that the DOJ reported that the laid-off worker was from the U.S. Parole Commission, but they had no other information about the employee.  The spokesman also said that virtually every other arm of the government turned to tactics like cutting overtime, reducing employee travel and putting workers on furlough to avoid actual firings.

Was it possible to avoid all this?  Could we have avoided the $85.3 billion in spending cuts that led to this Parole Commission worker being laid off?  President Barack Obama tried to warn us that his sequestration cuts would hurt the economy.  He tried to garner enough support, from ordinary Americans, to prevent an avoidable catastrophe he initiated that led to a person losing their job, a catastrophe that we’re all just now witnessing, but the partisan Republican-led Congress refused to acquiesce.

These cuts are not smart, they are not fair, they will hurt our economy, they will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls,” Obama said of his proposed sequestration cuts. “This is not an abstraction. People will lose their jobs.”

As we now know, this was not an abstraction from a chicken little screaming that the sky was falling.  It may not have led to “hundreds of thousands of Americans (being added) to the unemployment rolls”, but it did lead to one person losing their job, and that did not have to happen.  If the partisan, right-wing extremists in Congress had agreed to compromise even a little, these $85.3 billion in budget cuts would not have occurred, and that Parole Commissioner would still have his job.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada) tried to warn us too, but even these dishonest, and politically partisan warnings were not taken seriously:

We have learned that the sequestration already has cut 1.6 million jobs,” Harry said in a manner that led the Washington Post to bestow on him its four Pinocchio award, “So we need job creation. We need to help the middle class by creating jobs.”

The exaggerated warnings from the president, those from sock puppet Jay Carney, and Reid’s dishonest assessment of the damage already done, were not a form of hysteria exclusive to Democrats, however, as Speaker of the House, John Boehner (Republican, Ohio), joined in with a February 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed that warned that “thousands of jobs” would be threatened.  The top military officers also joined in the hysterics, claiming that sequestration cuts would reduce manpower and cause higher casualty rates in a November 7, 2013 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. The hysterics even made their way into the private sector, as Goldman Sachs joined with the Congressional Budget Office stating, basically, that these sequestration cuts would result in a loss of “anywhere from 99,999 and 1,599,999 jobs.”

In his assessment of all of these hysterical claims, Senator Tom Coburn said:

While it’s good news for federal and other workers (that only one worker lost their job), 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.”

Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner would not be deterred by the fact that the sequestration cuts had little-to-no-effect, as he claimed that, “There is no question the sequestration has had an negative impact on Americans.”  Posner did not, however, address the fact that most Americans question whether the cuts had any effect at all.

Posner pointed out that the GAO report, “Also states that employees had their hours reduced and agencies were forced to curtail hiring as a result of the cuts, among other examples.”  He did not address the fact that every person, at some point in their lives, has had to find a method for dealing with their own budget cuts, and that it appears that the twenty-three government agencies and departments addressed in this report, were capable of doing the same without a noticeable effect.

Posner added that the figures in the GAO report make clear that “Sequestration had significant negative effects on services for the public as well as agency operations and federal workers.”  He also added that: “In the future, it may get worse.”  He did not, however, address the specifics of what these “significant negative effects” are, or if they will be any different in the future.

It’s possible that Posner did not want to go into specifics, because doing so would garner no sympathy from those families, and business owners, that have to deal with their own budget cuts on a continual basis, and that he felt that leaving it as an open-ended warning would provide anyone listening with a more ominous impression.  It’s also possible that Posner didn’t know of any significant negative effects, and it might also have something to do with the fact that there aren’t any.

“GAO itself notes that many of the flexibilities used to mitigate the effects of sequestration in 2013 may not be available in future years, suggesting that the impacts would be even worse if sequestration is allowed to occur in future years,” Posner concluded. {2}

Posner’s conclusion is a missive sent out to all those Americans now laughing at the hysterical predictions of doom and gloom by Democrats, a Republican, the top military officers, and the employees of the government-friendly Goldman Sachs, that basically suggests that the next time a politician engages in hysterical warnings of Armageddon —as a result of a budget cut— it may not be so funny, but he wouldn’t go into any specifics regarding why.



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