That’s it?: Sequester spending cuts claimed only one federal job

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was one of the few decent pieces of legislation passed by Congress. The bipartisan measure did increase the statutory borrowing limit for the federal government, but it at least mandate $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts to the project rate of spending growth from 2012 to 2021.

That sounds like a lot of money, but the cuts were a fraction of total spending in the 10-year budget window. At best, the sequester was look at as a “good start,” not some sort of cureall for the nation’s fiscal woes.

President Barack Obama promised to veto any attempt to stop the cuts enacted through the Budget Control Act. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hailed the sequester, calling the cuts “important for the fact that our economy needs to get going.”

Not long after the sequester was passed and signed into law, however, both White House and Republican leaders began complaining about the automatic cuts. President Obama reversed course and complained about the “meat-cleaver approach” to the budget deficit, claiming that the cuts “are not smart,” “not fair,” and “will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.”

Boehner, for his part, whined that sequester “threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.” Those comments seemed rather odd coming from the leader of a party that had endlessly blasted federal budget deficits under President Obama.

If one were to listen to elected officials, Americans were, basically, looking an the apocalypse. The sequester went from being to a significant bipartisan achievement to a worst-case, disaster scenario. Keep in mind that even President Obama and Boehner were complaining about the cuts, federal agencies still posted 27,000 job openings with annual salaries totaling $1.8 billion.

So, how many jobs were cut from federal agencies as a result of the sequester cuts enacted through the Budget Control Act? One. One job. ONE FREAKIN’ FEDERAL JOB:

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that, amongst the 23 agencies it examined, exactly one federal employee was laid off as a result of sequestration.

As the report says in a footnote on page 51: “DOJ officials reported that one DOJ component—the U.S. Parole Commission—implemented a reduction in force of one employee to achieve partial savings required by sequestration in fiscal year 2013.”

A reporter from asked federal officials for more information about the laid off employee, but didn’t find anything.

Though it was briefly delayed, the sequester came and went without much notice by Americans outside of the Washington Beltway.

But the finger-pointing and bickering continued on Capitol Hill. The White House and congressional budget chairs, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), eventually came to a two-year budget agreement that partially rolled back the sequester, setting the stage for rollbacks to the spending cuts in the future.

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