Sequester's Effect on Government: One Job Lost

Image: Sequester's Effect on Government: One Job Lost Federal employees stage a demonstration protesting the federal budget sequester on May 7, 2013 in New York City.

Friday, 09 May 2014 08:49 AM

By Martin Gould

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The final figures are in, and the number of government jobs lost to last year's $85.4 billion sequester has been released — a grand total of one.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle warned that the deep and arbitrary cuts across all sections of the federal government would lead to thousands of government workers going on unemployment.

But the dire predictions failed to materialize — except for a solitary unlucky worker in the Justice Department's Parole Commission, Fox News reported.

The figures were revealed in a March report by the Government Accountability Office.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma wants to know why the predictions were so dire — and so wrong — before the cuts went into effect in March 2013.

"Taxpayers expect us to root our predictions in fact, not ideology and spin," Coburn said in a letter to outgoing Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The GAO report looked at 23 government agencies, which Fox said appears to "span most of the federal government," and said Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department was the only one that laid off a single employer in fiscal year 2013.

A GAO spokesman confirmed to Fox  News that the one layoff was in the Parole Commission but had no other information about what position was actually eliminated.

"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," Fox said.

The GAO said other agencies canceled or cut bonuses, reduced travel and training and limited overtime.

Despite the lack of redundancies, the government still says the sequestration — imposed when the bipartisan "super-committee" of congressmen and senators failed to agree on cuts — was harmful.

OMB spokesman Steve Posner told Fox there is "no question" the sequester had a negative impact on Americans. He said employees had hours reduced and new hires were cut.

He said figures in the report show that "sequestration had significant negative effects on services for the public as well as agency operations and federal workers," which are likely to get worse.

During debate on the sequester predictions were dire with knock-on jobs lost being estimated at anywhere between 100,000 and 1.5 million. Instead unemployment has continued to fall.

Coburn said news that just one job was lost was "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."

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