Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Sequester, sechmester

The dreaded federal sequester hasn't exactly caused the damage that was predicted. What a shock!

Sequester, sechmester

File photo: Following a closed-door party caucus, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by fellow GOP leaders, met with reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
File photo: Following a closed-door party caucus, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by fellow GOP leaders, met with reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In yet another example of how politicians and governments tend to exaggerate their own importance and impact comes a fascinating report in The Washington Post about the impact to date of the much-touted, greatly-feared federal sequester that was to bring the country to its knees.

The Post tracked 48 predictions in 14 federal agencies and found exactly half came true.

This seems about right to me. Fifty-percent of what we're told is basically b.s.

You can read the full report here.

Some examples?

We were told the WIC program providing nutrition to low-income women, infants and children would evaporate for 600,000 people. Didn't happen. Congress provided the money

We were told one-third of our naval forces in key areas of the Pacific would be cut. Didn't happen. Congress funded full operation.

We faced the specter of illegals running wild in the streets because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would not be able to maintain 34,000 detention beds. Didn't happen. Some 36,000 beds remain available.

We heard Secret Service protection and investigations would suffer due to furloughs of agents. Didn't happen. No agents were furloughed.

Air travel would become much worse with additional and longer delays at big-city airports due to furloughs of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) personnel, and all air travel across the country would be reduced with the furlough of air traffic controllers. No TSA officers were furloughed. No air traffic controllers were furloughed.

Criminals would buy more guns all over America since the FBI's national instant background check would no longer be instant. Guess what? No background checks were delayed.

FBI furloughs would give crime a free hand. No FBI personnel were furloughed.

This sort of thing simply underscores public skepticism about cries of crises at all levels of government. And it sure doesn't help pleas for more taxes to solve such crises, whether they be at the national level, the state level or a local school district.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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