Do you think we should fact check Maxine Waters?
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed today that "over 170 million jobs" could be lost due to sequestration. Later in the presser, Rep. Waters corrected herself, saying it was only "750,000 jobs" that could be lost.
Even 750,000 is almost certainly an exaggeration.
Most of the angst comes from the threat that lots of jobs will be lost because of the "cuts" that will be triggered. Of course, in reality, America is not facing "cuts" at all, but merely a cut in the increase in spending this year by the federal government. Interested parties cannot even agree on how many jobs will "be lost."
According to Macroeconomic Analysis LLC, it will be 700,000 jobs. The report which is cited hedges its bets by using the word "could."
That could translate to 700,000 jobs lost (including reductions in the armed forces) and the possibility that higher unemployment 'would linger for several years,'" according to the report.
The panicky war of words does not stop at that figure, either. A site called Second to One claims it is far higher:
"The analysis concludes that the automatic spending cuts mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011 affecting defense and non-defense discretionary spending in just the first year of implementation will reduce the nation's GDP by $215 billion; decrease personal earnings of the workforce by $109.4 billion and cost the U.S. economy 2.14 million jobs."
The Federal Times starts low, and spins the job loses to far higher.
"The federal job cuts would consist of roughly 48,000 at defense agencies and 229,000 at non-defense agencies."
AOL Defense goes even further, claiming that the sequester could "cripple the economy" in one of the best doomsday predictions.
"All of this would cause real economic output in 2013 to contract by half a percent of GDP, and negative growth of 2.9 percent over the first half of 2013 would be officially termed a recession."
In other words, if everything breaks just right for Obama, he will have his recession and the resulting job losses.
Meanwhile, the president deigned to give the GOP a meeting. A reflection of how serious he is about coming to an agreement on the sequester is how much time he spent with them:
Never let it be said that President Obama has failed to spend time with Republican leaders in seeking an alternative to automatic budget cuts that are due to hit most federal departments Friday. On Wednesday, for example, the president gave GOP lawmakers as much as seven minutes, a rare face-to-face encounter that the White House described as a "meeting."
The White House's characterization of this momentary huddle at the Capitol as a meeting illuminates Mr. Obama's strategy in dealing with Republicans on the budget cuts and other fiscal deadlines.
With speeches and other staged events, the president has tried to build public pressure for his agenda of tax increases coupled with spending cuts.
But he has made little time for negotiating directly with lawmakers who oppose his plans.
Seven minutes? Seven whole minutes? Yes, but in dog years it's nearly an hour.