If Congress allows sequestration cuts to take effect, more than 170 million Americans could lose their jobs, according to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

“If sequestration takes place, that’s going to be a great setback. We don’t need to be having something like sequestration that’s going to cause these job losses — over 170 million jobs that could be lost,” Waters said.

She went on to say cuts must be done “over a long period of time.”

There’s just one problem with her estimation — and it’s a big one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 134 million people working in the United States. So by Waters’ estimation, the sequester cuts would be so apocalyptic that nearly 40 million people who don’t have jobs would become even more unemployed.

Further, the U.S. currently has a population of about 315 million people, according to Census data. If Waters was correct in her assertion, that would mean sequestration would leave more than half the country, 54 percent, unemployed. Talk about a catastrophe.

Luckily for America, the estimate is clearly wrong. TheBlaze could not find any data to suggest that the $85 billion in automatic sequestration cuts during  FY2013 (about 2.4 percent of annual federal budget) would cause 170 million people to lose their jobs. Then again, that’s also impossible because there aren’t that many people working in America. Unfortunately though, once something is said, you can’t take it back.

Keep in mind, Waters is the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, which “oversees all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities.” If Democrats should gain control of the House, she would become the chairwoman.

The Daily Beast’s Megan McArdle puts it this way:

“The best hope is that this is entirely symbolic, and they figure it’s safe to make her the senior member as long as she won’t actually be in charge of anything.  But having put her in a highly visible slot, it will be very difficult to dislodge her in the event that the Democrats retake the house, and Maxine Waters is expected to actually architect new legislation concerning the financial system.  And even typing those words strikes terror into my heart.”

Maxine Waters Warns 170 MILLION Jobs Could Be Lost Due to Sequestration Cuts

FILE – In this May 8, 2012 file photo, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The substitute ethics panel that investigated Rep. Maxine Waters, a senior Democrat, issued a stinging rebuke of the permanent House Ethics Committee Tuesday with a declaration that its members need to step aside from partisanship when judging member conduct. Credit: AP

UPDATE: Eric Orner, Waters’ deputy communications director, told Charles C. W. Cooke in a statement that the 170 million jobs comment was a “slip of the tongue.” He also scolded Cooke for posting the video at all, saying “I think this was below your standards, and I hope you’ll reconsider the post.”

Here it is:

I just noticed a post by National Review On-Line contributor Charles C. W. Cooke about  House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Water’s obvious slip of the tongue (she accidentally said 170 million , when she meant 170 thousand) when referring to the number of  jobs that may be lost as a result of sequestration.

I think this was below your standards, and hope you’ll reconsider the post.

Eric Orner

Deputy Communications Director
Financial Services Committee
Representative Maxine Waters, Ranking Member

Cooke’s response on National Review Online? “Never mind. When the very fabric of the republic collapses at 11:59p.m. tomorrow, this will all be rendered moot,” he jokingly wrote.

 

Featured image via AP. This story has been updated.

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)