(Photo: Reuters/Gus Ruelas)
Rep. Maxine Waters of California was roundly mocked and even became a trending topic on Twitter on Thursday after a video of her claiming erroneously that the automatic budget sequester, which becomes effective tonight, will cost America 170 million jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America currently has fewer than 135 million working people.
Reporting information that allegedly came from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, Congresswoman Waters warned ominously of the catastrophic number of job losses that would hit America once the budget sequester becomes law.
"We don't need to be having something like sequestration that's going to cause these jobs losses, over 170 million jobs that could be lost – and so he (Bernanke) made it very clear he's not opposed to cuts but cuts must be done over a long period of time and in a very planned way rather than this blunt cutting that will be done by sequestration," said Congresswoman Waters, who is also the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, in the video.
Eric Orner, deputy communications director of the Financial Services Committee, quickly told the National Review On-Line that the statement on the jobs was made in error once the video began making the rounds.
"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," said Orner.
But that did nothing to stop the onslaught of mockery that erupted across social media. Memes and other satirical statements have been flooding Twitter about the Congresswoman's "obvious slip of the tongue," while some critics took to her Facebook page to rant.
"143 million jobs is the number of people in America. Are you counting in the people who get welfare checks? They are not working so they won't lose their jobs of sitting at home waiting for the mail to bring them the check. And I highly doubt 'Ms. Chicken Little', that every job here in America will go away thanks to the sequestration. All Departments and programs could cut their budget 3%. The American people had to do it with their home budgets, you in government need to start cutting back too. Less wasting our money would be a good thing," wrote Callie Carver on the Congresswoman's Facebook page.
"Happy Armageddon Day! All hail President Panic," wrote another critic Stan Dalone.
While hundreds of thousands of American government workers now face possible furloughs due to the pending budget cuts, the paychecks of President Barack Obama and Members of Congress will not be affected, according to a Bloomberg news report.
"The members of Congress are damaging our country by their refusal to repeal sequestration, and I think the American public would like them to personally feel some of the pain they are imposing," Dan Gordon, former head of federal procurement in the Obama administration and an associate dean at George Washington University law school in Washington, told Bloomberg.
The sequestration, which goes into effect tonight, is expected to automatically cut government spending by $85 billion this year.