It turns out that much more of it was phony than many people had realized. From David Farenthold, this is from today’s Washington Post:
To sketch the bill’s biggest impacts, The Washington Post focused on the 16 largest individual cuts. Each, in theory, sliced at least $500 million from the federal budget. Together, they accounted for $26.1 billion, two-thirds of the total.
In four of those cases, the real-world impact was difficult to measure. The Department of Homeland Security officially declined to comment about a $557 million reduction. The Department of State, the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Emergency Management Agency — whose cuts totaled $1.9 billion — simply did not answer The Post’s questions despite repeated requests over the past month.
Among the other 12 cases, there were at least seven where the cuts caused only minimal real-world disruptions or none at all.
Often, this was made possible by a little act of Washington magic. Agencies got credit for killing what was, in reality, already dead.
Here is the article, and I did chuckle at the last paragraph.