One of the biggest criticisms of sequestration was that the cuts were "dumb", like a "meat-cleaver" rather than a "scalpel". However, I always thought this bluntness was a feature not a bug; based on initial results it appears that I was right as usual! Sequestration is squeezing everything and eliminating a lot of waste. Read for details of wasteful spending eliminated, but here's an example:
The Justice Department, for instance, cut more than $300 million in what it called "expired balances." In essence, this was money that had been allocated to the department in past years but wasn't spent. When those years ended, the money expired; without Congress's permission, it generally couldn't be spent on anything new.
But, with Congress's permission, it could still be "cut."
So, instead of saving money by furloughing FBI agents and prison guards, the department lost only what it wasn't free to spend anyway.
Well great, now the "expired balances" are gone. Success! Here's another:
The [Department of Homeland Security], for example, cut $7.8 million for a grant program that helped prepare for disasters. But it told Congress that this program had $36 million waiting in the bank, "neither dedicated to a project nor an activity." And it said the program was duplicative, anyway. Other federal programs were already doing the same thing. "There is no impact from this reduction because of the duplication," the department told Congress.
Do you think that duplicate program would ever have died without sequestration? Nope!
Uniform, "dumb" cuts force people to scrutinize everything rather than letting Congress make politically-motivated horse-trades that are usually designed to benefit rent-seeking insiders.