It slashed defense spending and harmed national security.
Moreover, the spending cuts have come almost exclusively from the discretionary side of the ledger, when it is mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that account for the vast majority of out-of-control federal spending.
Still, the Budget Control Act worked. And while Obama can count a plethora of government-expanding victories - from the stimulus, to Dodd-Frank, to Obamacare, to the $620 billion in fiscal-cliff tax increases he forced Republicans to swallow this year - the GOP's one government-reducing achievement is the Budget Control Act.
That's the good news.
Here's the bad: With the expiration of the stimulus, and the GOP's success in blocking a second stimulus, government spending should have dropped much further. The fact that it has not means that even the GOP Congress has effectively accepted near-stimulus spending levels as the new norm.
Of course, that is not good enough for Obama. He wants to get the spending train moving again - fueled by even more tax revenue.
The only thing holding it back is the Budget Control Act - which is why Obama is looking to gut it this fall.
The president wants to renegotiate the act by wrapping a deal over next year's spending levels into the broader debt-limit talks. Republicans should not take the bait.
Thanks to the Budget Control Act, spending reductions for the next fiscal year are already set in law. The only thing to negotiate is how to make the cuts.
If Obama and Congress don't meet the act's caps, a second round of automatic across-the-board cuts will kick in.
We will see close to $1.3 trillion in discretionary savings over the next eight years, compared with the baseline before the act's passage.
The default under current law is to cut spending, which means Republicans hold all the cards. All GOP leaders need to do is prevent Obama from watering down the act.
Instead, House Speaker John Boehner is planning to pass a short-term spending bill, which would push the spending fight into the debt-limit fight this fall.
Why on earth would Republicans agree to renegotiate spending cuts they already won in exchange for one debt-limit increase as part of a deal for another debt-limit increase?
Republicans should tell the president that unless he is willing to renegotiate his victories on Obamacare and fiscal-cliff taxes, they are not willing to renegotiate their victory on the Budget Control Act.
Then they can decide what else they will demand in exchange for another debt-ceiling increase in the fall in order to keep the spending train moving in reverse.
Thiessen is a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute and writes a weekly online column for The Washington Post.