Huff Post reports on the decimation of Federal Defender offices here. Amazingly, the damage is only beginning - more significant cuts are expected in the near future. It's hard to see how that won't generate its own back-end costs, in the form of delayed trials, bloated budgets for appointed counsel and successful ineffectiveness claims. And that doesn't begin to account for the injustices that will result. But unlike the situation with air traffic controllers, it'll be hard to find any powerful constituency agitating for a change.
Here's a Federal Defender fact sheet for people interested in more detail. It shows the possible increase in costs to the Federal government that would be caused by diversion of cases to individual appointed attorneys.