Thursday, April 14, 2011

Forget $38B: Budget only cuts $352 million this year

Today is the day congress is set to vote on the 2011 budget which reportedly contains $38 billion in budget cuts.  Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth according to the CBO.

A study from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that the legislation does indeed cut that much from what federal agencies are authorized to spend this year -- but the study reveals that it will only amount to a reduction of $352 million in non-war government spending for the rest of this fiscal year.

Not only are there no real cuts, spending actually increases by $3.3 billion.

The budget makes about $8 billion in immediate cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid, but those are offset by defense spending increases. On top of that, when war funding is considered, federal spending will actually increase by $3.3 billion compared with current levels.

How did Boehner, Obama, and Reid come up with $38 billion in cuts?  Smoke and mirrors.

Additionally, as the Washington Post reports today, about $8.6 billion in the budgetary reductions come from "cutting" funds that might never have been spent in the first place. Those funds, accounting over 20 percent of the "cuts," only existed as IOUs to agencies that may or may not have been cashed in.

Conservative Republicans, including 87 newly elected Tea Party candidates were asked to trust Boehner on these cuts.  Hopefully in the future these conservative GOP members will harken the words of the Gipper, “trust but verify.”

“I don’t like that,” said Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). He said he had not complained to Boehner, but added, “My ‘no’ vote will be my speaking-out.”[1]

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