Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cutting spending by spending more

This agreement between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.
--President Obama, April 8, 2011


This week, Congress is moving toward approval of an agreement on the largest spending cut in history to help begin to create a better environment for private-sector job growth.
--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), USA Today op-ed, April 11, 2011


After a tense few weeks over haggling over the fiscal 2011 budget, the White House and congressional lawmakers cinched a deal that will result in $38.5 billion in cuts. As the quotes above indicate, they then quickly claimed credit for another historic achievement. ...

By any measure, $38.5 billion is a big number, especially when the cuts are squeezed into the rest of the year. But the budget is pretty big too — some $3.8 trillion.
--Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, on using the right denominator


[S]ome significant cuts, including some involving health care, are not expected to produce real savings. This is because the money was not likely to be spent for years though it can be counted as a current reduction under budget rules.

According to a Congressional Budget Office comparison, the bill would produce only $350 million in tangible savings this year, partly because cuts in domestic programs were offset by an increase of about $5 billion for Pentagon programs.

When projected emergency contingency spending overseas is figured in by the budget office, estimated outlays for this year actually increase by over $3 billion.
--Carl Hulse, NYT, on sign errors

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